I was reading an advertisement for a writing retreat (links throughout the blog are listed at the bottom of the post, so your reading isn’t interrupted) and one of the sessions was called “Put Down Your Clever and Pick Up Your Ordinary”. I’ve been wrangling with some Clever Ideas of ways to open this blog and nothing has really settled in. So, I’m letting go of those rascally critters, dropping into myself, and giving you my Ordinary: my bookcase.
I made this bookcase with the help of my father. It was a necessary addition to the few furnishings we had when my husband and I returned from living in the UK (we had, have, and probably always will have, books coming out our ears). I still love it’s simplicity and functionality.
A random sampling from the shelves will tell you everything you need to know about me. Here’s the title of every fifth book from the right of each row:
Top Row: Words I Wish I Wrote (Robert Fulghum): I like a good quote book. I like playing with words. And I totally dig Robert Fulghum’s take on the world.
Second Row: The Ten Challenges (Leonard Felder, Ph.D.): I’m a postmodern gal, so this reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments is right up my alley. It’s interfaith perspective is necessary, IMHO, too.
Third Row: Energy Medicine (Donna Eden): Alternative? Complimentary? Holistic? Count me in! I dig that somebody could figure this out and write about it in a way regular people can understand.
Fourth Row: Unconditional Parenting (Alfie Kohn): One of my roles is “Mom” and I try to integrate it with my other roles, which means my parenting books are postmodern, mindful, and challenge me to grow.
Bottom Row: Human Anatomy (Martini & Timmons): An oldie, but a goodie. There have been several updates since this dinosaur graced my dorm room, but I still turn to it for a good look at what’s on the inside of my body.
After reflecting for a bit, I don’t think the issue here is Ordinary vs. Clever. I think our Ordinary is actually a way into our Extraordinary. This is one of those truths espoused by every faith tradition- we are, simultaneously, ordinary and extraordinary. We all bleed, laugh, and put our pants on one leg at a time- this is what keeps us humble and connected to our fellow humans. And we are also unique creatures with something distinctly our own to offer the world-this is what helps us enjoy life and make the world a better place.
So, I’m offering my bookcase. It’s a good synopsis and symbolization of who I am and what I have to offer the world that is uniquely mine: integration of science and spirit.
What’s your Ordinary? Your sock drawer? Your kitchen countertops? And what do they say about you and your Extraordinary? Pictures and stories welcome…