Welcome to DAY 3 of our practice. Let’s begin…
Please close your eyes while you take three slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and consider the invitation to: “Appreciate the Ordinary as Extraordinary.”
Have you ever stopped and found yourself filled with wonder at the most “ordinary” things? The complexity, competence and humble service of our hands; a transcontinental flight; or the miracle of white dogwood? In A Grateful Day, Br. David draws our attention to “the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us,” — electric light and running water — aspects of our ordinary lives that, with simple reflection, are revealed as extraordinary.
In the spirit of recognition of the “extraordinary”, we invite you today to:
- Set an intention to appreciate the ordinary as extraordinary. Notice how simply setting this intention impacts you.
- Take an ordinary item…such as a book. Sit with it and reflect upon all that went into creating the book, for example: the inspiration of the author; the months or years it took to write; the collaboration of author, editor and publisher; the trees to make the paper; the ink; the font creator; and cover artist, etc. Wow! How does it impact you to consider these things?
- Perhaps, most importantly, seeing the extraordinary in the apparently ordinary deeply recognizes the truth of things — the wondrous ability of a body to heal following surgery, of a sleep-deprived young mother to be patient and loving in her work as a nurse’s aide, or of a hive of bees to harvest and transform nectar into the honey we enjoy in our tea. Our world is awash in the extraordinary. What truths are revealed to you with this orientation?
- At day’s end, reflect upon what you noticed and explore how it feels and what might have changed as a result of following your intention to appreciate the ordinary as extraordinary.
- Write about your experiences in a journal and/or share below.
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might appreciate:
- The Stars Fell Through My Window Tonight – a poem by Lauretta Santarossa
- Miracle Day – an essay by Anthony Doerr
- Being Grateful for the Body As It Is – a grateful living practice
- Okagesama – a blog by Gregg Krech
Enjoy the full eight-day A Grateful Day | A Grateful Year practice.
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This intention appeared to slip away for much of the day. Yet, just now I’m realizing that some interesting things showed up. I took a short walk from my office and stopped into an art store just for a break. I found it meditative to simply look at the art supplies mindfully. Before I left I signed up for an afternoon watercolor class. It will be my first. I also purchased an essential oil candle to use in my counseling office. So it turns out that I did put the intent for the day to work. I plan to take this intention into tomorrow.
I have begun to do this a week or so back. It is mind boggling what goes into the most simpliest thing s that we use each day. It takes so many unseen people to contribute towards the making of some material object that we use. It is more proof to me that no one can live in isolation or just for themselves in this world. We are interdependent on each other.
I’m just starting my day and will return to reflect on this intent tonight. This particular intention is an excellent practice to develop focus and intervene on anxiety. I’ve already started. I took a moment to focus my attention on my coffee mug and then choose to be engaged and interested in my coffee mug. Now, what is it that I notice about the coffee mug that I appreciate? I notice that it was made locally and I appreciate the effort of the artist who made it. I also appreciate having the opportunity to support a local artist. I’m also noticing the calming and warm colors of the mug. I leave this mug on my desk even when I’m not using it. The mug by itself adds some aesthetic value to the desktop.
I will return to this practice tonight.
I deeply appreciate being able to spend a night with my daughter, enjoying her simple but lovely small apartment, and sharing coffee and hot soup on a cold winter day.
Time with a cherished one, sunrises, and watching a cold front move in are experiences for which I am profoundly grateful.
I currently live in a high-rise in a major city. I’ve never thought I would live in a high-rise. It was never on my agenda.
I have an incredible view of both the north and the east from my bedroom and living rooms.
When I sit on my balcony or look out my windows I see how the world moves on and on and on.
In between the buildings I have a really incredible view of the sunrise.
I try to get up super early so I can watch the sunrise. My intent is to sit and just watch it, which is sometimes hard to do.
Sometimes I can barely see it because the sun is so bright, other times I get busy and before I know it it the the sun is out. It’s such a simple thing to watch the sunrise, something I am very grateful.
But I am like many other people in the world. I start my morning in a casual way rather than enjoy the beauty of the morning.
It is not the hard to do. All I need to do is to sit and enjoy the sunrise, in a very thoughtful way, but I get involved in my daily tasks and I will miss one of the most beautiful happenings of the day.
I’m grateful that the sun takes time each to rise in the morning.
This morning I missed the sunrise. I was awake but started to work on my computer. Because it had been snowing, the skies were very grey; I didn’t see the sun.
But looking out my windows today I enjoyed looking at the different buildings and watching the steam rise from the tops pf the buildings.
I felt joy looking at the magic from whatever equipment is used to produce the work that creates the steam heat in each of these buildings. Often the steam is hidden to most city dwellers. But for those of us who see it, who live in such buildings, we are reminded we will be warm for the day and night and not to take our hear for granted – we are reminded to be grateful and thankful for the heat, that keeps us safe and warm.
Watching the steam rise at night time is fascinating and magical. Tonight I watched the steam flow past buildings that have colored florescent lighting and then the steam shined in hues of blues and red and purple making the steam very beautiful.
Living in the clouds by living in a high rise looking at the sky provides a different celestial view than living on a farm like I did growing up, looking at the sky.
In the morning I can almost tell time by the morning sky. Upon occasion, like yesterday, I saw a small crescent moon at the same time I saw the sun rise.
I know a little about astronomy but not enough to understand why a can see a moon crescent while watching the sun rise.
If I knew more astronomy, the sky might be better explained to me, but I like the magic I see and I would rather be awed than to know.
What a beautiful sentiment today. Learning to stop and appreciate everything around us, in us and our place within this world – our universe and our time in it, in our current form is a true gift.
We all get caught up in chasing things which we deem “important” – or at least we think it is, for now. When we are pursuing, chasing, running away from something or simply ignoring the beauty around us we are not “being”; we are actually separating ourselves from our world.
This practice today helps me focus and listen to the miracles which surround us, the miracle of our universe, the miracle of you, the miracle of me.
Thank you – for this, I am grateful.
It is sooo terribly hard for me, in this culture, middle class, success oriented, accomplishment/task oriented to appreciate the ordinary as extraordinary. I really do get the concept and like it but my first mental reaction is to resist it as “it can’t be true”. I will work with it.
I do this sometimes (I did not think this up): Imagine that you are seeing something for the very first time. Imagine that you are seeing something for the very last time.
I was ironing clothes and I thinking about every people involved in the process… it’s really extraordinary thinking in the details with appreciation and gratitude.
Just the idea that we can be part of a world wide community through technology is amazing and cause for wonder! Maybe recognizing this and appreciating it as extraordinary will help me not get frustrated when there are glitches!
this fine winter’s day brings with it rain, a bit of wind. I’m grateful to be able to have the serenity to appreciate it and look at it (through my window from my cozy and warm apartment) with a smile and a bit of (whole lot of) wonder.