a life more ordinary

Shouldn’t it be less ordinary?

I want to tell people there’s something special and unique about their lives.  Maybe this is true precisely because we’re all ordinary.  For a start, there are seven billion of us on the planet – we’re hardly special on the grounds of scarcity.

Maybe its extraordinary to live ordinarily well.

‘You have no idea what you’re doing.  If you did, you’d be an expert, not an artist.’*

D. Jean Hester sweeps the street outside an art gallery.  She calls it ‘Sweeping (Sidewalk Performances #1).  It’s part of a “walking-art” project and Hester explains it’s “an expression of pride in one’s place, as well as a gift given to others who use the area.”**  It was raining, though, and it’s difficult to sweep a lot of pavement and hold a brolly at the same time!

I likee the sentiment and I’m open to persuasion about whether it’s worthwhile turning something this ordinary into art.

If we pull back a little, what about the reality of the universe in which we find ourselves, where’s the big bang left us?  Alan Lightman points out in his novel about the creation how we can’t get further back than the big bang:

‘The origin of the first event would always remain unknowable, and the creature would be left wondering, and that wondering would leave a mystery.’^

Part of the ordinary and the everyday the universe has spewed out is this mystery.  A mystery, we might say, that is in each one of us – something we can never escape.

Maybe noticing this kind of more and positively interacting with others is literally some of the most out-of-the-ordinary stuff we can get up to.

“What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered?  The wild horses tamed?  What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking.  Where will the thicket be?  Gone!  Where will the eagle be?  Gone!  And what is it to say to the swift pony and hunt?  The end of living and the beginning of survival.”^^

(*From Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception.)
(**From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(^From Alan Lightman’s Mr g.)
(^^Chief Seattle, in a letter to the United States government in 1852, quoted in Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)


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