For today’s Mindful Monday post, I would like to reflect on the beauty of the ordinary moment.
Life, and all of our memories, are built of ordinary moments. Perhaps there is the occasional spontaneous road trip or epic birthday celebration…but for the most part, our days are filled with the routines of school, work, commutes, families, eating, television, sleep, and do it all over again.
I find myself occasionally striving to be extraordinary, somehow, even if it is just to feel alive, to stretch a little out of this skin that has become too comfortable. I sometimes strive for the extraordinary because I want to believe in the potential that we all have to be great. I want to believe that, each and every one of us have the power to leave the world a little better, each and every day.
And yet, in the striving for the extraordinary, there is…striving. Striving for something different than what exists in the here and now. As if somehow doing the dishes and curling up with a book on the couch is not enough. The little, in between moments that make up the fabric of our life are somehow devalued and forgotten, and yet those are the moments that, in the end, will create the quality and tone that we remember most.
Part of my daily routine is dropping my children off at school each morning. And every morning, we get out of the car and walk to the rolling gate. Recently, my eight year old daughter has started jumping on to me, securing her legs around my waste, and shimmying up my body until she can rest her chin on top of my head. She then proceeds to kiss my cheek, over and over again, with loud smooching noises, as I gently try to disentangle myself.
Other children and parents walk by, and yet she is completely unfazed. “Darling,” I whisper in her ear, “Do you think we could be a bit more…civilized?” I cringe as the words come out of my mouth. The last thing I want to do is ask her to be different than who she is, just to fit in or conform to societal standards.
“Don’t be civilized! Don’t be civilized!,” my son chants, egging her on.
And though I am embarrassed and slightly self conscious, I realize that one day, this ordinary moment–dropping my children off at school, my daughter unabashedly showering me with affection, my son encouraging her with enthusiasm–will seem quite extraordinary. It will only be a brief window in time, before they prefer to run off with their friends, without a backward glance…before it is me who will be lucky to get in a quick hug or kiss at the school gate.
There is great joy in the ordinary moment, if we can immerse ourselves in it, fully and with gratitude. One day, we will look back and wish for those moments again.
I don’t want to stop trying to be extraordinary. There is value in that. But perhaps the greatest value of all, is taking in the minutes, hours, days, the laundry and the vacuuming, the drop offs and the morning coffee, as beautiful, important experiences in and of themselves. They are to be treasured too, because they are life itself.
I invite you to consider, what are your ordinary moments? Can you pause, and truly notice them?
Wishing you a peaceful week ahead.
With gratitude, Monisha