Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Becoming A Connoisseur Of The Commonplace

God hides in plain sight.

And if we are not paying close attention, we miss the experience and the message.

Ever see the movie Bruce Almighty? Bruce, played by Jim Carrey, is given the chance to take over God's job while God goes on vacation. 

Talk about a challenge.

Bruce has no idea of God's presence in his life. He's more concerned with landing the anchor position at his news station. His self-absorption causes him to miss God's cues and messages. While Bruce's life begins to unravel, there is one small constant in the movie which Bruce (and most people who watch it) miss initially -- the scroungy, homeless man who quietly holds up signs about the end times. It's not until the end of the movie when we realize that God has been the homeless man all along, hiding in plain sight. 

How many times have we missed Spirit's cues and messages because of our lack of attention?

I remember sitting on a train headed into the city where I worked. I had been going through a particularly challenging time, not able to see my way out of or through the situation, when out of nowhere a truck came along on the highway, driving parallel with the train. On its trailer, it bore one word in bold letters: G.O.D.

What do you make of a moment like that?

I knew the letters stood for the company name, Guaranteed Overnight Delivery, but it was what I needed most to see in that moment. The truck remained with the train as we crossed the bridge until we disappeared underground into the tunnel. I didn't know if this was some kind of cosmic joke, or something much more.

When I exited the train, I couldn't stop thinking about that truck. I had seen them on the road many times, never paying any mind to them. They were just trucks. But as I emerged from the tunnel, there parked directly in front of me was the same G.O.D. truck that had stayed with me across the bridge. I knew in that moment that everything would be okay, and it was. And I realized that the heavens didn't need to open nor did the seas have to part for Spirit to communicate with me. All it took was a truck. In plain sight.

That was my cue to start paying attention to small, inconspicuous, commonplace things that I normally overlooked or took for granted. I became a connoisseur of the ordinary. Through the contemplation of the things around me, I began to uncover layers of meaning. I learned that "things have their within," as French priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reminds us; they have their own lives, and the only way to know them is to enter into partnership with them. When we do, we find them pointing beyond themselves to the profound. Life becomes a sacred adventure, and suddenly Spirit is everywhere.

Spiritwork:

To become a connoisseur of the commonplace means to live consciously with things. Let your attention be a tool for discovery and caring to help you to honor the presence of the sacred in everyday life.

Today, celebrate something that is considered an ordinary object but holds sentimental value. Set it in a place of honor, or in a place of high visibility. Give gratitude for its use(s). Make it a conversation piece with your family or friends and see where the conversation leads.

I used to keep a brick on my desk in my classroom. It served a practical purpose as a paperweight, but it held sentimental value for me.

My students often questioned, why the brick? Why not a traditional, more "normal" paperweight? I told them it was a gift.



"A brick? Who gives someone a brick? It's just a brick," I'd hear them say.

"It's more than just a brick," I'd say. "It carries its own story. It's just a matter of listening to it and hearing what it has to say."

Quizzical looks.

"It comes from a building that was scheduled for demolition. That building was the hospital in which I was born. My father made a special trip that day to retrieve this little piece of history. It represents when I came into the world and when he became a father."

Silence.

And then the brick took on a life of its own, and my students couldn't wait to get to know it.

Each day, look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, the not-so-common in the common, and take time out to celebrate the little things in life.

Click here to read the intro to this series. This link will also bring you to Day 1.

23 comments:

  1. Loved the story about the 'God' trucks! Sometimes the spirit world does move in mysterious albeit rather loud ways. Popped by from the blog challenge and glad I did. Interesting and thought provoking article, thank you. Love that - look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Fab!

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    1. Hi Andrea! I guess you could say that the GOD trucks are kind of a "holy" relic for me. Every time I see one, I pause to give gratitude. I'm so glad you stopped by and commented.
      Penny

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  2. Penny, I love your posts. This is so important. It is all about awareness.

    I have a similar story to your "G.O.D. truck story". I was once going through something and I just kept asking for a sign and wished it had never happened.

    I was driving home and there was a great big green sign on the side of a big van that said "As if it never even happened!"

    I didn't see anything else on the van except those words and I knew that was my sign and it even used my own words. :-)

    I felt better and went on and all was well, indeed.

    Also, that brick story brought tears to my eyes! It is amazing that a meaning to something changes the "thing" totally.

    :-)

    Thank you,

    Kathy

    kathyhadleylifecoach.com

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    1. Indeed it is all about awareness, Kathy. Love your van story! It always amazes me how Spirit communicates in subtle but powerful ways when we open ourselves up to it. Awesome! I have the Guaranteed Overnight Delivery truck and you have the ServePro truck...I see that commercial all the time..."like it never even happened." When I see it now I will always think of you.
      :-)
      Penny

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    2. Penny,

      Covered with goosebumps that you knew that.

      You see, I didn't see anything but those words I posted and it was literally over 2 years before I ever saw an ad and realized it was just a Servpro truck.

      I think God wanted me to just think it was a message from Him for all that time.

