Ordinary, the New Extraordinary

November 20, 2017

I learned I had to be extraordinary. Superficially. On the surface, I was taught that I had be special. Absolutly everyone of us are taught this in our life. Because being special is safe and being safe means belonging and belonging implies you are loved. In my family, it was taught that we were “different” and being different really meant “better” than everyone else. Despite a message that seemed innoculous at the time and which would fester into a suffering that I just NOW realize I have been carrying around, my mother was so beautifully different. She was European and living in the south in the 80s that was a novelty in itself. She was aloof in a way I imagine old film stars and famous people to be. She was unconnected to the community we lived in, had very few friends when I grew up. We seemed to be enough for her. She filled our home with beauty and color with classical music playing almost constantly in the kitchen. She taught me how to host dinner parties, how to plan elegant meals, cook to beat the band and set a breathtakingly gorgeous table. She showed me so much beauty and I am beyond grateful for that. The taste and flavor of her style and beauty lingers with me to this day…

And yet interestingly somehow that beauty was used, manipulations. Perhaps those precious times in the kitchen were moments of connection but also of the most subtle brainwashing, not because my parents had any idea what was going on, but because that is how our society functions. That the exquisite intangibles that make life ALIVE are not allowed to explode and exist in utter freedom and “beingness” but are rather hijacked by our minds and society’s expectations where we are taught that even the sacredness of life, the unique expression of our beings can be used, must be used for our own gain, to get more, to be more. As an adult I realized that that beautiful surface was functional for my mother and father. I have no doubt that the beauty I experienced growing up came from their deep authenticity, but practically it was the objectification of that beauty that disturbed me. Using beauty as an “object” to maintain an image. Of course our family is no different than yours! We live in a world where we objectify everything and everyone. To stay safe, to stay above the fray, approved of, “loved”. I realized I was part of that beautiful illusory scene. In terms of keeping up appearances, I was just like the beautiful table. I had no more inherent worth than what kind of image I could project that would further reinforce my mother’s image, my father’s needs. I was a unconscious participant in their drama. A means to an end. Who I really was was (on the deepest level, the NOW moment) was neither an interest to my family nor to me.

As I grew up and left home and enetered society as a young adult, I found that everyone I met also related to me as an object. I RELATED TO MYSELF as an object…that being the source of what I experienced of course. I strove for the extraordinary. And FEARED the ordinary. My identity, my safety was invested in being “different”. I was not only invested in my image to provide that for my family, but by now it was my only reality. It became the only way I related to the world. Relationships were manipulations. All of them. Friends, lovers, bosses used me as I used them. Nothing was real, authentic, deep, vulnerable. We all navigated through life on some strange surface level, never daring to show the entirety of who we really were, for fear of being rejected, thrown out of the game. Keeping our vulnerability close and hidden as none of us had ever experienced the safety of being ourselves…the messy, neediness of our WHOLE SELVES. None of us had experienced being held in compassion, understanding when we were at our “worst” or most uncontrollable. We had all been taught to contain ourselves, that love was conditional, that life was threatening, that we had to “be somebody” to be safe. Upon becoming a mother, nothing changed. Even though I felt profound love for these small creatures, as I have written before, it wasn’t long before I was using them as props for my own image of “extraordinariness”. Needing my children to be “different”, “special”, teaching them subconsciously that being superior was being safe. Brainwashing them to hate their wildness, their freedom, to fear their whole selves…

It just struck me while I write this that perhaps the entire concept of “entitlement” in our society is based on this…an elaborate rouse to make those gifted with special treatment in our society insulated from their own humanity, their own vulnerability, their own wholeness. There is nothing more threatening to entitlement than its own vulnerabilityperhaps the violence in the world is simply a smoke screen to protect our deeply wounded hearts. 

But the point to my ramblings today is this…

My focus on finding myself in the “extraordinary” became a hatred (really a fear) of the ordinary.  The ordinary! I did everything to avoid and resist my average ordinary life. That meant hating everything that was average and ordinary…well, me. That included my body, my mind, my vulnerability, who I was, who I wasn’t. It was a deep hatred for the MOMENT. I also hated everything and everyone I saw as ordinary. I avoided the NOW to such a degree, filling myself up with distractions and addictions, mind streams…anything and everything that took me away from the terrifying ORDINARINESS of the moment and me. My spiritual journey of “becoming” was my biggest addiction. My mind clung to the hope, the chance that it could polish me into a pure perfection. Then I would be seen, then I would be loved.

But how blessed I am to have experienced what love isn’t or the limitations of love?! We have no idea how sacred these contrasts are, because it has allowed me to see what is inside the ordinary, inside the NOW. and that in itself is the extraordinary! The ordinary then becomes this celebration of beauty with no strings attached! A true, expression of the unique self. Every aspect of beauty that I experienced as a child and even as an adult has fueled my YEARNING to be my fully actualized self, made me yearn more to be free! Each aspect of the truth, beauty, individuality, creativity, all sensory explosions, my uniqueness, celebration…all of it were like siren songs that turned me on so significantly because on a deep level I knew that is who I was! The suffering and frustration exsisted because for so many years, I learned the co-dependent dance between True Beauty and fear. I could not fully embody ALIVENESS because it was used for image making, to stay safe, to stay somebody in a world with no pulse.

Embracing the ordinary is about embracing fear, the feeling of being unsafe, of not being able to use my “extraordinariness” or any other aspect of life to prop myself up anymore. When I do that, when fear is so welcomed in, oh my GOD! The ordinary feels like a safety not of this world!  Moment to moment, the embrace of the NOW feels like gratitude. My beating heart, my breath, the abundance of life all around me, the beautiful humans living in my house, the sun, the moon, the gorgeous love filled dog that is curled up next to me, spontaneity, life on all sides of me giving me constant support…even my vulnerability, my needs, my precious feelings, open wide, no longer afraid of the entirety of me, the entirety of Life (one and the same).

Resisting the ordinary is believing in the illusion of the extraordinary, the kind of extraordinary that our mind conjures, not the real extraordinary of the ordinary moment. Embracing the fear, the arrogance of saying NO to the ordinary – breaks us open to an extraordinary experience of life!

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