30 Jul Becoming Present With Beauty
Beauty abounds; but we often fail to take notice, even if we’re growing skillful at “Present Living” by more fully engaging with people, activities, and our own intentions (see previous posts).
“Present Living” is a mindful state that includes noticing and appreciating our surroundings. Our surroundings, wherever we happen to be, include beauty that appears before us in obvious as well as discreet forms of expression.
I cherish those moments when I’m “blown away” by striking beauty. One of the most memorable occurred in June 2015, when I drove by myself down at least half of the Oregon coast. The stunning combination of Pacific Ocean, cliffs, sand, and trees compelled me to pull over every 15 minutes or so to take pictures…and to just stand there, marveling at the wonders of creation while contemplating how I could ever live without having such a breathtaking landscape at my feet.
But there’s many other, “ordinary” opportunities for observing and appreciating beauty. The obvious includes any landscapes, trees, hills, mountains, gardens, water falls, and bodies of water where we happen to live. I also adore innovative architecture of any kind of structure, especially when it’s very old, and certainly a variety of delicious food and drinks, visual art forms, fine writing, and music.
We’re also accustomed to finding joy in the beauty of living creatures. Babies and children. Animals. Birds. Reptiles. Fish. We love to nurture them and watch them grow and unleash their potential.
However, we’re less inclined to always notice the beauty of “regular” people of all ages, pigments, and sizes, who are lovely simply because they exist.
The multitudes of skin shades, languages, and cultural expressions found across the globe pose a hindrance for many due to fear, ignorance, or simple indifference and distraction. The more time you spend getting to know individuals whose appearance or background are different from your own, the more you relax, learn, and feel connected and less alone.
And little by little, that which was invisible or disdainful transforms into beauty upon which you affix an engaging gaze.
The gorgeousness of the Earth’s creativity provides ongoing inspiration to the curious person with a soft heart and an open mind. Think of our planet as a giant work of art that is constantly evolving, with every living form intentionally or subconsciously contributing expressions on a daily basis. Every day is an opportunity to help contribute to the crafting of this enduring masterpiece.
When we fail to notice the beauty in another person, we will likely undervalue the beauty in ourselves. Perhaps that’s the reason there’s so much ugliness these days in our thinking, speech, and actions, as evidenced by political events close to home and violent activities across the globe. We feel ugly or unworthy, and that drives a specific orientation toward others.
If you’ve read this far, please consider pausing where you’re at and “taking in” the potential beauty that surrounds you. It doesn’t matter where you are; beauty is there. Beauty is ubiquitous. You just have to be willing to see it. And remember to reflect upon the attributes that make you beautiful as well.
May we rise beyond being so busy doing that we enrich ourselves through seeing the best of what life has to present to us.