“First the Enlightenment…”


I heard a great quote this week “first the enlightenment and then the laundry.” I think many of us love moments of insight, clarity, discovery, breakthrough and real connection. We want to stay in that place. We are like the disciples who watched Jesus be transfigured on the mountain. It was a glorious sight and they wanted to pitch their tents and stay there. For the non religious or those of different religions, I imagine you can come up with your own idea of a perfect moment that you wish would last forever.

However, most of life is ordinary, not transcendent. The idea for the book turns out to be much easier than writing it. The initial fog of falling head over heels in love is followed by the hard work of building a relationship built on more than hormones. A graduation party wouldn’t be possible without the preceding four years of hard work. An exquisite meal cooked by others is the exception not the rule. Mostly we have our regular home cooked dinners, perfectly fine but not extraordinary.

But as I wrote earlier reflecting on the ideas in “Radical Gratitude,” most of our life is lived with both feet on the ground. We can remember to be grateful for life, for love, for friends, for the natural world, for books, for music, and for art. Most of our life can be quietly celebrated because of its ordinariness. We count on tradition, routine, and the predictable to keep us grounded. And at the end of any day we can say “thanks.”

10 thoughts on ““First the Enlightenment…”

  1. Good illustrations of what happens in my life as well – I am one who often gets excited by what’s in my head and somewhat “eh” about where my feet are.
    This whole post is awesome but your last paragraph really hits home with me this morning. I have been practicing gratitude for some years and find it so comforting when I lose heart over whatever current issue is on my mind. I have so much good in my life.
    I need to go back and read your previous posts. I’ve been away.


  2. Thank you, Elizabeth. I’ve been think about how some of the “instant gratification” elements of technology and 21st century life play into the notion that constant excitement, stimulation, discovery, and “connection” are a type of norm; making the ordinary and mundane feel “wrong,” somehow.


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