Celebrity is everywhere, fertilized by 24-hour “news” and entertainment channels. Often the famous are famous simply because they are famous, no talent or accomplishment necessary. The sad and tragic example of Anna Nicole Smith leaps to mind. Even earned fame is a fickle lover ready to burn us in the blink of an eye. Fame makes us a target, attracting inauthentic love and undeserved hatred. Worst of all, it interferes with our need to live by the basic truth that we are ordinary humans struggling for purpose, meaning, and love in the ponderous way humans struggle.
I believe that the secret of happiness and fulfillment lies in living whole- heartedly in the small and the ordinary, passionately embracing, holding nothing back from the “stuff” of life, such as the warmth of a human body.
When I’ve been truly miserable in life, I’ve worried about not being successful or smart enough, not having enough money or being good-looking enough, about running out of time, worrying about what if I’d done this or that, or what life would be like married to another person. In this misery, time gets distorted and seems to both creep boringly along and yet fly by in the sense of “life is tough, then you die.” Time slows down and seems abundant when I accept my lot in life and breathe into the moment. The Beatles illustrated this brilliantly in their movie “Yellow Submarine” when they made 64 seconds seem like a beautiful eternity by illustrating the numbers whimsically.
I love to hike, especially in the winter when I can see the structure of the trees and the forest floor with its constant reminders of the cycle of life. I’m especially fond of rotting stumps and the natural gardens that grow in the decaying centers. Those delicate little ecosystems with their ferns and moss and wild flowers help keep me humble and remind me to live small and value the ordinary.