A guided seven-day practice inspired by Mary Jean Iron's A Normal Day.
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world your return. And then I will know what now I am guessing: that you are, indeed, a common rock and not a jewel, but that a common rock made of the very mass substance of the earth in all its strength and plenty puts a gem to shame.”
~ Mary Jean Irion
Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterians
When we woke up this morning we were handed a treasure. Dawn arose from the darkness draped in warm and wondrous hues, even for those of us who missed witnessing its stunning arrival. We opened our eyes and a staggeringly intricate synchronicity of exchanges and cues conspired to bring us a comprehensible image of the room in which we fell asleep a few hours earlier. And this was just the beginning!
Our apparently “normal” days are replete with wonders that go unseen, unnoticed, unappreciated, and uncelebrated. But each moment offers a fresh opportunity to awaken to the miracle of our days — to begin to truly notice, marvel at, and treasure what lies before us, around us, and within us.
We invite you to embark on several days of practice with this way of experiencing the world, for in doing so, we train ourselves to more frequently delight in and begin to honor the unique, transient, and priceless treasure that each dawn brings.
We recommend you bookmark this page and move through the practice days at your own pace. You might move through the practice alone or consider exploring it with others, as part of a group experience.
Day 1: Wonder of Aliveness
What a miracle that you are here! Reflect on all that it took for you to be here in this moment: the Earth being the perfect distance from the sun to support life, billions of years of evolution, your ancestors surviving long enough to bring forth the next generation, your parents meeting, the accidents that didn’t happen, the serendipitous occasions that did…
Day 2: Wonder of the Body
Your body calls for deep awe and appreciation as it gives tangible experience to life through its brilliant and resilient form. Consider some of the amazing things your body does for you in a given day, much of it without your conscious effort: creating new cells, metabolizing food into energy, breathing, moving against gravity, physically expressing thoughts and feelings, taking in the world around you through your senses…
Day 3: Wonder of Weather
We often refer to conversation about the weather as “small talk,” but weather is a powerful guiding force in our lives that invites humility, awe, and gratitude. Consider the wonder all forms of weather can offer in a given day: the rhythmic tapping of rain, the ever-changing landscapes of various forms of clouds, the invigorating energy of wind, the magnificent power of storms, the radiant warmth of sunlight from a star millions of miles away…
Day 4: Wonder of the Details
Though we’re often cautioned to “not get lost in the details,” they can enrich our lives and lead us on grand adventures without needing to travel anywhere. Consider the wonders contained within just one square yard, foot, or inch in the space before you. Or in any day, hour, or single moment of time. Consider that this is true no matter where we are, or the conditions of our lives…
Day 5: Wonder of Waiting
Waiting can often feel frustrating, but we can reframe the experience as an opportunity to tune into the wonder of the world around us. Reflect on simply having found yourself wherever it is you are, among any people who are also there, the sheer chance of the moment and all it contains, the hum of activity or silence that fills the space, an unexpected occurrence you happen to witness. Reflect on the chance to appreciate your body, the weather, the details of your environment, the miracle of being alive…
Day 6: Wonder of Connection
Our interactions and relationships with others can open us up to abundant beauty, joy, curiosity, and insight. Consider simple acts of kindness like a smile or someone holding the door open; the different perspectives, skills, and ways of being to which others can introduce us; the incredibly complex and fascinating ways we communicate with one another; the mere chance of our being in the company of others at all…
Day 7: Wonder of Normalcy
On this final day of our practice, we return to the wonder of a “Normal Day,” a day that unfolds much as any other day. Let us savor this normalcy and treasure it, knowing that it could be (and one day will be) otherwise. As we change our story and relationship to what we understand as normal, taking nothing for granted and opening to wonder, we can experience and express an attendant gratitude which changes us and, ultimately, changes the world…
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