Beauty in the Ordinary

Yesterday the man standing behind me in line at Costco was talking on his cell phone saying, "The holidays aren't what they're cracked up to be. They were okay, but I'm glad they're over." That got me to thinking how easily we can take for granted time spent with family and friends. I believe that what we pay attention to and how we pay that attention determine the content and quality of our lives.

     A new year is upon us, and a new opportunity to refocus our thoughts. Perhaps we can train ourselves to find beauty in the most ordinary of everyday life. Lately I have had a heightened awareness of the mundane. Sunday, for example, my husband and I packed up the last of the holiday decorations. As we labeled the plastic bins and tucked them into the attic, I thought how profoundly confident I am that I will be around to open them next year. Even the simple packing up, a routine, ordinary detail in our busy lives, can be seen to hold layers of meaning. The ornaments themselves hold value for many are handmade treasures from decades ago when our children were little. Others are inherited antique glass bulbs. As I wrapped them, I could almost see my child self standing next to my little sister lovingly decorating our aunt's tree. Ordinary, but yet layered with meaning.

     Last week my Golden Retriever, Tessie had a sore foot. I had to leave her home while I took the other two walking along the beach trail. Many passer-bys asked after my missing dog. I smiled and explained. A few days later, this time with my usual three, I encountered more walkers and bikers who noted that Tessie was

back. As I passed one man on a bicycle he cheered, "Ah they're all here. Have a Golden day!" We both laughed at his little play on words, but it got me to thinking how easily we can take for granted the richness of our most ordinary everyday experiences. Clearly many of the same folks enjoy the routine of our exercise course. Sometimes we stop and chat, but mostly we are simply aware of one another, content to merely smile or say hello as we trek along next to the seashore. The walks are everyday ordinary but I see richness and meaning in them.

For the new year let's take notice of these commonplace moments and perhaps celebrate them and in so doing enrich our lives.