I’ve been craving Beauty as we pass through the darkest time of year. Fortunately, she’s everywhere when we seek her, send her love, and move with her in a spirit of relationship.
She runs away, though, when we turn her into a thing to be bought and sold, sliced, diced and judged in a transactional, materialist culture. She’s a force, an energy, that invites our love and reverence. When we hold on to her, like a painting we put on the wall and forget, she slips away, leaving us an empty shell.
Beauty isn’t just something “out there.” She happens to us, within us. Beauty seeks to change us.
Rescuing beauty from the transactional
To increase the perceived value of “objects of beauty,” our transactional culture treats Beauty as if she were rarified and limited.
We judge the art of ten-year-olds, leaving them to believe that creating Beauty can only be done by a talented, select few.
We stayed glued to “American Idol,” and then act as if we can’t sing.
One piece of art can go for millions, while millions of children don’t have the supplies and equipment they need to create.
Fortunately, we can save Beauty. By treating her with joy and reverence, we can rescue her from the transactional world.
Beauty as a force for transformation
When Beauty is seen in the light of transformation rather than transaction, she becomes available to all of us. We gain the right to create beauty by doing what we love, and through that love, allowing Beauty to guide us (however messy our creations may seem).
This past weekend, in preparation for my talk on “Beauty as a Homeopathy for our Times,” I immersed myself in the words of the late, much-beloved, Irish poet, John O’Donohue, through his book Beauty. Reading his prose sent me into a world warmed with soul. In that world, when we honor Beauty with reverence, we open the door to magic.
“A sense of reverence includes the recognition that one is always in the presence of the sacred. To live with reverence is to live without judgment, prejudice, and the saturation of consumerism.”
Revere Beauty (without pomp or piousness), he says, and she will come to you.
“When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and the arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”
We open ourselves to more Beauty by noticing how we feel in her presence
- How do you feel when Beauty appears?
- Do you welcome her in and let yourself feel expanded?
- Do you send her your love so that she, too, expands, no longer seen as precious or limited?
- Do you let her walk with you through daily life?
- Do you allow her to change you, speak to your heart, remind you of what is important?
When I want to find her, I can step outside my door and allow what I see, hear, touch, and smell to move me. A snail. A raindrop. The sound of the wind readying for a storm. I may not like them all (the garden snail), but when I view them with love, they become beautiful to me.
“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.” John O’Donohue
Beauty thrives in the common as well as in places of mystery. Look deeply into what you love and she will be there in abundance. I promise, even on the darkest of days.