Finding Beauty

It is both profound and uplifting to see beauty in people and the world
around us. If our definition of beauty is narrow, we might agree with Miss
Piggy from The Muppets who says, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.” Miss Piggy was very good at giving black eyes, especially when her physical appearance was criticized. However, if we are willing to expand our definition of beauty beyond physical beauty, or what is overtly beautiful to others, we improve the quality of our lives. When we look deeper and more meaningfully at the people and things in our life, we discover even greater beauty that feeds our contentment and happiness.

Beauty brings transformation the way a smile transforms a face. And every
face is its own landscape, quietly vibrant with life’s experiences. I think the
most beautiful faces are seen on people who know they are loved, because love changes how we see ourselves and others. Love lights us from within, and when people are lit from within, that light spreads beauty the way one candle lit a sanctuary full of candles at the Christmas Eve service my husband and I attended. No one’s light is diminished by sharing it with another.

Blaise Pascal said, “In difficult times you should always carry something
beautiful in your mind.” For those times when life seems all struggle and
endurance, our heart may feel hurt and broken. It may be difficult to see
beauty when we feel broken by a cancer diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, or the end of financial security. When we’re in that place we may identify with what Anna White writes: “Maybe it’s not about having a beautiful day, but finding beautiful moments. Maybe a whole day is just too much to ask. I could choose to believe that in every day, in all things, no matter how dark and ugly, there are shards of beauty if I look for them.”  

Sometimes we have to get lost before we discover a beautiful path we didn’t
see before. John O’Donohue believes that deep within each of us is an
unprotected place where beauty always dwells, and we can reach it if we quiet our minds to rest in serenity. Stepping out in nature to observe just one thing can help us refocus from loss to beauty. Standing by the ocean watching the rhythm of the waves, while adjusting our breath to become slow and deep, will go a long way toward inviting serenity. Nature has a way of coaxing us deeply inward so, even if we must remain indoors, we can appreciate the artistry of a pottery mug holding our favorite hot beverage, the blooms and deep green leaves of an indoor plant, or the fabric or design of a quilt. We can sit by a window and watch the wind in the trees, cloud patterns, or wildlife activity.

Finding beauty has a lot to do with attitude, so if we are determined that
there is no beauty around us, that is exactly what we will see. If we cultivate
a style of mind that can reach through turbulence to an inner stillness, our
own serenity will permeate our seeing, so the way we look at things changes. How we see determines what we see. When we look for beauty we will discover it in the most unexpected places, and soon we will delight in seeing it everywhere.

Our life is enlarged when we experience beauty. We recognize the unique in the ordinary, and what was taken for granted becomes a gift. When we become calm and serene, we enter into our own inner beauty, which gives us an outer glow that no cosmetic can imitate. Beauty is the presence that waits for the expectant heart. Stepping outside of busyness and seeking beauty awakens what is concealed, and is a gift to you and everyone around you. May your heart feel the embrace of beauty wherever you find it.

Until Next Time – Sylvia

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