      Yes, it is amazing how God/Universe speaks to us. Now, I'm just in the habit to look for the answers in all things.

      Just like you say in your post.

      :-)

      Kathy

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  3. This is great! I am a firm believer that we need to constantly live in the now, appreciate everything around us, pay attention to our thoughts and words and love as much as we can while we are here. This is a great post. Love, love, love it!

    Missy Bell
    www.PeaceAndHappinessProject.com &
    www.WhereTheGhostsLive.Wordpress.com

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it, Missy! Awareness is key. Being in the moment, giving gratitude for what we have, and giving our attention to the things and people that matter most make for an awesome life of love and joy. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Blessings.
      Penny

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  4. What a great post Penny!
    I love especially love the"brick!" :)

    It is so true when you say "Each day, look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, the not-so-common in the common, and take time out to celebrate the little things in life."

    One of my favorite authors, Dan Millman also reminds us that there are "No Ordinary Moments." This is so true for my life experiences as well!

    Blessings and love to you,
    Gena

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    1. Gena, I'm always reminded by Dead Poets Society when Mr. Keating tells his boys in class, "Seize the days boys! Make your lives extraordinary!" Dan Millman is a wonderful author! Love his work.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.
      Love and Light to you, too.
      Penny

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  5. Love this title, "Becoming a Connoisseur Of The Commonplace."

    Most of life is finding joy in the mundane.

    Thanks for you this!

    ~ Ann

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    1. True, Ann, nothing is mundane when we approach it with mindfulness. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Blessings.
      Penny

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  6. Thank you for a very profound and insightful post and I agree that it is important to be conscious of what is happening in our environments as it leads us back into communion and connection with ourselves, and God. Have a blessed day x

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    1. Ana, it's all about communion and connection, isn't it? We are all meant to be in fellowship with one another, with nature, with life, and especially with God. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated.
      Blessings.
      Penny

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    2. Penny, I love this series already. You are brilliant. There is so much beauty around us. So much to see. How can any day be ordinary? :)

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    3. Isn't that the truth, Cheryl...beauty is everywhere in every moment. I'm so glad you are enjoying this series. Thank you so much for your love and support.
      Blessings and lots of love to you, girl!
      Penny

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  7. Hi pen...
    What a great post...it actually reminded me of a time. It was two years ago in the summer...I felt so down...I had a baby n I felt like I couldn't figure out my financial matters...hormones running high....I felt the weight of the world...I was at my parents house with my son...I was sitting at the kitchen table looking outside......felt the financial burden on me....I was expressing my concerns to my mom.....when all of a sudden my mom n I saw this squirrel hanging from the bird feeder struggling to reach the suet.this squirrel was reaching for food never giving up when finally he reached for it and had a huge mouth full of food....he accomplished getting the food...my mom said to me ....honey this is a sign that if you work hard you will ALWAYS reach your goal....always remember
    the squirrel n how he never gave up...so when a challenge comes up I'm always thinking of the squirrel ....n how he never gave up....I totally believe in those signs...I'm more aware of these lil signs....thank you penny for a great blog...

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    1. It's amazing how Spirit uses commonplace things to get our attention and give us important messages. Sounds like the squirrel is your totem animal. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure you'll never look at squirrels the same again because of that experience. A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimension. I love when Spirit expands our consciousness! Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Many blessings and much love to you.
      Penny

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  8. I LOVE THIS!! I am so excited about the rest of the series! While reading this I am reminded of a moment that happened recently when I was on the train back to NY after my last gig closed. I was feeling so sad.... and out of no where I looked out the window and there was this man on his farm waving. It felt like he was waving to me..... reminding me to be happy, to be joyous, to enjoy the moment because all is going to be okay. Thank you for reminding me again of that moment. I think I'm going to blog about it tomorrow :) You're AMAZING PENNY!

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    1. That is a beautiful story, Tamala! I'm glad this served as a wonderful reminder to you to remain centered in your happiness and joy. The Spirit is AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing your story; it's making me well up inside. I can't wait to read your blog about it!
      Blessings, Light and Love, and lots of it, Tamala.
      Penny

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  9. Penny, I loved the Guaranteed Overnight Delivery. And I saw an example of it just today. I had coached a client that the answer to her issue would be almost immediate and to watch for it. That was last night and this morning the answer was laid right in her lap. G.O.D.

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    1. Dina, that is such great news to hear about your client! I am so glad things worked out so quickly for her after your coaching her to be watchful. You are truly a blessing to people!
      Sending you lots of love,
      Penny

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  10. Really enjoyed this post Penny! I too have a "GOD" truck story. One day I was feeling down in the dumps and very alone, and very in need of some loving. I walked out of a store and there in front of me was a bumper sticker on the back of a car: I "heart" Dar! I knew that God placed that there for me, just when I needed it!

    Also loved the brick story - what an act of love from your father and a great means of connection with your students.

    Thanks for posting!

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    1. Darlene, what a wonderful moment in your life! The small things really are the big things in moments when we need them the most. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing this with me. I truly do love stories like this.
      Blessings,
      Penny
      :-)

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