Ordinary Bliss

Français : Statue de Blaise Pascal sous la Tou...

Statue de Blaise Pascal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Ordinary is a pretty fine adventure indeed.” ~  Brigitte from Brigitte’s Banter  {“Just an Ordinary Day”}

Ordinary: normal, commonplace, usual, regular, everyday, conventional, average, familiar, routine, common, mundane.

Like most people, I like a bit of adventure, I love holidays (mostly), parties, celebrations, and things that are out of the ordinary. But when all is said and done, we go back to the ordinary. Ordinary relaxes us, and does not demand more than we can give.  Brigitte, in her assessment that “Ordinary is a pretty fine adventure indeed” has been through some rough patches lately that make her appreciate the ordinary, the day to day, the things she can count on.

When the extraordinary happen, generally we embrace it if it is good; get through it if it is bad. I find that the ordinary is returning to where I am supposed to be. It balances the ups and down of life. And when we are presented with the ordinary, we have the option of making it extraordinary.

Ordinary has some synonyms that make it seem like a dullard: drab, dreary, stale, boring and trite. I think this is selling the ordinary far short of its real potential to make our lives peaceful.

According to Blaise Pascal: “Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary; great minds with the ordinary.”

Do you agree with Pascal? Can “ordinary” be blissful?

Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm  Comments (46)  
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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with Pascal

  2. I do agree completely. I even like to go to the same vacation spot every year. I hate the anxiety and stress of adventure! Haha!
    What is familiar and ordinary allows me to stretch if I want to, but doesn’t force me. I don’t think as humans we were supposed to live in a constant state of WOW! It’s too much.

    • I agree– I find too much WOW overwhelming and if I have control of it, all the better. Familiarity does not breed contempt–it is comfortable and we all need that.

  3. Lou, thank you for mentioning me — that’s so nice. I do think ordinary can be so blissful and comforting. I was watching a program this morning and Brene Brown was being interviewed. She said that people who’d gone through the most horrible things, losing a child, genocide, just horrible stuff, they didn’t mention the vacations or some big, grandiose event. They missed the ordinary everyday stuff. The slam of the screen door when their husband came in from the backyard. The smell of biscuits cooking when a wife was making dinner. The dress that a little girl wanted to wear everyday — her favorite. The way someone laughed or a favorite expression that everyone heard from him/her and would roll their eyes.

    Those everyday, ordinary rituals that we have with our loved ones are the ones we treasure. That is really the best adventure of all. Happy Sunday and what a beautiful post to make my Sunday even better. Thank you. xo

    • it is the everyday stuff we treasure, isn’t it? Glad I made your Sunday better — your topic made mine! 🙂

  4. The comfort of ordinary IS extraordinary. All we need do is notice. Thanks for reminding us! xoxoM

    • noticing is the key, isn’t it?

      • Yes, noticing opens many doors. It’s kind of like a skeleton key! xoM

      • yes it is — one that can open many doors is so apropos

  5. Ordinary is what comforts me. The ordinary blanket, the ordinary day, the ordinary simple food….I too love the holidays because I get to have everyone I love together at the same time, but when they all leave I am happy to once again have the ordinary days back.

  6. I wish I had more of the context of the quote, but I will agree for two reasons: 1) Pascal had deep and accurate perceptions of human nature, and 2) Because the small mind’s concern with “the extraordinary” that he is critical of is probably due to the need of humans for “diversion.”

    He said: “I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.” Great minds seek to deal with their discontentedness with the ordinary, and can become content with the ordinary.

    Do you think we moderns with our “small minds” are “diverted”?

    • I am not sure that moderns do have small minds, but I can attest to the fact that sometimes it is hard to concentrate, and when it is hard to concentrate it is difficult to deal with things–I agree that one can be content with the ordinary if we see it for what it really is

      • I think that moderns do have small minds, which is of course probably seems a prideful thing to say (see #1 below). Of course on the face of it we moderns naturally think otherwise and if true it is an admittedly very ironic situation. I think that this was observation was “diagnosed” and discussed by G.K. Chesterton in his 1908 book “Orthodoxy” which is in the public domain – free online and by kindle, etc.

        Chapter 3 is called “The Suicide of Thought” in which he gives the reasons that modern barely “think” in the greatest sense at all. He believed that contributing factors to this demise were: 1) a mistaken view of the virtue of “modesty” in relation to truth; 2) a prevalent philosophical skepticism regarding knowledge; 3) a false theory of progress; 4) an embracing of “change” as an ideal; 5) and the dominance of a “pragmatism” that does not value objective truth.
        Chesterton observed that we thought these things were the way forward but he thought:

        “What we are looking at is not the boyhood of free thought; it is the old age and ultimate dissolution of free thought.”

        Here is a link to chaper 3, “The Suicide of Thought” if anyone wants to read read his whole argument: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/chesterton/orthodoxy.vi.html
        I hope this is helpful to someone, perhaps someone that is trying to escape from the straightjacket of “free thought.”

        Some may ask “how did ordinary life get so complicated?” – Or “is it that complicated?” But maybe that complication is just another reason we don’t think about it! But, ordinarily, the ordinary things are the most sublime and thought worthy.

        Many thanks to “On the Homefront” for providing this forum.

      • And many thanks to you for providing info to broaden our horizons — love your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments – I will most assuredly follow your links as I am a seeker of knowledge

  7. By the way, nice post and I agree! (I forgot to mention that)

    • why thank you!

      • Another belated comment: Thanks so much for posting a link to my blog in your post! I appreciate it.
        Best regards!
        Bryan @ manifestpropensity

      • glad to have found you!

  8. Ordinary is definitely bliss. Sometimes you need ordinary to simply take a breather in-between the rest of what goes on in life.

  9. Full agreement my friend – the feeling of coming home or back to the norm is lovely 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  10. ordinary is glorious in my world. That Brigitte is spot on as always! You ladies keep me thinking 😉

  11. Oh definitely ordinary can be very blissful.. My life is far from adventurous or glamorous but there are many moments of bliss.. yes, I absolutely say, yes!!

  12. I don’t do well with change, so ordinary, normal, patterns, and routine are all blissful for me. A little excitement and out of the ordinary is ok once in a while, but not all the time.

    • I agree- I need to go back and find a peaceful place so I can get things done

  13. Definitely agree… ordinary can be good …Let the busy times come when they do but if we have ‘ordinary’ to fall back on it’s good…Diane

    • ordinary is something we can count on–something to balance out the busy times

  14. I absolutely agree that ordinary can be extraordinary if we choose to make it so. And the point about it balancing out the ups and downs of life? A very smart point indeed. As I said on Brigitte’s post, I think it really has to do more with perspective than with what’s actually happening (or not happening).

  15. Another lovely thought-provoking post… yes I think Pascal got it right…

  16. How would we recognize extraordinary if we didn’t have ordinary? 😉

  17. The ordinary is extraordinary. All of life is glorious and beautiful when not tortured by the hand of man

  18. I think it’s a great personal philosophy. There are a lot more ordinary days than extraordinary ones (and that’s a good thing). If you’re always chasing the exotic and superlative, then you’re always going to be chasing.

    I think there’s a delight in finding the good in everyday events.

  19. Finding joy in ordinary things means finding bliss in the extraordinary. Oooooh I am getting profound! But I did enjoy this post as I do all your others.

  20. I’m pretty ordinary – but I can live with it.
    David
    PS Thanks for the ‘Like’ for today’s effort on http://ja2da.com


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