By Mary Boutieller
Is “normal” really all its cracked up to be?
When I asked my darling husband where to begin to write this article, he said to “begin at the beginning.” So I sit here staring at the blank “paper” on the screen and wonder how to make sense of all that is going on and how the future might look as we continue on this unforeseen journey.
The unrest we feel inside ourselves and the whole world’s unrest aren’t very different from one another. My current and individually inspired unrest is fed in part by the unrest and uncertainty of so many, but it is also self-induced. Whether it has to do with the coronavirus, the racial tensions and traumas we are witnessing and acknowledging, food and housing scarcity, or emotional/physical distancing from loved ones, it affects many of us to some degree.
Keri Mangis, in her article “Normal is Calling Us. We Must Resist,” said: “You hear it too, right? The sweet, sweet sound of normal calling us? Or, if you don’t hear it, can you feel it? The pull to shore up the societal guardrails, hide the mess, and pretend we’re done with the work we needed to do? Brush the dust from our hands and return to our previously scheduled programming? We’re tired, after all, and normal promises us respite.”
This feels so true for me and, yes, sometimes I am tired, too. I’m tired of the many minor alterations to my otherwise privileged life; I’m tired of the discomfort, the choices, the lack of knowing, the loss of control and the uncertainty of what’s next. I crave some normalcy. I want my silent temper tantrum to be heard by the Universe, and I want it all fixed so that I can go back to doing what I’ve been doing for a very long time.
Or do I?
Roger Housden, in his book, Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living, said:
“But we are in love with the notion of conscious will. We don’t like the idea that things can happen—and especially the course of our own life—without our being there to steer the ship. Without our habitual idea of ourselves running the show, surely our lives would fall apart? Well, perhaps. And perhaps not.”
At no other point in my life can I remember having this much time to explore, contemplate, question, and face the truths and untruths in my world. At no other time have I made so many conscious decisions about whom and what is truly important or looked at the dreams and ideas I’d deferred or forgotten. At no other time have I allowed myself, with all my blemishes and imperfections, to take a deep down look at who I am at this very moment.
Now, it hasn’t been easy or consistent, if I’m being honest. I am not a saint and I’m uncomfortable with change! Sometimes my heart goes back into hiding and I want normal again. Some days I’m crankier than an old jalopy (now there’s a word you don’t hear very often)! But if we can’t find the time now to open our eyes to our own souls, to question what is true for us, to let down the guard of sameness and history and decide if any of it is still relevant, then I’m not sure what we are doing here. As I walked in the park the other day, feeling that nattering nabob of negativity creeping in, I paused to look at the trees, took a deep breath, and thought—this is life. This IS my life, and the one thing I do have control over are the choices I make every single day to be real, to look within when something doesn’t sit right, and to be my best self, even when I am tired. We don’t always know what we don’t know, but that gut feeling inside that makes us pause gives us valuable information.
All this to say that now might be the time to explore and reflect on our own individual journeys through life up to this point. Maybe it’s time to look a little closer at how we think and act and are in the world. Maybe It’s time to try something new, to follow a dream, to make the acquaintance of something or someone you’ve never met before. We are only given so many days, so many heartbeats, this time around. What are we waiting for? And is “normal” really all its cracked up to be?
In answering that question, Mangis says, “Now is not the time to return to normal. Now is the time to double down on our efforts for change—both those that move outward in the form of letter writing, protesting, or donating, but equally in inward forms of reflection, curiosity, imagination, and meditation. We can’t just do our way to a new world. We must be a new way. Listen closely. Hear it? Underneath the monotonous sound of normal calling, there is another sound. That is the sound of creation.”
Let’s take this time to create something in our lives, in our thoughts, in our hearts that makes room for a new normal. Defer no more. I’m not sure when we will ever have this much time again.
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.