As a teenager, I wanted so badly to be different than who I was. I didn’t want to be ordinary me. I didn’t want to have this ordinary life. How boring! I wanted to be a star! In what? No clue. I wanted to travel anywhere and everywhere. I just wanted to be extraordinary and live an extraordinary life.
Well, life went on, and as I grew older, learning the ropes of college, first jobs, a corporate career, and a starter marriage overshadowed my concerns of being ordinary. Heck, I was too busy learning about myself and how to be in my various roles to figure out how to be extraordinary on top of all that!
It really wasn’t until I reached the “O” letter in my Blogging From A to Z journey that I thought about the word “ordinary” and what it meant to me. Now, when I think of being ordinary, I feel at ease with the concept and it’s associations. Maybe it is just a matter of getting older and wiser and learning to accept the skin I’m in. I’ve come to see that there’s something to be said about being ordinary and living an ordinary life.
A strong backbone to this realization has been the chaos that has been my life for the past 6 months: issues surrounding broken water pipes and frozen furnace pipes at my home; the passing of my father-in law; my husband’s cancer diagnosis and accompanying him to his chemotherapy treatments; bronchitis that came on just in time for our flight to Michigan for my stepdaughter’s wedding (she was so beautiful!); constant threats of layoffs at my job and then having to say good-bye every few months to some wonderful people I’ve known for years; more house issues; snow/ice storms; panic phone calls from my mother for everything from her feet being swollen and she couldn’t walk to getting lost while driving home from the doctor’s office. There was something every day, and in fact, there’s more, but I think you get the gist.
Events have finally slowed down and paled a bit, letting me catch my breath here and there. I know that life can be messy and that there will always be something, but I just felt blindsided by having it crunched into such a short timespan and the enormity of the challenges.
I think my takeaway is my newfound appreciation for the ordinariness of a calm, uneventful day. I look in the mirror in the morning and though I may be a rock star to my husband, I see an ordinary woman staring back who is doing the best that she can and realizing that there is definitely something extraordinary about being ordinary. An ordinary person, on an ordinary day, drinking her ordinary cup of coffee.
My father’s keys used to jingle with each step he took as he descended the stairs to the family room every night when he came home from work.
I would know where he was anywhere in the house if I just listened for the jangle.
When I was young I thought he had the keys to the world hanging off his belt, there were just so many! In my little girl mind, he was the keeper of all things secret and hidden behind locked doors and safes and I used to be afraid someone would kidnap him and make him share his keys and force him to open those doors. But no one ever did. Of course not. That was just an only daughter’s fear who had a very active imagination.
It’s been 15 years since he passed, and still, whenever I find a loose key with no possible recollection of what it opens, I put it aside. I just can’t bear to let it go. At least not for a while. I’d rather let whatever door or secret it opens stay closed for a little bit longer.
My father was a locksmith and I am proud to be his daughter.
Trying to find something to watch on television the other night and looking for the next thing to graze on as we channel surfed, I wondered why I was looking for more—more entertainment, more food. Why was I feeling so insatiable and not just about TV and food? I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
On the whole, we have become insatiable in our food, entertainment, and possessions and have become a group of voyeuristic zombies constantly seeking to become fulfilled with the latest he said she said he wore she’s dating gossip. Why do we care? I know I really don’t but I keep going back. I keep going back to my email, feeling insatiable that I may have missed something someone said. I keep finding ways of making and saving money because I feel insatiable in my fear that there is never enough.
We have become insatiable in almost every corner of our lives from feeling that there is never enough of well, everything from food (just look at the increase in portion sizes) to activities (how much after school activities can we cram in for our kids or for that matter, after work and weekends for us adults?). Some would call it greed, but I think it’s more than that. I think we are searching to fulfill a need.
When did we start chasing our own tails looking to fulfill that need and, what exactly isthat need? I got tired of always looking for the next whatever and so I started asking myself, why. Why do I feel insatiable with food today? Ah, I’m really bored or I’m feeling fidgety. Why do I feel insatiable about not having enough downtime? Ah, I stayed up late watching that movie on Netflicks last night, and well the night before was a new episode of NCIS, and I agreed to write another article for that magazine.
I realized that on a deep level I was using all these thing to try to fill areas in my life that I was unhappy with. I clearly saw that I was causing my own distractions and insatiable feelings, which were being driven by a need for simplicity and a craving for life choices that were more aligned with my soul and not my ego. In order for me to take this deeper, I had to drill down with bare bones honesty toward myself about myself in my head and my heart to get to this point of recognition and it wasn’t always pretty but the results and realizations are now at least true.
What are we trying to fulfill? What is insatiable for you and why? Taking it deeper one breath at a time.
Those of you who have been following me know that I believe it’s the little things we do for ourselves and each other than can mean the most and brighten our days immeasurably. One of the simplest, and smallest things that we can do rests in the simple act of saying hello. It is courteous, respectful, and it is also the simplest act of acknowledgment we can give each other (“I see you”) that can make a difference in someone’s day.
So with today’s post, I’m saying Hello! to all of you, dear readers and beyond, and wish you all a wonderful day or evening ahead, depending on where you are in the world and when you read this!
Dobrý den (Croation)
Jo napot (Hungarian)
Góðan dag (Icelandic)
Ohayou gozaimasu (Japanese)
Salaam or do-rood (Persian)
Dzień dobry (Polish)
Oi, boas, olá or alô (Portugeuse)
Dobrý deň (Slovak)
Ia orana (Tahitian)
Dobriy ranuke (Ukranian)
Xin chào (Vietnamese)
Sholem aleikhem (Yiddish)
Taking this one small act deeper and taking this blog entry sideways!
