Mike Garden 2Today on my morning walk I reflected on my feelings of inner contentment.  I realized that they are based mostly on the unremarkable aspects of my life.  I’m really enjoying the lush greenery of Tampa, the explosion of colorful blooms and perfumed air, and even the humidity, which, in the early morning is like a comforting blanket around my shoulders.  And just walking…how unremarkable for most of us just to be able to walk, moving under our own power from place to place.

But if we listen to the rush of daily news reports, our world is full of remarkable events and people, and little else.  It seems everyone who performs an act of kindness becomes a “hero.”  Tragic natural disasters become occasions for constant updates.  Our presidential campaigns will be spending billions of dollars for the next two years, bending over backwards to inform us how utterly remarkable each candidate is, painting him or her as the next savior of the free world.  And even that doesn’t get the majority of Americans to vote…for anyone!

All of this interests me to some degree, but what does it do to my soul?  It heightens my anxiety.  It creates a sense of déjà vu and hopeless.  It pricks my cynical side while at the same time flooding me with empathic grief.  It’s slowly drowning in information, most of which is not relevant to this moment in time.

And so I’m pulling back.  I’m focusing my soul on the unremarkable, the ordinary, the little bits of reality that I may take for granted, such as the swarm of black flying bugs mating in mid-air around the blooming gardenia bush.  Or the quiet stillness of our backyard pond.  Or the fruit of the local mahogany tree littering the sidewalk.

I need to allow the unremarkable to have first claim on my soul.  It’s a like a gentle friend that enables me to center myself.  It holds me back from reliving and regretting the past or fretting about the future.  The unremarkable daily presence of a loving spouse grounds me in a priceless quality of contentment.  And my unremarkable oatmeal with fruit that he sweetly prepares for me each morning is like winning a daily lottery.

What are the unremarkable people, places, objects, and events that you may be overlooking?  What if you were to put all else out of your mind and focus on them, beginning with your unremarkable breathing?  Can you feel the calmness overtaking you?  When might you take some time consciously to enjoy your unremarkable life?


All artwork is copyrighted by the artist, Michael Parise