This exercise is simply about noting how often we feel special, different, or somehow set apart from those around us. It is an exercise that you can practice frequently as you go through your normal daily activities.

Several times a day, wherever you are, take a moment to examine your relationship to the people around you. Whether you are driving down the road, sitting in a meeting, in line at the supermarket, or with a group of friends, notice how you see yourself in relation to everyone else. Do you feel special, somehow different from everyone else? In what way? Do you feel more intelligent, more complex, harder to understand? Are you more introspective, more sensitive, somehow deeper than everyone else in line at the bank? Perhaps you feel more wounded, more insightful, or maybe you just feel you have more (or less) potential than everyone else.

Notice how often, and in which particular ways, you feel qualitatively set apart from your fellow humans. What feelings arise as you notice your 'specialness'? How does it feel in your body? What are you impulses? Does it make you want to hide or go away, or does it make you want intimacy, or to somehow make contact?

Once you have examined the sensation of being 'special,' take a moment to imagine the possibility that you may, in fact, be quite ordinary; that you are, in fact, nobody special. Imagine saying to the person next to you, 'I am just like you. We are exactly the same. There is nothing special about me that sets me apart from you. I am as ordinary as they come.'

How easy (or difficult) is this to say? Where do you get caught? Ask yourself this question: What would I have to give up in order to be ordinary, to be just like everyone else? Which unique or sacred gift, which special wound or talent do I use to prevent myself from truthfully admitting that I am not really special at all?

Watch yourself experiment with feeling ordinary. Notice the resistance, the discomfort, the fear, or uncertainty that arises. As you imagine being ordinary, nobody special, what possibilities arise? If you were in fact nobody special, what would you do today? If you were released from the burden and responsibility of being exceptionally unique, and could simply be an ordinary human being, how would you feel free to act? What normal, unexceptional activities would you enjoy today?

Allow yourself to play with the freedom that comes from being ordinary and nobody special. The pressure is off. You can relax. Nothing special is expected of you. Nobody is watching. Why should they? You are just an ordinary child of the earth. Perfectly unexceptional, perfect just as you are.

Wayne Muller in Legacy of the Heart