Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


just who are you calling average…?

averageA friend & former colleague recently posted a blog entry where he wrestled with his (mild) obsession w/ being ‘the best.’ He’s very good at anything he turns his hand to: technology, teaching, parenting, music, running. And those are just the few things I’ve seen him do!

But that’s not what he thinks. If he’s not the best, he confesses — and the focus of the blog post was his drop in running time following an injury — he’s not happy.

So here’s my question: do you know ANYONE who’s really ‘average’…? Who is totally ordinary? Right smack dab in the middle of the bell curve on EVERYTHING? I don’t.

I don’t think any one really IS ‘average.’ Each of us is unique. I suppose we know that, intellectually. But when we fit whatever stat is trending, it can be hard to remember.

My friend Luke is nowhere near ‘average.’ He’s amazing, if he could just see himself from an objective ‘outside’ perspective. A parent who adores his kids, a co-worker who is generous with time & ideas, a writer of no small talent. And funny as hell, to boot. How average is THAT?

And what the heck is WRONG with being ‘average’ anyway? What does that word even MEAN? It seems to be another word for ‘ordinary.’ But even ordinary — I’m thinking ordinary magic, or ordinary mind — is beautiful. So, does ‘average’ now mean ‘not special’…? When did that happen? I reject that meaning!ordinary mind2

Days when the ordinary leaps out & surprises me are my favourites: when I look up at the grey winter sky and the clouds are swirling furiously, or when a fox steps free from the woods by the house, or my grand-nephew says something absolutely hilarious… These aren’t epiphanies. They’re just ordinary days, when something quite common, really, is framed by my attention. Something not defined as ‘special’ becomes so, because I’m deep within that moment. Not judging — just enjoying.

Here’s my wish for each of us (myself included): that we might just a few times this year — heck, I’d be happy if it was simply annual! — see ourselves as our friends do. See our idiosyncratic, uniquely loveable gifts through the eyes of someone who isn’t judging us, but enjoying us. Instead of filtered through the always-critical lens of self-’improvement.’ (Which might just as well be called ‘never satisfied.’)

Because I know if Luke could see himself as I do, HE would know he’s not simply ‘average.’ He’s the best kind of special. One irreplaceable human being, living his life to the best of his ability.



Previous Posts

ritual and being our own best friends
So yes, I am the person who will make Việtnamese coffee w/ a stainless steel straw, bought specifically for the occasion. Because ritual rocks. Seriously: it offers us structure and space, time to sip a cold drink and pamper ourselves, as we would a loved one. A dear friend. Someone who needs a

posted 1:09:23pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

friendship, memory, and love
My mother-in-law has a friend! This may not sound like a big deal to many of you, but those of us w/ family in elder care KNOW it's bigger than it may sound. Nursing homes -- even good ones -- aren't conducive to happiness, sadly. My beloved mother-in-law was used to her own place, her own schedule

posted 1:18:07pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

time travel
Today over lunch, my husband & I went back in time. We don't do that very often -- it's boring for other folks, and it's just not really us. At least, not most of the time... But today for some reason, it jus

posted 9:07:23pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

where memories live
This is the tag on my father's blanket. The blanket he had long before I was born, probably bought before my mother reunited with him in the Phillipines, 13 months after they married. It's a softly worn (once scratchy) wool, something like the old Pendleton three-stripe blankets (and it has three

posted 4:02:09pm Jul. 19, 2014 | read full post »

wildflowers, watermelon, and summer negligence
This is part of what I did today. Certainly the better part. After an early morning -- spent w/ a lawyer, not every my favourite thing to do -- my sister called and needed help. She'd been left holding the bag (actually, 6 bags) for her HS reunion gig tonight, and hoped her big sis would help out

posted 7:43:37pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »




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