The journals of our lives (like this one) are filled with very ‘ordinary’ chapters aren’t they? – accounts of daily life that quite often – very often – feel a tad mundane, on the surface at any rate. And yet somehow, in many of us, there’s still an impulse to record some of our experience of the hours – aide memoire – a tool for later reflection and remembering. And it’s often the ‘ordinary’ stuff that comes most readily to mind.

Walking home, at nearly 10pm on a balmy Edinburgh summer evening that feels like early afternoon – peaceful, happily aware of surroundings that make me feel good, conscious of other walkers headed home, slightly out of breath after the uphill stride to the bus stop. Thinking of contact with a number of family and friends during the course of the day. And of flowers and gardens. And the Poetry Library. Noting the bright Italian restaurant for future possibilities. Grateful for the interested friendliness of the lady bus driver on the 113 for Pencaitland, and the many familiar repetitions of the ‘Stop’ bell and the phrase ‘Thanks. ‘night …’ And from somewhere unseen come strains of ABBA –

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore

If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before

🎶 (Thank you for the music …)

– and I smile, recognising the sentiment. Yet blood and energy is coursing through my veins. I’ve been engaged in non-verbal connection with other ‘ordinary’ humans for a couple of hours. There’s nothing mundane about the dancing class, nothing boring about a hall full of people glowing and gliding and laughing and smiling and seeing and hearing and feeling their hearts beating in their chests like drums. Hearing car tyres on the cobbles outside – because the windows are open – I’m reminded in this dancing of the ‘ordinary’ dance of life, and my experience of that ordinariness is lifted here. Transformed. This journal, this record, this reflection, remind me that if I move myself, if I’m engaging with others in all the myriad ways I and they might choose to engage – then I’m alive! And aware of that, grateful. Profoundly, warmly thankful.


Stop, look, listen

Photo at Pixabay

Sometimes, even in meditation, I feel I’m in a hurry! I’m glad, of course, that life is so full –  of people, and poetry, and new every morning beauty, and the hundred thousand little things that make up our days and weeks and months and years. Glad that time doesn’t drag. And yet, I need to slow down if I’m to be fully awake, alive and aware. I need to slow down enough to notice.

So I slowed my stride this morning. Awakened by bracing cold morning air, I was enthralled by the unique formation of ice crystals on a field gate. Alive, I marvelled at the wonder of it and tasted a few flakes on my tongue. Aware, and stock still, I saw the woodpecker a fraction of a second before I heard the knocking, loud enough to fill the forest and maintain my slower pace homeward.