You Are Already Remarkable

Photo: Greyson Joralemon

How do you define remarkable? What does this work evoke for you?

I have felt a near-constant pressure throughout my life to be remarkable and/or to do remarkable things.

Remarkable has meant: Special, stands out, makes something out of itself (myself), impressive, the kind of thing that would garner an announcement or win an award, big, impactful, (in)genius.

Remarkable has also meant: Self-evaluation, but not in a self-reflective way. More like in a self-measuring and measuring up or against kind of way.

In other words, this kind of remarkable will always fall short except on the occasions when something big *is* happening, which is not most of the time.

Most of the time, we’re not skipping from height to height.

We’re walking on a path in the deep woods, and there are no cameras or reporters. We’re getting bitten by insects, finding clean water, and curling up at night to sleep. We’re discerning which flowers are safe to eat and who we’d like to share our time with. But we are not being or doing anything particularly remarkable — at least as defined above.

But what if that is the remarkable part?

What if the remarkable thing is getting up every morning, brushing your teeth (flossing, too, if you’re extra remarkable), and making breakfast for your kid. Letting the dogs out to pee. Drinking your coffee or tea.

What if the remarkable thing is that you made it this far? That you’re still here at all, with so many memories beneath the scars no one sees.

What if the remarkable thing isn’t only how brightly you shine, but the fact that you can turn and see the shadow?

What if you redefine remarkable, never to disappoint yourself again?

The other day, Mani read me a few pages from a book she’s enjoying. The writing described, in such accessible language, the many workings of our human bodies, from individual cells to entire systems.

Listening to it was breathtaking. We were both left feeling, well, remarkable. When you take a few moments to truly tune into the magnitude of things your body is doing at any given time, it’s difficult not to.

At the same time, many of these are not conscious choices. Anyone with any kind of illness or disability is especially aware of this, as when something doesn’t function in the same way it once did — or does for many others — you develop a heightened awareness of what can be taken for granted.

We are already remarkable. Our mere existence is a mind-blowing miracle. How will we care for and support our innate remarkability?

This, to me, presents a very different kind of doorway than a habitual pressure to do remarkable things. When I begin from a place of already enough, already worthy of celebrating, I can turn my awareness to what will help me bring myself to the world in a way that reflects my values, my heart.

And that makes all the difference. It takes the judgment out of it, the comparing, the proving and striving, and brings it into the realm of connecting, truth, beauty, kindness, and justice.

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