I wanted to use the word grace for this post but it is a hard for me to talk about it, to really be able to convey what it is and means to me. Maybe it’s just because I like the way it sounds and I like the way I feel when I say it or think about it.
The classic Webster’s definition of grace is quite clear and easy to understand: divine assistance, or virtue, from God; behavioral skills used in polite society; an attractive trait. To me, though, the word itself has always seemed Big and Sacred. Words just don’t seem to do it justice in defining it and it’s so much more then Webster’s effort.
There are some words in our English language that evoke feelings or emotions regardless of their definitions. For example, think of the words giggle, sunshine, peace, enchant, lullaby, sigh, and then you have the other end of the spectrum with snarky, pus, or shrill. Didn’t you feel a twinge with each word? To me, there is something soothing with the word grace. I can almost hear my soul sigh even as I write about it here. Words have the power to evoke an emotional response, and grace is one such word for me.
Grace is innate goodness. It is silk against my soul. It is a smile radiating love. It is pure acceptance with arms outstretched to hold me. It is an opalescent cloud that wraps itself around me. It is Divine and Divinity. I can just weep at its power and emotion. What words give you a hug from the inside and hold your breath even for a moment? I’d love to know what words make you take it a little bit deeper!
The other day while I was waiting for my husband at the hospital to finish his tests, I realized that the entire waiting room was filled with elderly people. One by one or two by two they came through the doors as though a bus had just dropped them off. Their spouses accompanied some while others were alone. A couple appearing to be in their late 80s with matching walkers particularly fascinated me. He even had a mini-Velcroed cooler attached under the handle grips of his! Their pristine white sneakers shuffled along in unison as they searched for companion seats. I tried to picture what they were like when they were younger. My imagination ran wild with stories of what they must have seen and heard and experienced in their lifetime. These people lived through some of the most significant historical events in the twentieth century this world has ever seen. To me, they were living history right here waiting to be called in for their endoscopies and colonoscopies.
The elderly are our living ancestors. It seems we stopped paying real attention to and honoring our elders once businesses realized they could make more money by focusing on the new generation then on the old. The elderly have become something we tolerate and have to take care of, rather than endeared and welcomed into the family fold. They may have ceased to be productive members of our working society but they have not ceased to still be members of our society. Their worth should not be determined by how much they contribute but instead, be regarded with respect and how much they have already contributed.
These are the people that helped shape our nation into what it is. They weren’t always 70, 80, 90 years old. Once they were like you and me—they were actively employed, bought first-homes, raised families, fought for our nation, and had weekend summer barbecues. They were us and one day we will be them.
The baby-boomer generation has approached the Medicare age with a better understanding of how we grow older and the need to keep our bodies and minds more active, giving the stigma surrounding aging a much needed identity crisis and revamping. The changes are coming but not for the elders we have right now sitting with their son/daughter in the doctor’s office, caught in between business meetings, answering texts and emails from their Blackberry. They are still the lost ones in our society at the mercy of the “sandwich generation”, who splits their attention and focus conferring with caregivers in between office meetings and a quick drop off of the kids at soccer practice.
What could dirt possibly have to do with the little things in life and taking things deeper? Today I’m bringing the subject of dirt to a whole new level as a way for us to reconnect with Nature and ourselves. It is an incredible tool right underneath our feet for releasing energy. Working on the same principal of grounding as holding rocks, crystals, and embracing trees, working with dirt–really feeling it with our bare hands (and even bare feet) and feeling the tactile sensation of our skin to the soil soothes us in ways science and medicine are just beginning to understand.
Working with dirt engages us on every human level—physical, sensory, emotional, and cognitive. It works on us as a whole and its benefits are many, which we are just beginning to understand on a therapeutic level. Recent studies are showing that children with autism, and jailed inmates, who work in gardens, have a noticeable drop in violent behavior and feelings of aggravation and an increase in attention and focus. It has also been found to be a great therapeutic tool for those with mental illness. These garden therapies are called horticultural therapy or therapeutic gardens. Of course, they deal with more than just soil but for the sake of today’s post I want to bring the attention and focus to the basis of it all—the dirt and it’s amazing abilities.
A side note for a moment here about the words dirt and soil. Ask any agriculturalist and they will tell you that dirt and soil are not the same. Soil is dirt with nutrients and organic matter that has been broken down over time and from elements, and dirt is well…. the neutered cousin. No nutrient value whatsoever and is basically filler and a maker of great mud pie’s. In terms of its ability to heal and be the recipient of energy and be spiritually transformative, they are equal and so I use the words interchangeably here.
Dirt is a healer; it is a transformer, an absorber of energy, and the giver of it. It is indeed an important part of being mother–Mother Earth. You don’t have to be a gardener or have a garden to receive the benefits of dirt. The next time that you are feeling anxious or find yourself with some extra energy or you just want to become more grounded, get your hands a little dirty in your garden or in a simple potted plant. You can even free your feet from your shoes to the earth and go sole to soul. Let’s take our healing deeper by digging deeper!
You beautiful roasted bean that is so embedded as part of our morning and late night culture. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the way you smell and taste no matter what time of day it is. When I have you first thing in the morning, you make me feel as though I can do anything the day ahead has planned for me. And when I have you as a pick-me up in the afternoon, you help make me feel that my obligations for the rest of the day are possible. Just smelling your fresh grinds gives my senses incentive to do whatever is needed next. You are my companion on those late nights. You give me something to do with my hands as I cradle you in my mug and allow your hot liquid energy to seep through into the palms of my hands and into the rest of me. Dearest coffee, to me, you are one of those little things in life—one of those go-to’s I can always count on to be my companion as I read other blogs and practice taking things deeper 🙂