Many years ago, I came across this beautiful hardcover book called Romancing the Ordinary. The title piqued my curiosity and true to its promise, it has bestowed upon me a revelation that was life-transforming.
The author, Sarah Ban Breathnach, was at a restaurant when the ceiling tile fell on her head. She was left bedridden and partially disabled for more than a year and a half. During this time, all her senses were disoriented and basic sensory reflexes proved to be a challenge. She was sensitive to everything sensory from light to colorful patterns on her quilt and even to the scent of her baby daughter’s shampoo. She couldn’t continue her work as a journalist and radio broadcaster; which left her with a void and a lack of belonging to the once prestigious community of opinion-leaders. However, as the months passed by, Sarah slowly started regaining her senses and every sensory restoration made her feel grateful for their miraculous presence. Every single experience heightened her appreciation and soon, she started viewing the world through an awe-inspired child. June’s journal entry says “Linger in the twilight of a summer’s day, dance with the fireflies, wink at the full moon. Believe in Midsummer magic. Bottle a rescue remedy of rose-scented sighs, smudge Chantilly lace on your pretty face. Moments you once called ordinary now seem infused with grace”. Rather than looking outside her sphere, she tapped into her own spiritual reservoir to rediscover the abundant spiritual blessings in life’s simple pleasures.
Her thoughts jumped off the pages of the book and unraveled the tight knots of guilt and apprehension that imprisoned my heart. It was as if I had been reawakened with a glorious revelation that gave a new meaning to my life. The once mundane affairs transformed into rapturous experiences. Reading Sarah’s journal has taught me to let my eyes see beauty in my surroundings. My once inexplicable cravings for more had been curbed and I started focusing my energy on what was already within my grasp. Everyday affairs were now painted with brushstrokes of romance and spirituality. I was back to being a child who was discovering everything for the first time. Life was beautiful again.
I planned spiritual outings where my soul could soar with euphoria. I allowed myself to enjoy the bliss of life. Baking velvety desserts and devouring them with sips of aromatic rose tea in our garden became a ritual in the afternoons. I bought a tantalizing collection of intense perfumes by Annick Goutal and was transported to a blossoming Damascus rose garden or a sun-kissed Provencal garden surrounded by narcissuses, jasmines, and lemons. Everyday vistas became beautiful canvases of masterpieces. I became a regular at art galleries and spent hours fantasizing about all the Earth’s bountiful landscapes, flora, and its midnight blue skies that were studded with diamanté stars. I voraciously devoured lifestyle magazines and sought to bring some of that splendor home, whether they were ravishing bouquets or simple decorating tips. Books of all kinds were invited to nourish my soul. I’d close my eyes and see another imaginary universe living within me; dainty fairies dancing in an enchanted forest murmuring for me to join their eternal dance. Tucked under a thick throw on a frosty winter’s night with an inspiring book and some hot chocolate was divine. And there’s nothing sweeter than the peaceful tunes of drizzling rain when you’re crying. It’s as if the Heavens weep with you too…
Sarah Ban Breathnach has peppered her journal with awe-inspiring quotes from numerous thinkers. One of them was the great environmentalist, Rachel Carson, who once said that if she were to gift children, she would give them “a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years” and the inevitable “alienation from the sources of our strength”.
Sarah also observes: “All I ask you to do today is to open “the eyes of your eyes” and give your life another glance”.
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes, they are small but they see enormous things.