Friday, 25 July 2014

the divinity of ordinary things


The times they indeed are a-changin, as Bob Dylan declared in his famous song. The past few decades have seen the excess and decadence of the eighties, the huge technological and online advances during the nineties, followed by the recession and financial crisis and now the increased unrest about the state of the planet we call home. Instead of dreaming about owning a designer handbag, planning exotic holidays, or pouring time and energy into mindless consumption and one-upmanship, I think it's fair to say that many of us are looking for comfort closer to home and redefining our priorities and experience of joy.

I sense a return to simple but infinitely more rewarding pleasures such as time spent with family and friends, playing a role in and being part of a wider community, connecting with nature, the land and the seasons. Enjoying the experience of real food more often than processed and convenience options and preparing nourishing meals for our loved ones with simple, fresh ingredients. Rediscovering the crafts of our grandparents generation, such as sewing, knitting and woodworking. Reusing, repurposing and making do and mending. All of which are far nobler and more rewarding pursuits than the accumulation of bigger, better, newer possessions and countless extra hours spent at the office clawing up the career ladder when doing so is at the detriment of all the other aspects of life.

It's a small but significant revelation to realise that fulfilment and contentment can be found in the most ordinary of tasks and everyday domestic occurrences. Something as mundane as making a cup of tea is actually a ritual which allows the chance to gather a favourite mug, take a moment to breathe and regroup whilst the kettle boils, then wrap your hands around something comforting and warm. Hanging the washing on the line or walking to work is an opportunity to get some fresh air and take note of what is happening outdoors, be it a bird singing on the fence or the first shoots of spring pushing their way up through the soil. Getting our hands dirty and growing things brings satisfaction from the toil itself as well as the rewards it yields, even if it's on as small a scale as growing herbs in pots on a window ledge.

I think awareness of spirituality, not only in terms of religion but the general state of self, and the practice of meditation and mindfulness will become more apparent. Of course, there will always be bills to pay and no doubt money and power still speak volumes, bringing with them the beauty of choices but no guarantee of happiness or wholeness. Even if we can't escape the rat race altogether it's about slowing down, making time for what's really important, enjoying the little moments in the everyday and holding those dear to us close. Hopefully we can all find a balance, not striving for perfection but a life well lived and loved.

p.s The happy mundane series is having a brief hiatus, not from a lack of gratitude, merely a lack of time :)

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