When was the last time you were touched or impacted by something beautiful? What did it feel or look like?

We understand that beauty isn’t solely about physical aspects and outer appearances. That while using our 5 basic senses to experience beauty is wonderful, it can also be limiting, superficial and even artificial.

Beauty is everywhere.

As a lover and cultivator of beauty, I have come realize one thing. I am here to be a beacon of light in the name of beauty. I gather that this idea or calling might resonate for you as well.

I am currently reading a brilliant gem of a book by the late and great John O’Donohue called Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. John challenges us to observe and become more aware of our relationship with beauty. He stresses the internal, mysterious, quiet and poetic relationship we have (or the potential to have) with beauty and how this relationship connects us to our gentle human spirt and with all of life.

Taking great inspiration from his work and from my own observations, experiences, and relationship to beauty, I offer the following 5 areas of focus on being a greater beacon of light for beauty.

  1. Stillness

  2. Reverence

  3. Kindness

  4. Gratitude

  5. Celebration

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STILLNESS

“Space and stillness is the light that illuminates the beauty of our soul’s being.” ~ Adyashanti

The experience of true beauty, as I mentioned above, is often an internal one or something that begins inside and shines out. Take nature, for example. Her physical beauty abounds, but when was the last time you sat in silence, in stillness, in nature?

The great modern spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle, invites us to notice a tree, leaf, or a rock… just being itself. Just notice its presence and being-ness. This observation often instills in us a sense of peace and oneness. An invitation into a deeper place of being. A quiet comfort and ease about the way things are. An invitation into beauty.

Being still in nature also creates a feeling of abundance, plentitude and bounty. While we use our 5 senses to experience the natural beauty around, we feel interconnected to all of life which is a sensation that goes deeper than what our senses can provide.

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REVERENCE

“When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty decides to trust us.” ~ John O’Donohue 

What if we cultivate a reverence of approach in every aspect of our lives (words, actions, deeds)? What if we speak with reverence? Walk in and with reverence? Work, practice, play, plan, negotiate, debate, read, write, prepare food, etc with reverence?

How do we carry reverence everywhere we go? We approach everything with it. This takes time and patience. A slowing down and reveling in the natural process of things. This idea of approaching with reverence calls for discipline and a devotion to beauty. It calls for a great respect of all people and things.

Personally, this is my greatest charge. To cultivate reverence of approach. Patience is not my greatest strength. However, as I dedicate more of my time to meditation, yoga and conscious breath work (pranayama), I find my patience growing. I also notice that my desire to slow down, simplify and trust in the process of life, expands and grows.

It excites me to approach my world with greater reverence, and joyfully watch the beauty of life continue to unfold and multiply. This world is full of drama. It is full of rushing around, anxiety, stress and madness. Don’t you want to experience the beauty of this life and to once and for all let go of the busy-ness and drama that is so present in our world?

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KINDNESS

“Wit is an intermittent fountain; kindness is a perennial spring.” ~Marie Dubsky

Recall an act of kindness that you most recently encountered or witnessed. What did it stir up inside of you? What physical sensations did it create? A warm, tingly sensation in your chest? A smile on your face? Tears in your eyes? Laughter? This is beauty. Showing itself to you. This is you, communing with beauty. This is love in action.

Beauty is not a constant. It flows in and out. It glimmers, beams then disappears. It showers down and then moves. It sparkles and changes and morphs. But when beauty is experienced through kindness, the lasting impressions and effects multiply. It’s like throwing a pebble into a still lake. The ripple effect on the water’s surface grows and continues. There is a movement of energy that billows out and touches a greater surface area than that tiny little droplet did. The beauty and energy of kindness also inspires hope. It invites us to be more kind, and recognize and celebrate kindness more often.

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GRATITUDE

“Gratitude is a wonderful way to draw more beauty into your life.” ~ Anonymous

photo by Catherine Bennett

 This is quite a buzz word these days, but it simply is a magical concept and practice. When we fill our hearts with gratitude, we also fill it with beauty. We recognize our blessings and appreciate the gifts that life continues to provide. This is a recognition of beauty. This is singing the song of beauty.

There is an additional act of beauty through gratitude that we can practice regularly. It is reaching out to someone who you are grateful for and telling them how they have affected you. I was inspired to include this after reading a recent love-filled-post on Facebook by a girlfriend of mine who said that if you admire someone, reach out to them and tell them what they mean to you. My mother also recently shared a bit of advice that my grandmother, her mother, said to her. If you are feeling appreciation for someone, even a stranger (the dishwasher at your favorite restaurant, a police officer, a flight attendant, etc), tell them… without reservation. Chances are you will make their day, and like the example of the pebble dropping in the lake, you will initiate a wave of energy that will uplift more people and expand. Thus, more beauty created and experienced in the world!

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CELEBRATION

“Life has a sweetness to it, and a beauty and a power that I want to celebrate.” ~ Valerie Harper 

photo by Julianne Reynolds

How do you celebrate beauty?

Personally, as many of you know, I do it through dance, music and adornment. When I step into the dance studio and devote my sweat, tears, trembling muscles to something greater than me. To my teachers and fellow students and the lineage I am now a part of. When I sing or chant by myself and/or with others in celebration of life and love and beauty. I celebrate beauty as I adorn myself with colors and textures, and when I am in the markets and streets of India, discovering endless ways of adornment! I celebrate beauty through the written word, and the telling of stories and sharing experiences. I do it through prayer, hiking, meditation, yoga and food. I do it by surrounding myself with people devoted to living a life of beauty. Those folks who live their lives with reverence, kindness, stillness, gratitude and celebration. Those people who mirror to me these qualities and values in beauty that I hold so dear.

What is one action, small or big, in which you will celebrate beauty today?

Do you now have a newfound understanding of what beauty is, or do my words resonate with your established relationship to beauty? I would love to hear your thoughts!

I leave you today with one final quote:

“Everything that is – every tree, bird, star, stone and wave – existed first as a dream in the mind of the divine artist. Indeed, the world is the mirror of the divine imagination and to decipher the depths of the world is to gain deep insights into the heart of God. The traces of the divine imagination are everywhere. The beauty of God becomes evident in the beauty of the world.” ~ John O’Donohue

May you walk in beauty, dear one!

Love,

Lisa