your ordinary life is a fairy tale
and that means it's the best kind of real.
It would be easy to get weird here. to be apologetic, as if there were an obligation. I could also try to tell myself that I have to make up for two days with no posts by writing something extra long and good. not going to do it.
I read a rant about the hashtag #blessed that became an instant cliche on twitter and instagram. I can't speak to snapchat; that's not a platform I use. but there was something in the critique that stuck with me -- it was a humblebrag, ooh, look what I got kind of thing. and I get it. there is something disingenuous about public gratitude, because it puts one's possessions and accomplishments forward into others' view and says, "look! lookee what I got!" it can also become a "ooh, my life is so perfect and I am so evolved" form of self-aggrandizement, and quickly from there becomes easy to use ironically:
"baby puked all night. cleaned up the dog poop from the floor. out of coffee. #blessed"
but really, this morning, I want to use that hashtag. I want to publicly celebrate what feels good, what brings me joy, what has me singing. but I feel shy about it, afraid my own joy might make others feel bad. maybe without the hashtag, maybe just saying, today I am grateful for...
I'm not great with practice.
This is why I'm a beginning intermediate level pianist after years of lessons, why my viola playing never took off, and why, even after a full Waldorf teacher training and years of teaching in Waldorf schools, I never completed the Six Basic Exercises (Steiner's pre-meditation course of inner work). I get caught up in living what is urgent, what is emergent, what is in the here and now. And meditation, music practice, writing, it all falls by the wayside.
but this, sitting down with my computer at some point over the course of the day, this I can do. I may not be able to find the wherewithal in the early morning to sit down and meditate daily, but I can pause, and tune in, and breathe for a few moments, several times a day.
And sometimes, it feels like the most important thing in the world to ignore all those practices and obligations and go out into the warm wind of this April day. I must allow beauty to affect me, else why be alive?
I'm starting a series today of five-minute blog posts. I'll try to post every day for a while, and you never know. It could be crap, it could be diamonds. The point is, there will be posts!
I've just looked across the street from the coffee shop where I'm sitting, and noticed that the coffee shop over there has changed hands, and has a new name. This is surprising, but a good reminder of how much I take the same pathways and roads every day. I drive on autopilot. Of course, I'm looking where I'm going, watching out for pedestrians and cars and ducks and dogs, but really, my hands just drive to car to where I'm going. To school, to work, to church. Sometimes, I start out heading somewhere and find myself driving somewhere else completely.
When we're on autopilot, we miss out. There are advantages to letting processes become habit. We need habitual movement, or else everything would require such concentration we would be exhausted by getting out of bed, by making a cup of coffee, by brushing our teeth. Sometimes, due to illness or injury, those processes cease to be automatic, and we have to re-learn how to do what was once accomplished so easily; we have to bring our minds to the task.
It's when we pay attention to those small tasks, though, that sometimes the magic appears. It's in the midst of something ordinary that the encounter occurs that will start us on a new adventure. In our hero/ine journey, we are presented again and again with the opportunity to step into the unknown.
Five minutes are up. I'm off to an appointment and to work. see you soon!
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.