Good day, team,
This week’s challenge is about beauty: beauty in what we see, beauty in what we do, how we perceive beauty and the effect it has upon us.
I was thinking about this subject today because it was an incredibly beautiful day. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and days of brilliant blue sky and bright sunshine are few and far between from November to June. It’s a long, painful stretch of grey days, often with continuous rain or at least consistently cloudy skies. We do our best to combat the depression that can often come from day after day of rain, but there’s no doubt, it takes a toll on most of us. Even the most avid rain lovers start to complain when even at the end of May, it’s only 45 degrees and still raining.
Today it was 54 degrees and completely clear. I marveled at how blue the sky was, how bright the reflection of the sun on the water, the added lift the warmth gave to every person I saw who was walking around without a jacket or coat, secretly smiling to themselves, thinking that maybe spring was not so far away. All of this right smack dab in the middle of January. Miracles never cease.
Before that day, I had been a bit depressed by recent events: the death and destruction in Haiti, the recent Supreme Court ruling about corporate funding for political campaigns, mud slides in California, the health care bill seeming farther away than ever from passage, the occasional grief that still surfaces in me about my father’s death. I began to feel that the few forward steps we were all able to take last year had gotten reversed and we had been losing ground since Jan. 1.
Today was the complete opposite of that drudgery and depression because the sheer beauty of it lifted me far beyond the doldrums I has been experiencing. This is the true miracle of beauty: It fills us up to new heights, it inspires us, it makes us grateful in a moment for the pleasure we are experiencing.
Years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with a boyfriend of mine. There just happened to be many beautiful women in the restaurant that evening, and it was almost impossible not to gaze at their faces, their bodies, the way they moved, what they were wearing. Whether you were male or female, you could not ignore the beautiful sights in the room. At one point, I became a little embarrassed that I was staring at a woman whose beautiful face was truly amazing to see. I said to my boyfriend, “Well, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” He gave me an appreciative smile and said, “No kidding!”
At that moment, a fairly homely woman came into the restaurant. I felt a little sorry for her. She was the ugly ducking amidst the beautiful swans. My boyfriend looked at her and said, “Isn’t it amazing? I’ve never looked at a woman who I couldn’t find in some way beautiful. Look at that woman’s nose: It’s perfectly shaped.” I couldn’t believe his comment. In all that beauty, he was commenting on the homeliest woman in the room. But when I looked at her more closely, I saw that she did have an incredibly beautiful nose.
This week, try noticing the beauty around you. Maybe it’s the curve of someone’s arm or the way a person’s eyes light up when smiling. Perhaps you see the beauty in the face of your spouse as he or she asks you how your day went, or your child’s particular way of showing you love. Try looking out the window more than a few times this week. Even in winter there is beauty: the shape of tree limbs without leaves, the way water reflects many different shades of grey or blue, how fire and heat glow in the fireplace. Perhaps you’ll notice the steam that rises from a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea and the beautiful patterns it makes as it curls up into the air.
If you haven’t done so in awhile, go to a place that showcases beauty, like an art museum or a park. Find your way to a place that fills you up with its beauty and be thankful for it. Sometimes to lift my spirits I walk into a florist shop and breathe in the lovely scents and gaze at the pretty arrangements.
Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Try noticing the beauty around you this week. I guarantee you, it will change your state and your attitude for the better.
Have a good week.
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