And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life? ~from The Swan by Mary Oliver
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Become an Active Beauty Seeker.
The other day I wanted to read a poem by Mary Oliver to my yoga class, as I am prone to do being a poetry addict and all, and I couldn’t find it. Wild Geese was the one. One of my favorites. So I said the first line:
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting
and then, much to my delight, I kept going. I knew the whole thing by heart. I guess I knew that I knew it. (Don’t we always know?)
That’s what we do with beautiful things. We tuck them away. We use them when we need them, in our bearlike way. We use them as fuel. We breathe them. We give them away. We remember them as long as we can.
Sometimes we miss them completely.
Words do it for me. They excite me, the way they roll around in my mouth, and the feel of them, the texture both shocking and comforting at the same time like a million smooth marbles. And if they are strung together just right, those little white Christmas lights of words make me close my eyes and wish them never to leave. That they would stay forever there on that tree lighting it up and that the moment would never darken and the tree would never die and I would never let the words escape from the safety of my mouth, whether they were spoken aloud or not.
They would light me from the inside out for the rest of my life.
That’s kind of how it is with certain words for me. Certain turns of phrase, and poems and sentences. They knock me out with weight and I want to keep them as if they belong to me and not to the world.
This is what beauty often does. We want to claim it and make it part of us.
Our lives need beauty. Relenteless, unremitting beauty.
I was driving this morning to a client to teach him yoga and I started to think about the five most beautiful things I saw at that very moment. I am not sure why because I was at a traffic light and it was grey and cold outside. I saw a dirty purple sign for Donuts! and a beautiful blonde teenager with a sign that said: Hungry. Please help.
These things struck me as beatiful right then in that moment. So I kept going, kept looking. What else could I find?
This is the challenge: Every hour stop what you are doing and write down the 5 most beautiful things to you right in that moment. Every hour or as often as you can! You can also post pics in addition to writing them down. Just connect in some way and find the beauty.
I can hear you already: But I am on the freeway. I am at work. There is nothing beuatiful. I am watching tv. I am in a bad mood, I can’t see anything beautiful. I don’t have my glasses on.
It’s there! Look! It’s right there. It’s here. Close your eyes and see it even if it is not right in front of you, even if you have to dig into the well of your imagination which might feel has run dry of beauty a long time ago.
Here’s a a line from a poem I wrote called “Speaking In Code”
Beauty, unremitting like this, so hard to come by-
And yet it is everywhere, this beauty.
You can’t ignore something so beautiful.
Make your list and keep filling it up and when there is no room get a new paper and keep going and going and going. You will amaze yourself. You will find that you are actively looking for beauty wherever you are. No matter what. And what else is the point? What is beauty for if not to lighten us up from the inside out and sometimes, from the outside in?
Kelly Eckert The sound of a robin singing in the rain occasionally punctuated by the sound of the wind in the trees. Breathing deeply. My husband’s typing. My son’s face. My daughter’s smile.
Paul Teodo my dad is retiring today after running hospitals and drug treatment centers for the past 35 years. He worked his ass off to try and make a difference in people’s lives, and provided my brother and I with a lot. Now he is finally taking some time for himself. He is 62 and in great health and spirits. I get to see him tomorrow in Nashville, TN.
Kira J Pullig The ocean. My parents 45 years of marriage. The human spirit’s capacity for healing. Flowers. Silence.
Christina Collazo Cathey The cloudless sky above me, my caffeine buzz, my daughter humming a tune, my creativity surging through my veins (oh wait is that caffeine?), and my heart beating in Love. 🙂
Alli Akard in this very moment… the sound of my kids playing, the smell of my lunch and its taste of pure nourishment, the site of the trees rustling in the breeze and the sunshine on my face. beautifully simple.
M’Le Leach At this moment, my dog who is sleeping next to me, my boyfriend(who I know must be having a rough day), My yoga practice, the love and support I get from my friends and family, and the sun shine that hasn’t been seen in a week. 🙂
Katie Chatzopoulos The smile on my nieces face
The roof over my head
The water in my cup
The clothes on my back
The peace in my heart that the storm is passed
Chrissy Santa Maria My tea cup, all my friends, my family, life, restaurants that deliver.
Daisy Lane 1.) My children eating corn on the cob! 2.) The leaves falling from the trees in my yard. 3.) The jazz music playing from the “Maxie with Moxie” playlist 4.) The Reese’s from the plastic pumpkin candy holder on the counter. 5.) The Boston Center for Adult Education catalogue I’m looking through-so many offerings!
Michelle Mendoza My autistic daughter making direct and penetrating eye contact with me and signing “I love you”. That’s pretty much 1-5 for me! 🙂
Liz Vartanian 5 most beautiful things RIGHT NOW: 1) my sweet 3 week old breastfeeding, 2) homemade vanilla extract & jam, 3) down-dogging dogs, 4) the beauty mid-80’s day out, and 5) the moment of meditation when all is quiet for two minutes in the house 🙂 ❤ xo
Respect the Rays 1- how quiet it is in my house right now…i can hear my breath. 2- my 3 children 3- hearing the word BENIGN 4-seeing an upside down rainbow and capturing it on “film” 5- my gratitude i feel about getting to go to yoga today.
Rachel Pastiloff 1. My kids, 2. my new favorite book ‘life is a verb by Patti Digh, 3. The amazing colors of the fall trees in my backyard in Georgia, 4. The amazing clouds in the sky before a storm(the really big fluffy ones), 5. My fathers headstone (I know that seems strange but it is the most beautiful thing in the world to me)
Anna Sidoti just five? I could’ve found 500!!
- Beautiful photo of my friend Yulady Saluti by my dear soul brother Robert Sturman. “”Hello cancer, thanks for the scars, now it’s my turn and as you can see I am a cancer warrior.” — Yulady Saluti (32 year old yoga teacher and mother of 6). Click photo to connect to Robert’s page filled with beauty!
What if we walked around looking for beauty instead of looking for things to be stressed about or offended by? What if we became beauty hunters? What if we told more beautiful stories? What if it was all we saw, even in the dirt? What if we trained our eyes and our hearts to tune into that which makes us cock our head to one side and close our eyes gently in an effort to memorize what we were looking at. What if it is all we got?
What if all we have is our 5 beautiful things?
I have heard my teacher Wayne Dyer tell this story so many times but it always makes me perk up out of my seat and listen as if my life depended on it. (Maybe it does?)
Wayne Dyer used the example of the Holocaust Survivor Victor Frankl who was able to mentally survive living in a concentration camp by finding beauty in a fish head floating in his soup. In a fish head, guys. You read that? A fish head!!
Share below what your 5 most beautiful things are right now and please share this post. Let’s make it viral. What’s your fish head?