Where is beauty? That’s probably either a delightful question or a non-issue…
What is beauty? Also might elicit the same kind of response, depending on whether you want to be enlarged…
We don’t want ugly, but at times we are too weary to really see what is before us.
How do we see?
Our eyes naturally gravitate to what concerns us. And our brains normally have a capacity to cope with overstimulation – by putting on the blinders or blinkers. Narrowing our focus to what’s right in front of us.
We actually miss a huge amount, because we’ve trained ourselves not to see.
That may be a healthy coping mechanism for busy days, but if it’s our life experience we become shallow.
It’s astonishing what opens up when we get off the treadmill, even for a few moments.
Pause. Breathe. Look up. Smile.
Who is looking?
We assume that we all see the same things just because we are looking in the same direction.
But even writing this, it sounds absurd. Of course, we don’t!
Not only do we see things from a unique position. You can’t be standing or sitting where I am.
But we also have our own filters. Our personalities, our interests, the distinctive things that we notice.
An easy illustration of this is to compare photographs. Mine often have very few people in them, and when they do it’s often reflecting a different side of them – in profile or action. It’s a study. However, this is more than the absence of people where I live in the countryside…
Where I look for and find beauty is therefore likely to be subtly different to you.
What becomes really interesting, though, is when we explore the differences. Seeing through someone else’s eyes expand our own vision.
Pause. Breathe. Look out. Smile.
Seeing with the heart
Antoine de Saint-Exupery crafted a beautiful line in The Little Prince:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
And conversely, what is in our hearts does affect what we see. Noticing beauty is a heart thing.
I know that when I’m feeling crabby, I much more readily notice ugliness.
Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Smile.
For some, balance and perfection is a profound expression of beauty. This can then define where they look and affects what they find.
The Japanese art and philosophy of Wasi Sabi and Kintsugi offer an interesting alternative view. They celebrate imperfection. At times deliberately breaking items in order to put them back together again with gold.
I wonder what would happen if we re-calibrated our beauty scales? Might we see differently – both internally and externally?
Pause. Breathe. Appreciate. Smile.
It starts with wonder
Perhaps the place to begin is with wonder.
As I’ve written about fresh thinking, hope and gratitude this week I’ve noticed a shift in myself.
We are bombarded with stuff – news, opinions, things, demands – and that dulls our sense of wonder. Curiosity becomes a luxury and thankfulness is diminished.
But we can become more intentional. Choosing to cultivate child-like eyes and letting go of our adult fear of being different.
We can change the conversation – internally and externally.
After all, we do have today. Here and now. The only time will ever have…
Pause. Breathe. Wonder. Smile
Appreciating Alan Moore
Finally, I want to introduce you to Alan Moore and his profound passion for beauty.
One of my favourite short books is his Do Design: why beauty is key to everything. And his periodic newsletter, Living Beautifully, is a source of wonder and delight.
Pause. Breathe. Enjoy. Smile.
Thanks for reading
- Monday: What is art?
- Tuesday: Fresh thinking…
- Wednesday: Awaking wonder
- Thursday: People are wonderful!
- Friday: Taking delight…