This morning as I gazed out the kitchen window, I was amazed to see the most lit up juicy-pink sunrise, rolling like waves over the mountain, to warm the baron and colorless landscape. Beauty abounds! Even in this cold dark place, beauty can warm and heal, as it warmed my morning heart. It felt like myself and my husband Michael were the only souls there to see it, feel it, and open our arms and hearts to its beauty. It was sacred and special and it felt like a gift from beyond.
Beauty is always here, but do we take the time to actually see and experience it? And then open the windows of our hearts to receive the gift of beauty when we do find it? Earlier in my life, I thought ‘beauty’ was superficial and shallow. Spending lots of time in nature has shifted me: now I know beauty is intrinsic within everything created and is a sacred part of miraculous life. I’m in awe of the spiral of a seashell, the architectural form of a winter tree, the graceful movement of a hand in expression. And what of the beauty of human experience: witnessing an act of kindness between two people, feeling the fountain of joy within, and feeling calm and content inside (even if it’s only for a minute!).
When I am busy – which seems to be a lot of the time! – I certainly can overlook beauty. There have been times I’ve walked outside for ½ hour in nature immersed in the mosaic of my thoughts, only seeing my own ‘inner computer screen’ of flatness and current tasks. What a disappointment when I realize I’m walking back home, but I missed out on experiencing the vividness and the mystery of the present moment and its richness, not to mention the mystery of nature.
Most times though, I realize a precious opportunity when I’m outdoors, and I actively look, see, feel, touch, smell, and receive the beauty around me with all senses. I am amazed that in every kind of weather, and in every season, the natural world is extraordinary. Trust me, when you have two large dogs, you really do get to experience EVERY kind of weather!
Last week, after a rough night that spilled into the morning, as it sometimes can, I felt heavy. I went about my morning practice, which often combines words and prayer with movement. My practice revealed a simple mantra for my day ‘Behold Beauty’. Indeed it was the perfect medicine that I used throughout my day. Anytime I got caught up in thoughts and emotions and heaviness, I stated my mantra ‘Behold Beauty’ both aloud and internally. And it shifted everything, often bringing tears to my eyes. It was as though the realization of the intrinsic beauty of everything actually melted away any sadness or frustration.
Throughout the day, when ever I walked — whether it was simply back and forth to my car, at work, around the house, or walking the dogs — I stated my mantra with my footsteps. This helped me to come back to the incredible present moment, and also go beyond the thinking mind into a place of wisdom. You can do this too with the instructions below.
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