In Praise of a little Extraordinary
Each year on the June 21 Solstice I wake up before dawn, wash my face, brush my teeth, put on my hiking shoes and (along with the rest of our group), take the winding road to Machu Picchu where we do a sunrise ceremony that is amazing and incredible. As Jorge Luis Delgado (our shaman and guide) says, it is “extraordinary”.
Jorge loves the word “extraordinary”. He is one of the most amazing teachers I know and he speaks English very well, and also speaks Spanish and Quecha (the indigenous language of his home, Lake Titicaca), and he loves talking about this English word. He loves talking about what a paradox this word is. “Ordinary” means “usual, normal, standard, regular, routine”. So technically, you would think that “extra-ordinary” should mean being a little extra ordinary. Just a little more usual, typical or normal. But that’s not what it means at all. Extraordinary means “remarkable, astounding, astonishing, amazing, unbelievable, phenomenal”. So isn’t it remarkable and astounding what happens when you put these two very common words together?
In the same way, I wake up each June 21 and do the usual stuff — wash my face, brush my teeth, eat some eggs, drink some tea — then I’m suddenly transported to this mystical place, connecting with the energy of All That Is in ways that have truly transformed my life (and sometimes have been almost unbelievable). And we can have things like that all the time. We just have to add a little extra into the ordinary, do something to raise ourselves out of the humdrum, out of the habitual, out of the normal. As I have heard Jorge say many times, “it just takes a little extra for our lives to be extraordinary”.
Debra & Jorge Luis at Machu Picchu, Solstice, 2014
And he’s so right. It doesn’t take much. I think it begins quite simply with the desire and conscious awareness to come out of the ordinary, the habitual. Are there parts of your life that you’re living on auto-pilot? Where you’re living your life by default? What is some extra thing you could do to raise your life out of the ordinary and the usual?
Anything we do that brings us into deeper connection with that Highest part of ourselves has the power to bring us automatically into the extraordinary. Meditating, praying, looking at the beautiful blue sky, petting our dog, appreciating how beautiful life can be, are all things that can bring us into that feeling of the extraordinary in an instant. Use that. Cultivate it. Once you have the feeling of the extraordinary, you will want more of it.