The last couple of months have been an exploration of and in awesomeness. What it is, how to obtain it, how to maintain it, how to maximize it. I have the Awesomeness Fest to thank for that. Four days of growing, dancing, laughing and camaraderie in a tropical island paradise. I’m still glowing from it.
Part of the challenge in expecting great things from yourself and world is the daily grind that can take some of the polish off of your mental shine, if you let it.
It’s a gift to take yourself out of daily life in order to see it better – and see beyond the everyday haze of habit into what is to be. But the real kicker is keeping that vision and passion alive when you return home. When life as we knew it kicks back into gear.
This amazing post by Deanna Zandt (‘Hanging out on the plateaus of ordinary’) really hit home for me around this:
We mistake passion for “EVERYTHING MUST FEEL AWESOME ALWAYS.” And then we end up deeply disappointed when it doesn’t, when it just feels average…. It reminds me of this mistaken passion for work. We want to be in the thick of it all the time and, as it turns out, we’re missing a lot of good opportunities there on the plateaus of ordinary…. we have to spend sometime considering—and likely changing— what we think is awesome.
Every day actually is awesome. (…every moment is awesome, and every moment gives us a chance to make another choice about which thoughts to entertain and which thoughts to dismiss. Every moment gives us another choice about what action to take or what action to cease.) And it might be, on the surface, exactly the same as the last moment, the last hour, the last day.
In that sameness, in the ordinary, in the equanimity of average, we are given the opportunity to explore. Up to us to answer the call.
A similar sentiment is the basis for a really great book I’m reading (thanks to my lady pal Erica’s most perfect suggestion) called Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life by Karen Maezen Miller. She reminds us that beauty and the ‘perfect life’ isn’t out there somewhere on the horizon, it’s right there with you the entire time. You just have to be brave enough to see it for what it is, love it and act on it accordingly. How concurrently boring, terrifying, exciting and wonderful.
“My life was going to begin on some other day, when I had myself situated somewhere else…”
Lately, I’ve been focusing on a particular image during my morning meditation and prayers to keep me basking in the preciousness of each every day moment.
I picture myself standing in the middle of a giant field of tall grass, an expansive purple mountain range so far behind me I can barely see it and a dancing blue ocean miles ahead (the monumental and defining moments I’ve already climbed and will swim through in many tomorrows to come).
As I focus on the unbroken flatness around me, the wind picks up and I can hear each and every blade of grass move and see every shift in the clouds with the change of the sunshine splashing around my feet. What was plain is suddenly highly detailed and perfect; the ground is firm and the sky alive.
It could and should be a boring scene – one that no photographer would think to bother capturing, no poet feel inspired enough to ink. But it’s real, alive, normal and – most importantly – is exactly where I’m standing at that precise moment.
“I went looking for a change of clothes and found the path to peace.”
Slowly but surely, I’m beginning to really see that the flatness and expansiveness of the plateaus of life are actually when life happens. The sitting in traffic, the endless work meetings, the yard work, the hastily prepared dinners after a long day, the morning battle with the five year old to not wear the pants with the holes in them that she took out of the Goodwill bag.
They are beautiful. They are perfect in their boring unglamorousness. My life at that exact moment. The seconds from which every other moment to come stems from.
And THAT, my friends, is what is truly awesome. But it’s up to you to make them that way.