Romancing the Ordinary
. . . I began to reach toward an intimacy that I always sought in others. Now I’ve found it with the least likely person—myself. (370)
I would contend that “least likely” is not an appropriate word choice because the only place one can find the kind of love we typically seek is with the self. You hear it all of the time. The forlorn lover laments, “I just want to be loved the way I love.” Why can’t he love me the way I love him? Why doesn’t she love me the way I love her?
The answer is obvious: you are looking to the wrong person for that kind of love. Your beloved can love you the best way they can, which will never be the same as the way you love them. Perhaps, there will be some small expressions of love that are similar. He appreciates your ability to make him laugh as much as you enjoy laughing with him. She expresses her affection with touches and gestures that echo your own. But to expect anyone else to fulfill you is to live in endless disappointment.
Why can’t he/she love you the way you want? Because only you know your own heart fully and, if you are honest with yourself, half the time you aren’t even honest with yourself about what you want or need. So when Breathnach says she found intimacy in the “least likely person,” I find it both joyous and sad. Joyous that she found it finally in herself and sad that she didn’t realize this is where her search ought to have begun.
Women are the artists of the everyday. (August 29)
St. Francis of Assisi explains the creative process this way: the woman who works with her hands only is a laborer; the woman who works with her hands and her had is a craftswoman; the woman who works with her hands, her head, and her heart is an artist. (August 29)
One of those great quotes that isn’t attributed. Frustrating. No doubt the original text was more patriarchal in tone but I do love the progression from laborer to craftsperson to artist. It is no easy feat to make most of what we do something more than merely labor and I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that many of the spiritual teachings on practicing mindfulness or the presence of God are inviting us all to be artists in everything we do, from the mundane to the ecstatic. I also find myself appreciating just how significant motherhood truly is, for everything a mother does is infused with hands, head, and heart. To be a mother is to be an artist in every moment.
The price we pay for authenticity may seem high, but who among us can truly afford to continue to live as a spendthrift of the self. (September 8)