During a recent conversation with an acquaintance, we discussed the concept of seeing the ordinary as if it were extraordinary. She commented, “If we could do that, imagine the joyfulness in the world!” I try observing the world through this lens and some days I catch a glimpse of the extraordinary elements of my life. Let me offer examples of this joyousness and its synchronous nature.
I listen to a wonderful little radio station, CKUA. When I get in the car, it is on and I usually pay at least superficial attention to the songs. I love Blues, Soul, and Gospel music and on three particular mornings I was welcomed into my car by great music. On Thursday, Lead Belly sang Grey Goose; on Friday Nina Simone sang Feeling Good; and on Saturday, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen sang Oh, Mama, Mama. I confess I was not feeling upbeat Friday when Nina Simone came on, but I was aware of the generous message and found space to feel better. Each song appealed to me and seemed to sooth a restless and weary soul.
Saturday morning I met with three friends and, during the conversation, we talked about my blog. One person commented it seemed two different people wrote at times. I pointed out some postings are academic and fit with my doctoral journey. When I write about a need for Eloquent Questions in Education, my voice is, hopefully, more scholarly. When I share about a paralyzing fear of heights in Images to Provoke Thoughts, I try to personalize and humanize the self, Ivon, who writes, but my complexity is revealed. I explained Kathy proofreads and edits many postings. She does an amazing job of cleaning up conventions and keeping the message on track. I am challenged to acknowledge and express my gratefulness, as well as I should.
Frequently, I take for granted both the complexity of my self and who I am, and the important, sustaining relationships in my life, rendering them ordinary. Both are extraordinary and help me observe and understand the self when I contemplate, “Who is the self that teaches?” Parker Palmer offered this question and I try to extend it further to ask, “Who is the self that lives this life?” I think these are critical questions because, without self-awareness, what possibility of transformation exists? I follow Cooperative Catalyst and they posted Why Transformation May Hit a Snag: Observations from the Field. Two questions emerged from the article for me, both about self-awareness. First, what am I doing to transform my self? Second, what values guide this transformational process? Gandhi proposed, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Being aware and present to my self and those who matter most in my life are essential steps. Some days are better than others and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.