I read a short story recently where the main character has a terrible accident and the next morning, wakes up and the woman he loves is cooking him breakfast as her kid is running around the kitchen. He sits and sips his coffee, watches the scene unfold and she fries up eggs over the stove, the oil sizzling. Then you read the line, “the ordinary can be like medicine.”
In catholicism, there exists this concept of “Ordinary Time.”
It’s the space between the holy days, a time of year where you’re neither feasting nor fasting. In Ordinary Time, there are no great events or celebrations, nothing to mark the passing of the days except the sun rising and setting. It’s the time between.
Right now, I’m relishing every second of Ordinary Time I can get.
My daughter was born two months ago. She had a rough start —the kind of start I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She wasn’t breathing, couldn’t on her own. We didn’t hear her cry for days. We spent her first week waiting to hear news, results— Sunken faced, nightmares running through our heads, I struggled to even hear the word "congratulations." Having not prepared whatsoever for this new reality, it was the darkest night our souls had known.
We felt some peace picturing her dreaming of sitting with each member of our community in their tears and prayers, flying around the world being held by every one of them. Keeping our daughter in their prayers were Christians across the States, Jews said her name to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Muslims, Buddhists in Thailand, Yogis, scientists, energy workers, and the best damn medical team the world has ever seen. It felt like the whole world was right there with us and the entire universe came to our aide.
100 years ago, doc said, I would’ve probably lost both my ladies.
I’ve never cried reading a Wikipedia page until I read the page for neuroplasticity. God literally programmed miracles into our brains. Somewhere around 24 hours into life, our daughter held my finger with an iron grip, seeming to tell me “Dad, I got this.”
Two months in and the storm has cleared. Every prayer was seemingly answered. We now exist in the Ordinary Time of new parenthood. We have the same sleepless nights , moonlit diaper blowouts, her refusal to sleep anywhere but in our arms, her quiet gaze out the window as we watch yet another sunrise together, our faithful pup sitting by her side. I remind myself to look up— The cup of coffee that is spilled on the couch, my wife fussing with her hair in the bathroom as I bounce the baby, telling her stories about the family she was born into.
There’s a half eaten apple on the counter. This is the now that all the yogis and monks say we’re supposed to seek and I can’t get enough of it.
Because sooner than I know, my daughter will all grown up, something will break and be repaired, a friend will leave town, the tree will shed its leaves, and you’ll finally finish that book on the shelf. This is the Ordinary Time that instagram doesn’t tell you about. Since our daughter has come home from the NICU, her best medicine has been Ordinary Time, this constantly refreshing now we all get to be a part of.
Life happens in the space between, in those moments we usually reach for our phones, the constant click and scroll chores our brains somehow need to check off. But what if instead we just existed in the brilliant ordinary medicine of now?
It looks like our daughter will (thank friggin’ goodness) be totally fine, but I found myself thumbing through some of my favorite books of poems which provided me some much needed nuggets of wisdom. Here’s one from Marie Howe on her brother’s early passing of AIDS:
by Marie Howe
I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.
After 15 years of teaching yoga, I’m more dedicated than ever to infusing the depth and soul of the practice into my daily life. Yoga has become a way for me to seek and sustain gentleness in thought and movement.
You’ll rarely stop flowing in my classes. My sequences are seamless and constructed to make somatic sense to your body. Seriously, just come, wherever you are in your practice, it’s gonna feel good.
Outside of the yoga world, my wife and I travel a helluva lot taking photos, cooing at our newborn daughter, and running retreats all over the globe that explore the wisdom traditions (and food and design and booze) of each country we visit. Check us out at @sullivanandsullivanstudios & @moveablefeastretreats
Book a class with Tim click here!