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The ordinary, in-between times

I heard a phrase this morning that kind of haunted me. By haunted, I mean that it chased me around all day, running around in my brain, hiding in the background of conversation, peeking out of slightly hazy windows of memories, and sudden popping out from behind the corners of my mundane, to-do list type thoughts. It’s not a scary phrase (not really) but maybe it’s a bit bewitching and befuddling. Here it is: “ordinary life.”

Right now, it’s mid-winter. We are in the in-between. It’s after the holidays,  and after the post-holiday slump. We’re months away from any major holiday breaks. We are several long weeks before spring.  We aren’t really waiting for anything. This is the in-between. This is ordinary life.

How do we live ordinary life? I know that there are lots of things going on – in the world, in my life, in my family, in my work. Some important, some less so. I’m busy, sure.

Honestly, everything still happens in the in-between, in ordinary life.

We have some of everything, right? Some worries, joys, sadness, annoyance, gratitude, some fearfulness, some anger, some hope….yes, some of everything. We have some interruptions. The milestones.

We tend to measure our life by the milestones – the births, the weddings, the graduations, the deaths, the job changes, the health events – the big things.

I know, my brother died a month ago. I’m in the “after Mark died and before the next thing happens” time – the in-between. The ordinary life.

I know that I will spend more chronological time between the milestones than I will living the milestones.

That’s actually why the phrase haunts me. I want to make sure that I spend enough focus, energy and appreciation on the ordinary in-between.

I want to make sure I’m not wasting my life waiting, anticipating the next milestone.

I don’t want to waste my life recovering from the last one, either! I’m not saying that I don’t take time to heal – not at all.

It’s finding the balance between enough and too much.

Isn’t that everything, actually?

I think that living fully, even in the ordinary, everyday in-between is the definition of being grounded.

This is a great time for red thinking. That can be my topic for text week.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light, Maggie

 

3 Comments

  1. This is great advice! It is so easy for me to get bored or depressed in the in-between times, when instead it should be a time to relax and reflect before hunting down the next big moment.

  2. 1. Deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your bro’. Feeling that hurt until it subsides will definitely keep you in the in-between time for a while. 2. Thanks for this post. I know I’m at peace with the in-between time in my own life when, for example, I’m at work drinking my-cup-of-tea-with-honey and feel a random surge of joy, not associated with anything in particular. I credit meditation and – as you advise here – cultivating a friendly relationship with the mundane, including those unsung hours of the day when ‘nothing’ allegedly happens, for this amazing and life-affirming development. I aspire to help it continue and grow.

  3. I like all the comments posted above. I also like to have something small to look forward to in the ordinary space; coffee with a friend or a special hike. It is a mindful practice to realize how ordinary moments can be special.

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