“My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world.”
-Barbara Brown Taylor
Being Human is not an excuse for foolish actions and selfish motives, rather we think our humanity pushes us to pay attention to the overwhelming urges we have to be kind, to find connection with each other. Being human is not a curse, something to fix or escape from, rather we think it is an experience worth celebrating every day.
At its best life still feels slightly out of our control, unwieldy, like a river rushing over its banks. We desperately want to keep our footing, and corral the chaos as best we can, and yet even the strongest among us collapse. In the wise words of Glennon Doyle, “Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
In an attempt to honor the profound nuance of our collective human experience-we present to you our Friday series, Happy Being Human. A list of the ways we were surprised and enthralled by the adventure of being human. We share a few unexpected, yet ordinary moments from our week in hopes to encourage us all to keep showing up and facing our everyday lives like a curious traveler, open to whatever comes our way.
- A friend shared a picture of a rainbow over an ICU unit. Holding the pain, tragedy and suffering along with our hope and joy (as I used his photo for a visio divina) made me happy to be human. To embody our messy complexity with deep gratitude is humanity on steroids and I’m happy I get to be alive to participate in that.
- The story about Maurice Sendak in Brad Montague’s Instagram (a must read!)
- Taking my daughters skiing for their first time and watching them experience it all (including the falling and crying and getting back up to try again)
- Kneading fresh bread dough from this recipe.
- Seeing the early signs of spring pop up this week—budding flowers, hints of green on the trees, and so many birds!
- Slowly reading A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber. It is so fascinating.
- Getting to wake up each morning and run to my vegetable seedlings like a little kid on Christmas morning and squeal when I see which new sprouts had popped up that day. It’s my favorite ritual in March!
- We are starting Sketchbook Revival in our homeschool. Usually, I set up creative spaces for the girls and guide the process from the background. This time I thought, how about also taking part this time? When will “one day” ever be “today”? I decided to join in and after watching the first workshop, I am making my own sketchbook journal for our first two art workshops we are doing today. You can join along here!
- Yesterday we went for an early morning walk on Llandudno beach. The autumn mists (I live in South Africa) were building up not too far off, whisping cloud slowly moving towards the mountains and there was a pearly crisp feeling in the air. I love the smell of the ocean. We found a bunch of wriggly juvenile crayfish on the shoreline! Picking these wrigglers up, we threw them back into the sea one by one. Some others on the beach were doing the same and it made us feel a common sense of purpose. Yes, a golden retriever was munching some of the ones we threw into the waves, but to the ones who got away, it made a difference.
- And this quote got me this week, together with Charissa’s post on creativity everything came together and made sense. The only moment to create is now.
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
- My daughter penning letters to leprechauns and leaving them in her fairy garden the night before St. Patrick’s Day. She wrote, “Can we have three pieces of your gold?”
I snuck out in the morning, starting a new tradition, and left some tiny golden gems and a green frosted cake donut for her to find.
- I had a small yet satisfying moment of connection with the sweet lady who rang up my groceries. Her eyes lit up when I asked her about the tattoo on her forearm. She told me it was a Nordic compass, “a vegvisir” which translated means, “wayfinder” or “signpost” then around it were the words in Viking language, “All who wander are not lost.” She smiled beneath her mask when I told her I loved it, and replied, “Thank you for asking!”
Okay, now it’s your turn! Make your own list on Instagram using #happybeinghuman and tag us at @beinghumanmag. We will pick one random person on Monday morning and send you a copy of one of our favorite poetry books, Devotions by Mary Oliver. Can’t wait to read your lists!
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