Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Why then do some people see beauty in every person and in every situation and others don’t. “Seeing” beauty is not just a matter of using our eyes. It’s also a practice of living with our heart wide open. It is my belief what we look for in life is exactly what we see. For example, if we go into the kitchen and someone left dishes piled high we might get frustrated the kitchen isn’t clean. We can choose at that moment to be frustrated, or we can change our focus and be grateful for the beautiful meal that was created resulting in a pile of dishes. Our judgments, opinions, and frustrations can get in our way of seeing beauty in the world.
There is a little game I play enabling me to shift my perception of any circumstance at any moment. I pretend I’m looking through a kaleidoscope…I take a few deep breaths and in my mind’s eye I “turn the kaleidoscope” just one degree and guess what…the world takes on an entirely new picture. So, if I’m ever feeling annoyed, fearful or just plain bored, I bring my breath deep into my belly which brings me into the present moment and then I mindfully find beauty in all that surrounds me.
So what other things get in the way of our ability to see beauty in all things? Simple enough…we usually get in our own way, which is wonderful news because we can only change ourselves. One big obstacle obstructing beauty is that we move too quickly through life. Days mushroom into weeks and weeks snowball into years. We rush from one commitment to the next, and at day’s end have no energy left for self-care. Constantly feeling overwhelmed by my endless to-do list, I finally had a profound realization. My list was never going to be finished…and that’s a good thing. It means I’m still alive…I’m still interested in fully living life. And I found a solution to my dilemma of feeling overwhelmed. Instead of a to-do list, I create a must do list. When I must do tasks are complete, I’m done for the day. This is a fantastic way to feel accomplished and also provides the time to slow down enough to do the things in life that nurture our soul.
We must continually ask ourselves…do we take time to savor laughter, to find our internal rhythm, to see our own inner beauty, to explore the activities that arouse passion in our bellies? Do we develop the art of relaxation, gaze in amazement at light refracting off a raindrop on an autumn leaf and make waves when we have a strong conviction? Do we seek out interesting people, cultivate deep, meaningful relationships and dare to dream big? We can take a look around our home and look at the friends we have and see in this mirror the life we have created. Do our environment and our friends support our dreams and passions? We can use beauty as our barometer for measuring a rich, happy life…keep only what we love, the items that are uplifting and make our hearts sing and keep friends who support us and also manifest beauty and goodness in their lives.
To see beauty we must wake up the senses and cultivate a receptive attitude to appreciate that which is simple. Simplicity is a state of mind. If we’re all up in our minds, we miss the subtle nuances in life…the moisture in the air before a storm, the illuminated palm trees’ reflection in the pool and people’s facial expressions speaking volumes their words do not express. It is through the language of the heart, not the chatter of the mind; we become attuned to life’s more profound moments and the infinite beauty surrounding us.