What does July represent for you? What is this July like? The recovery traditions teach us to be especially mindful of the present, to live “one day at a time,” even “one moment at a time.”
Spiritual traditions, though, also are mindful of movements, of sweeping changes, cyclical patterns, and seismic or even epochal transitions. Certain days and moments mark new birth, a new chapter, or even a “new age.”
Most of us are familiar with various calendars, some of them very ancient. The old phrase, “dog days of summer,” originally referred to an astrological phenomenon, the summer movement of Sirius, referred to by ancient Greek writers as “the dog star.” Homer’s Iliad paints the battlefield with dog day imagery. “On summer nights, star of stars, Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat and fevers to suffering humanity.”
In Christian calendaring, a period stretches from 51 days after Easter all the way to the fifth Sunday before Christmas, called “ordinary time.” The phrase has a sense of time simply marching on, moment by moment, week by week, month by month.
So, for some of us, the present moment and period will indeed feel pretty ordinary. It may even be a time for vacation. For others, huge transitions are in play.
My gentle encouragement is to suggest, in either case, that we find the extraordinary and cherish it. The extraordinary gifts of middle passages where not much is going on and we can be grateful for breath and pause; the extraordinary gift that breath becomes also when the storms or tides are changing on us, and we are capable of getting caught up, distracted from ourselves.
Just being is extraordinary. It is one of my fundamental clinical and theological principles. You are amazing. No matter what you have done or not done. No matter what is or is not going on. That you are, in simple fact, is remarkable. Guard and share your precious recovery, one extraordinary moment at a time.