Let the Ordinary Become Extraordinary!

This morning on my dog walk along the oceanfront, I encountered this remarkable rock art left by an anonymous stranger for anyone who is paying attention to enjoy. I could not believe what I was seeing; a small flock of birds created on the edge of the beach parking lot. A shiver ran through me as I pondered the simple beauty and magnificence of the tiny flock.
As the dogs and I strolled along, I reflected on the sentiments expressed in the Christmas letters my friends have been sending. The dominant theme is: “Out with 2020,” “I haven‘t done much this year,” “A terrible year.” Such sentiments are part of our collective experience, perhaps exacerbated by California’s most recent shut-down, again limiting our freedom. Together we have endured the worst national health crisis in a century, and witnessed an unprecedented political polarization. To say the least, it has been distressing. However, as 2020 comes to a close, it affords a perfect opportunity to take a personal step toward healing. We can begin to have hope as the Covid-19 vaccine is administered, and the national political hotbed cools down for awhile. Perhaps we can work on where we allow our thoughts to carry us.
Where go our thoughts, so follow our feelings. Even though another mandatory lockdown leaves us more isolated than ever, there are certain actions we can take to redirect our outlook toward the positive. Ten years ago this week, I packed up my office at Cypress College and loaded the boxes of books and papers into my car. I said my goodbyes, and as in many retirements, I was physically escorted to my car. Adios! After 44 years of appearing on campus every school day, the uncertainty of my future plagued me. Could life possibly hold as much meaning without my students? Truly, I had no idea.
Those who have followed my posts have witnessed the fact that I have, indeed, found some interesting places to focus my attention. I have long adopted the HABIT of looking for Precious Moments. Historically this is a good time for all of us to do just that, mindfully adopt the HABIT of focusing our attention on the small delights lurking around many corners, like the impromptu flock of stone birds this morning, or another rock sculpture I saw yesterday. My daughter, Julina, has the habit of photographing the sunrise many mornings and sharing the extraordinary colorful photos with me. My friend, Sioux, discovered a beautiful hand-painted rock in the shape of a heart the other day, and has gleefully posted it on social media.
If one has their eyes peeled there are unique forms of public art hidden in small corners. Several cities around SoCal have invested in public art. At the corner of Coast Highway and Palisades Drive in Dana Point there is a beautiful portrait of famous author, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. adorning the electrical transformer box. That painting is sponsored by the City of Dana Point. Another city with awe-inspiring public art is Venice, California, where whole buildings are adorned with gorgeous murals. Our pets offer moments of delight as well. My granddaughter, Caroline, often shares photos of her cat, Stella, doing hilarious things.
The habit of keeping our eyes open for little delights can be our challenge for this holiday season. The universe has even seen fit to help guide us toward a positive outlook for the coming year. It has aligned the planets Jupiter and Saturn so close to Earth that on December 21st they will appear as one glorious bright star. Imagine that, a huge bright “star” visible to the naked eye. The last time this “Great Conjunction” occurred was in 1623, and before that in 1226. This bright “star” is most often referred to as the “Christmas Star”.
Developing the habit of looking for “surprises” is a valuable tool for making the negatives in our lives to seem to be a little less important. More than ever, this year I wish you a safe holiday season with a heart full of promise for a better year to come. I cherish the words you send me and look forward to reading what you are thinking about. My best, donna