How well do you live life's ordinary moments?
I started thinking about the answer to this question after hearing a message from Rob Morris, President and Co-Founder of Love146, an organization that works to end child trafficking and exploitation. Listening to this message grounded me personally and professionally as it reminded me about my own mission in my practice and life. Rob described the day-to-day tasks and events that serve as the motor of Love146. Paperwork, traveling, meetings, long days, and work. Meeting a goal, rescuing a child, helping a family, and opening a new shelter are the highlights. But life is not a highlights reel.
Society has normalized experiencing life as a series of ups and downs through our media. Would you be interested in watching a movie mainly about people going to work, sitting at their desk, sipping coffee, doing work all day, having a few conversations, driving home, saying hello to their families, eating dinner, and sitting and reading a book? Most likely not. We want to see an exciting commute to work with lots of dramatic or comedic conversation, an argument with a co-worker, a promotion or party at work, and coming home to a surprise birthday party. Which would you prefer? What picture does your life look like more?
It is very easy as a psychologist to get swept up in meeting goals and receiving achievements. Celebration is important. Enjoy the good highlights when they happen. A large part of our work however, is being with our clients as they experience the day-to-day activities of life. I was reminded of my passion and mission in my practice as I listened and reflected on Rob's message. I love helping people to accept our current experiences, make meaning out of the day-to-day and seemingly mundane tasks, and to be mindful every moment.
The highlights will come. In the meantime, let's celebrate the day-to-day together. Let's savor the piece of chicken you have for dinner, really listen to your children as they speak with you, pay attention to the color of the walls in your home, laugh when you make a mistake, apologize when you've hurt someone, enjoy your commute to work, and give your significant other a mindful hug.
So, I ask again-how well do you live life's ordinary moments?