It's actually one of those gorgeous Seattle days today that reminds you why the rain is worth it, but this photo seemed more appropriate to my musings. I saw a video recently that keeps replaying in my mind. The entire 40 minutes is worth your time. What's stuck in my head is a call to "tolerate the boring bits" in life and each other. Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together observes the general tendency of our current culture to live as though all that matters is stringing together a social-media-worthy collection of highlights, avoiding or distracting ourselves during the relatively uninteresting phases. This theme has continued to pop up in my life the past two weeks. Crossing to Safety is a beautiful story, one I read years ago and put away on a shelf. I dug it out recently and was once again touched by the simple tale of friendship. One character encourages her friend, the writer, to aspire to a book about regular life. "Most artists--writers too, you're all alike--found it easier to get attention with demonstrations of treachery, malice, death, violence." Charity begs Larry, "write something about a really decent, kind, good human being living a normal life in a normal community, interested in the things most ordinary people are interested in."
Over the weekend I attended three yoga workshops with Sarah Powers. She had a lot of interesting things to share about yin yoga and suffering. What stands out to me is our final meditation, during which Sarah reminded us of the benefit of cultivating attention. Not attention to anything, just pure attention. This is something to be practiced, just like any other skill. Let me tell you, it felt a lot like learning to appreciate the mundane, because gazing at carpet for 15 minutes, even striped carpet, isn't exactly what I call fun. And yet, so necessary.
One final thought on appreciating--celebrating even--the average, everyday moments of life, from my favorite poet...
On my shoes,
Buttering the sky;
That should be enough contact
With God in one day
To make anyone
(Hafiz - Buttering the Sky)