What is it that keeps you from feeling beautiful? What is it that makes you feel beautiful? What is beauty, exactly? When you see the face of someone you love, how do you feel inside? When you admire a work of art or a piece of music, how do you take that in? When you see an incredible sunset, a beloved place in nature, or a fantastic architectural sight, what is that like for you?
The poet Rumi said, “Beauty surrounds us.”
When do you notice beauty? Who or what do you see that takes your breath away? That’s real beauty, isn’t it? When you’re right there, whether it’s for a second or a season, being filled to the brim, touched deeply, moved to your core. Oh, and then it may go away so suddenly, too quickly, or transform into something else, like a drifting cloud, or the last crimson leaf of autumn. But you keep coming back, don’t you? Losing beauty can be painful. To cope, we may not seek it out as much anymore, or ever.
According to David Brooks, in a recent New York Times article, we are “beauty-poor” and “meaning-deprived”. Sadly, I agree. Seeking out beauty is important. It is human to experience beauty, and there must be a reason for this.
Think again about how you feel when you take in beauty. Pretty good, right? What if that’s what it’s all about? Feeling good, better, happy, fulfilled, loving, calm, inspired, alive… Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and sort of switch gears, but it’s because of my work with courageous women that I need to say this: How is it that beauty can be found all around us, even in the most unlikely places, and you can’t find it in the mirror? Think about this for a minute. No one is saying to you, “Oh, that first crocus of Spring—that one there? That’s no good. Especially compared to that daffodil!” But we do that to ourselves all the time, don’t we? And sure, there are art critics, but you get to decide what art, music, dance, theater ignites you. You get to love what you love. My dear ones…that includes you. You are a work of art. You are the flower, the Monet, the unusual pattern of light reflected on your floor through the window at 3pm in mid-Autumn. You embody the beauty you see.
Martha Graham’s famous quote, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.” is a reminder of who you truly are. Perhaps the “action” can be to actively participate in seeking out beauty, including your own, recognizing yourself as no different from any other source of beauty: Unique, changing, inspiring, enlivening…
When the last bits of pink-violet light hit the horizon, and beauty so powerful, yet so delicate fades into the darkening sky, look again. There is hope. The next wave of beauty can be found in the stars.
This week your prompts can be found in the very beginning of this post!
What is it that keeps you from feeling beautiful?
What is it that makes you feel beautiful?
When do you notice beauty?
Who or what do you see that takes your breath away?
Be gentle with yourself, and know that you are loved.