"I'm at my best in a messy middle-of-the-road muddle," said Harold Wilson, 2x Prime Minister of England. In this introductory episode, Grace talks about all things messy, muddled, and mystic.
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Grace: Breathe in, breathe out.
Ah, **** that ****.
Okay. I tried. But heads up: this podcast does contain potty mouth. Keep that in mind as you listen on the public toilet.
"I'm at my best in a messy middle-of-the-road muddle," said Harold Wilson, two times Prime Minister of England. In this introduction episode, we're going to talk about all things messy, muddled, and mystic.
Hey, y'all I'm Grace, and this is mediocre mystic, the podcast where we explore how mediocre makes the world go round and how mediocre works in mysterious ways. Thanks so much for tuning in with your forks and ears.
In our current American English, "mediocre" is defined simply as "of moderate quality." Synonyms are "ordinary, common, average." A quick Google search will tell you that. Our current interpretation, when we hear it on a school report or a job review will tell you that. However, its 16th Century Latin root is a little different.
It means "the middle of a rugged mountainous range." So a few years back, my wife and I decided to take the hike of Sabino Canyon up to Seven Falls in Tucson, Arizona. We got about halfway up and there was a confusing bend on the trail. We took the wrong one. So we were up a very steep, rocky cacti field cliff.
We got to a point where we had to decide to risk sliding down into a large ravine filled with questionable plants and long green grass--the only fucking long green grass in the southern half of Arizona of course would be here and now--not knowing what lie beneath and hoping we wouldn't break our necks or find a rattlesnake there ready to plunge its venomous teeth into our legs.
We were literally saying "I love you," in a manner that meant, "I sure as shit hope we make it out of this one." So once we reached the bottom, after we gathered ourselves and realized what we had just done somehow unharmed, we found a number of cooling ponds formed by the snow melting and running down. We dipped into those, and then we decided, though they were beautiful, we had made it this far, so let's forge ahead to Seven Falls. We did indeed reach Seven Falls. So you may be wondering how in the hell is this the middle of the rugged mountain? You made it all the way up the pass. Well, my friends, once you get to these beautiful chilly falls and the two large pools they run into you look up and the mountain pass goes on for what seems like infinity.
You see, we weren't at the mountain top. We were in the oasis, which was our destination. That mediocre middle of the rugged mountain range was hard fought and hard won that day. We then made it back to the trail head, of course within only two minutes of missing the shuttle to get us back to our vehicle so we could reach home. We were tired, beaten up a bit, but ultimately so proud and satisfied we had achieved this mediocre feat. We then ate a very heroic ton of pizza and beer. And I would call that a communion of sorts. It was a messy muddled hike in that somehow I managed to find myself at my best. I often think somehow it's just another word for mystically.
Mystically I managed to find myself at my best. In my fear, I found the mystic exposed itself to me. Often it's said, "Fear not" in religious circles. Often in political circles, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself." For me in that moment, fear made me one with my maker. It made me reflect over my life in that flashing movie people often speak of, and it was indeed a mystical moment full of all those middle of the road, messy, muddled memories filled with pain and healing, regret and love, sorrow and happiness. Ultimately in the midst of this heart pumping adrenaline filled moment, I was filled with a mystical peace. We simply set out to take a mediocre hike and ended up solving that day's mystery of getting lost and finding our way out.
Like most folks, I don't often find time for a retreat. And when I do, it's amazing. But day to day, how do we find the mystical and the mundane of life? We can't all be engineers who figure out how to make t-shirts from plastic bottles, but we can all recycle our plastic bottles. We can purchase those recycled goods to make consumerism more conscientious.
And what would we do without the sanitation workers who make that happen on a large scale in recycling centers? That act makes the world change as we join in one by one. Hey, that's mediocrity, folks. I'm on a bit of a mission to try to take away the stigma of that word and embrace the truth that mediocre is what makes the world go round.
So how do we tap into the mystical in the midst of our monotony while your kid or your boss is screaming, your laundry and your dishes are piling up, you're so tired and striving to make ends meet? In the midst of everyday life, how do those of us with a longing of soul but not so much the luxury of environment find the divine daily? Hell, what even is the divine?
In the simplest form, "mystic" can be defined as "becoming one with god," however you define that. Some synonyms are "the absolute" or "consciousness." Let's do what we did with "mediocre" and consider the Latin root from the 17th Century. It means to initiate or to close the eyes or lips. I love this. We can do that on the john, y'all! We can initiate a connection, opening our hearts to speak.
As we close our eyes, we can initiate a connection, viewing nature out of the window and closing our lips to open our ears and listen. And there are countless other ways. 15th Century monk Brother Lawrence called this "practicing the presence of God." He often did this while he was washing dishes for his fellow monks.
There are so many ways to practice the presence of whatever you connect to as god, or perhaps simply on your own, because you don't connect to an idea of god, maybe by yourself, just with the world around you. Often, one thing that works in one season doesn't work in another season. Just as most plants flourish in a certain season and lay fallow and others.
So we're going to unashamedly cherry pick as many practices as we can with some amazing guests and find out what works best for you and me.
Thanks to '86 Aerostar for my groovy music and thanks to Bizri Design Group for my mesmerizing logo. If you want to read my cards or better yet, tell me your story, please email me at email@example.com. Or you can check out my blog and interpret my dreams or leave a comment at mediocremysticpod.blog.
Until next time, go call your mama and ask her what time you were born. It's time to do that chart folks, because next month, we're cherry picking astrology. Which stars work for you? Or are you staring into a black hole? Hey, that's not so bad. I hear it's a decent cocktail. Till then, take care!