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The Tragedy of Normalcy

The Tragedy of Normalcy

We are a world of tragedy, but not just in the sense you may be thinking. When we Americans hear the word “tragedy”, we may think of September 11th and recall the sickeningly horrific images of fellow Americans being forced to jump out of their office windows to their death rather than be burned alive. Or perhaps you think of the always-shocking reality of the Holocaust (and if you’re knowledgeable about history or current events, then you may be asking, which one?). Or, if you are a parent, “tragedy” may mean school shootings.

But we’re creating our own daily tragedy.

Stop and think: When is the last time you heard someone complain? When is the last time you complained? This weather is crazy. My spouse works too much. My job is overwhelming. Being a stay-at-home mom is so boring. I have SO much to do. Situation X, Y, or Z is so unfair. My kids are annoying. This cold sucks. I hate all this housework. On and on and on we go, fighting reality, griping about, well, almost anything.

Now, think … really think: What do you suppose a fatality victim of 911 would give to be able to experience the weather, no matter how “crazy” it is? What would a homeless woman who has lost her “overwhelming” job give to have that job back? What would a parent of a child killed in the Newtown, Connecticut shootings give to be able to hug their “annoying” son or daughter again? What would a mother who is dying of breast cancer give to have the “boring” life of a stay-at-home mom? How much would a man who is dying of a bullet wound right now want a “sucky” cold instead?

We have become a culture of chronic complaining, of under-appreciating the thousands of gifts we are given every single day.

As I sit here at home on this cloudy October afternoon, I feel utter gratitude for the sense of sight that allows me to see the resplendency of a New England autumn; for the sound of my boisterous sons as they wrestle and bicker; for the aroma of a simple chili warming in the slow cooker all day; for my husband who spends his Saturdays working non-stop for the good of the family; for the access my son has to insulin for his diabetes; for my husband’s cold that is starting to dissipate and which urged me to finally purchase him health insurance. On and on the list of minuscule-to-massive miracles goes — for each of us, if only we would open our eyes to what is good rather than to what isn’t exactly as we want it.

The next time you are tempted to complain, stop and reconsider. Open your eyes the way a blind person would if he could. Appreciate what has been given to you the way a person who lives in poverty might. Drink in your Life the way a mass-tragedy victim would if he could. Ask yourself: What small gifts are in front of me every single day? How would a victim of a true tragedy view my life situation? If I were to die tonight, would I still complain in the same way?

The tragedy of normalcy is that for many people, the miracles that are right in front of them are so normal that they no longer notice them. Instead of falling victim to the tragedy of normalcy, decide instead to focus on the miracles that abound rather than on the imperfections that are inevitable. It will change your life for the better.

By Anitra Lahiri


Anitra Lahiri is an avid Yogi, Yoga Instructor, mother, and writer who strives (and often fails!) to infuse all aspects of her life with Yoga philosophy and practice. Her Yoga blog, Under the Lotus Tree, is for anyone who simply wants to live a healthier, more meaningful life. Read more from Anitra at her blog -

Begin your Awakening with the following classes at YogaDownload:

Bhakti Flow - Lauren Pech 

Warming Heart Flow - Jackie Casal Mahrou 

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