12046868_10152978675921601_5783382962605525435_nA few nights ago there was a “super moon”, and a total lunar eclipse.  What is more, it was a clear night in Vancouver, so we could actually see the spectacle!  As it turned out, we almost missed it.

Mike and I were playing cribbage, one of our daily practices.  We had the lights down low, so we’d be sure to notice when the moon rose over the city scape.

It was past the time when the eclipse was to be total, and getting quite dark.  I wondered if the moon had disappeared, decided to go AWOL that night (as it had in a friend’s Picture Book, Mae and the Moon, recently launched.)  Didn’t seem likely, though.  I decided to turn out the lights altogether.  Lo, and behold, there was the fully eclipsed, super moon, well above the horizon, in full view.  And we had almost missed it.

Musing about extraordinary events in the next day or so, some insights arose.  First, how the extraordinary and ordinary are just a flip in perspective from each other.  A super moon is the moon as its closest to the earth, so it appears larger than usual.  A lunar eclipse is when the earth’s shadow passes in front of the moon.  A special event? Extraordianry? Maybe.  Maybe not.

I kind of like special events, noting birthdays, say, or the change from one year to another…. But actually the super moon and eclipse are just part of the moon’s ordinary cycle, to be close or far, in or out of alignment with the earth and sun.  Not really a big deal, certainly not to the sun or the moon or the earth!  And what is a birthday but another day in the year, or midnight on Dec. 31, but another year passing.

As I stayed with my musing, it went deeper.  We’ve heard,”Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.  Good advice, seems to me.  (Thanks Voltaire.)  Well, it struck me how the extraordinary can very easily become the enemy of the ordinary.  images

And how close the two can be — how they are just a slight adjustment in point-of-view — much like yin and yang, one is actually contained in the other.

And what richness and blessings there are in the ordinary.

And how much more readily we can attune to that richness and those blessings if we don’t have a preference for the extraordinary, or a need to have things be special…

And what a deep spiritual, mindfulness practice it is to be fully present to the ordinary.  This practice of presence, turns the ordinary into nothing less than miracle after miracle.

One example that occurs to me is paying attention.  It can be to almost anything:  to a sound, some music…; the face of a loved one, or of a passer by…; the taste or smell — of an orange, cheese, or honeysuckle…; touching — one’s own hand, a pineapple, baby’s skin…; sensing inside… the heart area, the experience of being alive, the warm tingling of gratitude arising.

How extraordinary, indeed miraculous, these all are.  The delicacy, the freshness, the indescribable variety and flood of experience(s), the richness.  And yet all are so easily dismissed as “ordinary”, especially if we are habituated to valuing the so-called extraordinary.

physical-activity-inline-skating-iStock_000002117950MediumI am about to go rollerblading.  I promise you, and myself, I will pay attention — more than usual, deeper than usual, longer than usual.  At least this is my intention!

There would be a lifetime full of examples of how paying attention turns something seemingly “ordinary” into a miracle.  And BTW, I am not preaching at you!  This is a lesson I keep learning myself, over and over and over!  Life is miracle flowing into miracles.  Paying attention is a tiny, yet powerful, and transformative key!

Oh, and the reason we almost missed the eclipse:  the light we used to play cribbage, even though low, had created a reflection in the night sky that was so bright that we didn’t see the moonrise, even though it was right there, in full view.  Don’t forget to pay attention to the light!!

I invite you to look in your life for an example that’s meaningful for you, and notice the effect of attention.  And your sharing is welcome!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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