In Praise of Ordinary Things
I was just re-reading Elizabeth Alexander’s Praise Song for the Day, the poem read at the inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States. In this lovely poem, she celebrates the ordinary. Those things we do in order to live our lives. Things that are almost beneath our notice but are essential to keeping us going, keeping us whole, and keeping us full of wonder of the Universe. In other words, the mundane. The meaning of mundane is “of the world.” With Alexander’s words, I was reminded that our world of the mundane is truly wondrous and magical.
Too often, people use the word mundane to signify things that are not only beneath our notice, but things that are somehow worthy of our contempt, or at least separate and different enough to be “not us.” We need the mundane in our lives. We need to sew on buttons, wash our clothes, pay our taxes, and go through each step of each moment of our lives. If we spend our time wishing for it to be more magical, we lose the delight of the moment.
We can always find something we love no matter what horrors or boredom our lives contain. Delight in a favorite color, a bird chirping, the rocks or whatever. When we focus our love on something of this world, it becomes sacred, magical, and full of the power of love.
Pagans often use the term mundane to indicate that it’s separate from us…not magical. The mundane is of the world, and is not our world, Gaia, part of the Sacred Source? I think it’s time for us to reclaim the word mundane as a reminder that the world is sacred and our every bit of our lives is an expression of our holiness.
May you find the wonder of the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night, today and everyday.