Finding the Extra In Your Ordinary

Find Some Extra In Your Ordinary

"Rocks- Roda de Ter," by Peaches & Cream

 

What does it mean to find the extraordinary within the ordinary?

One of my favorite quotes is by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (author of The Little Prince, among others), where he says: “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

Are you someone who sees rock piles, or do you see cathedrals?

To find the extraordinary within the ordinary, you have to see it. And to see it, you have to look for it. And to look for it, you have to have your eyes open. You have to be open.  You have to believe that within every rock pile there is a cathedral. Or, at least, the possibility of one.

Or, put this way, as Hamlet said “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Let’s back up.

Think about your life, and the things contained within it. Let you mind roam across the landscape of your days… the people, the tasks, the places, the hopes and dreams, the fears.

How often do you sit in wonder at what’s extraordinary in all of it?

I believe that everything can start to look like a simple pile of rocks, if we’re not careful. And the trick there is that rocks are not bad, necessarily.  A life filled with piles of rocks can be quite nice. Perfectly comfortable. Just fine.  It’s just…

DON’T GET LOST IN A LIFE FILLED WITH FINE.

How many cathedrals might you be missing out on if you just settle on the fine rocks and leave it at that?

So, look again.

It’s up to you to put some extra in the ordinary of your every day. 

Where to start? Well… where are the places where you currently only see rocks? What are the rocks?

Here’s something I’ve come to realize. Actually two things. First, this is not something you figure out and then never look back—this is something that needs reminding. A lot of reminding. And second, cathedrals aren’t just big things. Extraordinary can happen in a breath; in a look.

For example, just last week I was cooking dinner and my five-year-old son Dylan was acting out in a steady and increasing stream of what we’ll call…  unproductive behaviors and challenged listening. And I was cooking dinner and I was tossing an equally steady and increasing stream of “nos” and “don’ts” and “Dylan!!’s” at him, until he finally just said “STOP IT, Mommy. You are being SO rude to me!” And I looked over, and saw his face flushed and frustrated and his eyes brimming with tears.

And in that moment I did stop. And I put one of his favorite songs on, scooped him up, and started dancing around the kitchen. And he quickly melted into my arms and buried his face into my shoulder like a baby. And when he looked at me again, it was with such love and connection. And it hit me like a jolt of electricity. He had needed me to see the cathedral within him, and all I was doing was treating him like a pile of rocks.  

Extraordinary can happen in a breath.  In a look.  

You just have to actively and intentionally look for it.  

How can you find the extra in your ordinary today?

 

Wings & Whimsy Challenge: Ignite

Challenge: Wake up tomorrow with the intention of finding,
or creating, cathedrals. At the end of the day, reflect on what
happened for you. Tell me about it in the comments below, or
tweet it to me @ErikaPetrelli1

Erika-Brand

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“Finding the Extra in Your Ordinary”, The Leadership Program, 2017

 

Erika Petrelli

About Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.