December 31 – Beauty

In a poem she wrote when she was just 14 years old, my mom profoundly said that youth is the ability to see beauty, and so long as we retain our ability to see beauty in this world, we will never grow old. It rings true to me. Life is truly beautiful, particularly because it goes on no matter what tragedy or heartbreak befalls us. Life always starts anew.

bloom blooming blossom blur

On the topic of beauty, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

Happily may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.

—Navajo prayer

If one reads this prayer very slowly, one feels its immensely profound simplicity. Imagine ourselves surrounded by beauty! When we think of being surrounded by beauty, we think of some island paradise or Shangri-la.

Yet, when we read this poem slowly, we begin to realize that we are surrounded by beauty! We see that this prayer is not only a request, it is simultaneously a statement of fact. My life does have elements of beauty before, behind, below, and above me. I am surrounded by beauty.

Part of living is being present and appreciating the beauty of each moment. There is even beauty to be found in our moments of sadness. The beauty that comes from hard times is a result of rising back up from the ashes and trying again. Resilience of spirit is one of the most breathtaking wonders of humanity in my opinion. Each of our lives holds so many ordinary wonders and everyday beauty that we often overlook if we aren’t mindful. The beauty of another person’s love for us, a child’s laughter, an animal’s warmth… there are so many things to appreciate in life if we only look for them.

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