My writing partner and I decided to write on “Everyday life” before COVID 19 became what it is. At first I wondered if we should change the theme considering the global pandemic we all find ourselves in, but it really does seem fitting, doesn’t it?
It is difficult to write on this topic without at least addressing the state of our world. I mean, I sort of think they compliment each other in a very potent way; though I wish it weren’t at the expense of so many lives.
What a surreal time in history this is, for all of us. I often find myself pausing to think about how such a universal experience can be both beautiful and tragic. And yet, isn’t this the truth of our everyday life? Collectively we so often experience universal emotions, joys and tragedies, but how rare it is to collectively go through it together – all at once. How rare is it that we recognize our shared humanity in these more everyday events?
Perhaps it is in the more severe circumstances like this that we not only acknowledge, but experience the deeper truth of our interconnectedness that we have with one another and the created world.
I have found that my introverted-ness bodes well for me in times like this. I have noticed feelings of contentment due to the slowness of this time. In some strange way it does feel like a reorienting to what is most important, to what is nourishing for the body and soul. But I do not say that without an underlying sadness and anxiety. So many lives have been directly affected by this – I imagine “contentment” is certainly not the word they would use to describe this time.
This all wears on us all in its own ways. Some of us have partners, kids, live with roommates, pets, or live alone. Some of us have different illnesses, mental or physical that we carry in the midst of this. Some of us are unemployed, or work from home. Some of us have lost someone recently, some of us only read about it. Some of us work in the hospitals day in and out to help fight this thing. We have our individual stories that make up this collective one, and yet everyday life is the invitation for us now. For most of us, that’s a simple, mundane, quieter and slower everyday life.
For me, rituals are really important to experiencing the sacredness of everyday. This can look like me making my morning and afternoon coffee, and lighting a candle (or 4). It looks like writing and reading for the sake of enjoyment. Making my two eggs and slicing an orange. It looks like actually getting dressed in clothes I would wear on the average day (some days I don’t…trust me). It looks like going for a run or a walk, or moving my body in some way to release the restless energy — weird kitchen dances or crouching up on top of couches. You know how it goes.
Sometimes it looks like participating in online classes, working on my thesis, or baking and cooking a new meal. It looks like spending time with my roommates around a table, watching another Murder Mystery series, or catching up with a friend on FaceTime. It looks like texting a friend or throwing my phone in another room because I can’t handle another screen.
Sometimes it looks like cleaning random corners in the apartment, or lying on my bed, staring at the wall. It looks like meditating, praying & deep breathing. It looks like child’s pose. Sometimes it is me feeling useless. Feeling contented. Feeling happy. Feeling anxious. Feeling grief. Feeling numb. Feeling heavy. Feeling free.
Can you relate?
Everyday life is full of so many little gifts and graces. It is the very container that makes up the overarching themes of our lives. Annie Dillard writes,
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
The particular is what makes up the whole. How we choose to live today, how we treat ourselves and each other, is how we generally just live our lives. Perhaps this is a time to pay just a little more attention to that.
This is a time to reorient to the basics of life, to the important things that give our lives meaning and purpose. This is a time to remember that every single day is a gift. It is all that we are given in this moment. For some of us, this reality has become so much more pertinent with what we are now facing. My hope is that we would really let this time transform us.
This is a call back to the present moment. This is call back to presence. This is call to nourishment, spaciousness and generosity of spirit. This is a call back to our belongingness to all things; to one another. This is a call to embrace our humanity and our divinity.
This is today. Sink into it. Be here.
Enough by David Whyte
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again