Meaning In The Mundane – Learning To Love The Ordinary

If you’re anything like me in the imagination department, you’ve probably come to learn that being the epitome of a dreamer is both a blessing and a curse. Because, while being a dreamer means that I have the gift of seeing all of the wonderful things that could be, it has also meant that at times, my excitable spirit has come to believe that everything I’d imagined could be also should be.

That is not just an unrealistic way to live, it is faraway from the mindful approach to life that I know is best for my spirit and heart.

Friends, I have the (completely blissful habit) of letting my day-dreamy notions of breathtaking adventures to intoxicate my mind. And I have to say, I do not believe this is a problem at all. I absolutely love being swept away by castles in the air of my own creation. I always have, and after 28 years of being this way, I’m pretty confident in saying that I always will. However, I’ve also learned that it is important to balance finding joy in fantasy with finding meaning in the mundane. Because let’s face it – life is full of a heck of a lot mundane moments … And that is totally okay. I believe it’s the way it’s meant to be.

macandheather

Finding Joy In The Ordinary Looks Like An Afternoon At The Orchard

What does finding meaning in the mundane look like for me?

I believe this practice looks different for everyone, but my two favourite examples come from two very different seasons.

In the summertime, I’ve found simplistic joy in one of the small practices that has become one of our favourite pasttimes. Mac and I love spending our summer Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market here in town. We walk downtown, bringing coffee from home to sip along the way. By the time we arrive to the market, we’ve usually finished our first cup, so we stop at one of our favourite local shops and get our second brew of the morning (of course, using our travel mugs to avoid waste!). We savour the aroma, the taste, and the whole experience of ‘treating ourselves’ as we head over to the market. There, we browse all the local vendors, and make a few of our staple stops (sausage rolls are key to a delicious experience!!). We then walk along the beach, soak up the morning air, and head home. These quiet and refreshing mornings are usually followed by afternoon errands (groceries, meal prep, lawn mowing, AKA all the things most of us consider ‘boring’ etc.), and then often cap the day off with either with a dinner date, a bbq + bonfire supper, or a few evening drinks with friends. It is incredibly simple and a habit that never takes us more than a few minutes from home. But, we absolutely love it! Those simple summer Saturday’s refuel us in an incredible way, and even though it may be totally ordinary, the impact it has on our spirits is extraordinary in every way.

The next practice I want to share is our overall approach to the present season. In the winter, the wind off the shores of Lake Ontario is biting cold, and as Canadian weather goes, we tend to get hit with a decent amount of snow. I know a lot of people struggle with this season for valid and important reasons. Families are faced with expensive heating costs to keep warm, so many people struggle with seasonal affective disorder, we worry about loved ones driving in dangerous road conditions and so much more. I get it. It’s incredibly tough for so many. But for that reason, I also understand why I should be grateful. We have a warm home to come home to every single day, and the struggles that so many deal with this time of year are not present in our lives at this time. For that reason, I’ve made it a mission of mine to find gratitude throughout the cold of winter. Just like with our summer Saturdays, we’ve been able to find extraordinary in the very, very ordinary. I have learned that winter is not just the coldest season, it’s also the coziest season. No other time of year do we spend so much time cuddled up and blissed-out on hot chocolate. It may not be a wild adventure, but the sense of peace it brings to my heart is positively second-to-none.

Why am I sharing this? Why am I telling these stories? I guess the simple answer is that it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn myself, and I believe it may speak truth to others as well.

mac

I’ve come to learn that a quiet night-in playing crokinole is the very best kind of ordinary

I’ve gone through periods of darkness when my mental health suffered immensely. During those times finding joy felt impossible, and even when I began to recover I felt confused by the falsehood that happiness could only be found in the grandiose. It was as though I was waiting for some big moment or incredible experience to feel happy. I  believe a lot of us do this … We countdown to our next vacation or adventure, waiting for an escape from the every day. While those special times are spectacular in every way, I’ve also learned that relying on them for contentment in life can become very dangerous territory.

What I’ve learned is that if we wait for those moments to love our lives, we will never reach our goal. Because the truth is, while those moments are wonderful, they are not what compose our every day.

I’ve learned that loving my life must be rooted in finding joy
in my every day. This is why I’ve become committed to
finding meaning in the mundane.

Grocery shopping isn’t fun. But I am so incredibly blessed to be able to do so freely. We feed ourselves with good meals every single day of the week week.  Nourishment is a gift.

Sweeping my floor isn’t fun. But we have a roof over our heads and a beautiful house to call a home. Taking care of it is a gift. 

Some mornings, it is tough to pull myself out of bed to go to work. But we provide for ourselves through meaningful and valuable work that we are blessed to do. Productivity is a gift.

These elements of life are incredibly ordinary. They would never in a million years make for a good plot line on a reality TV series, nor would anyone write a book about them. But these are the things that make up my ‘every day,’ and I can authentically and honestly say I have learned to absolutely love them. After all, if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love gifts.

My life, though very ordinary, is a gift. I am determined to be a gracious recipient, and love it wholly.

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