In Praise of the Ordinary



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"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and
imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."  ~Cecil Beaton

Hey, Cecil Beaton! With all due respect, what's so wrong with the ordinary?

Sometimes life can be extraordinary in quite unpleasant ways. Sudden lay offs, unexpected debt, devalued property. Then there's the medical crisis, or the endless marathon of chronic illness. I'll bet the people in Haiti or Tibet would love to have some 'ordinary' about now.

After going through almost simultaneous crises – the death of my parents, a major bout with kidney disease, job troubles, I longed for some Ordinary. Just let me get up in the morning without pain, I prayed. Please let me have enough energy to cook dinner the way I used to, enough money in the bank to pay the bills. Today, with health issues in remission and life reasonable stabilized I retain my appreciation of the beauty of a sweet ordinary day. It's nothing more than being mindful, with an open mind and an open heart.

Of course we all know what Cecil Beaton is getting at. He wants us to aspire for great things, to dare to stretch beyond what is comfortable. I get that and it's good. I just think he carries it too far when he says to do differently is to become a "slave of the ordinary."

I believe there's room in our lives for both the Earth and the stars.

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