A Daily Dose of Beauty

Posted by Sooz on Monday, February 28, 2011 | 6 Comments

Let’s be honest, life can be brutal. Sometimes it feels like every morsel of goodness has been sucked off the bone and you are left with nothing to nourish you. This is how I felt when my journey toward goodness began. I had been through a devastating experience that left me wondering if there was any good left in the world at all. Everything that I had trusted and believed in had betrayed me. The center of my life, my faith, had been shaken to its very core. I was left feeling abandoned, hopeless, and suspicious of everyone.

I can remember having to pull my car to the side of the road for fear I would wreck if I kept driving, while my young children quietly watched me sob. My husband was going through the same gut wrenching drama, and we would often just sit and stare at each other in a daze of brokenhearted confusion. During those days it was difficult to even get out of bed.

When you are in this place, hoping in anything seems like a luxury reserved for the very rich and the very lucky. Believing in anything seems downright naïve. As for beauty, the world was all shades of gray – not a spot of color anywhere. Depression was my daily companion and hopelessness my bedfellow.

It seemed there was nothing to be done, and yet to go on this way was resigning myself to life as a zombie. In an effort to “try,” I took a certain sort of challenge. It had come to my attention that some rare and unusual individuals actually believed that it was healthy to take deep notice of beauty on a regular basis. This struck me as odd because, in my mind, beauty was somewhat superfluous. I had never really given it much thought. I appreciated beauty on a surface level – loved a pretty painting or a blooming tree, but I took no thought of it as medicinal or even terribly important. Being productive, resourceful, useful, intelligent – these were important. Beauty was just “skin deep” in my mind.

For some reason I accepted the challenge to look for beauty. I think my confidence in mankind was so shaken that I had far less fear of beauty than of brains. So, I started. Everyday I would watch for something that was beautiful to me, and I would really focus on it for a moment. I would look at it and challenge myself to “see” it – to really take it in. It began for me with the obvious, things in nature, like trees, flowers, and landscapes. I started to enjoy the game and eventually I challenged my family and friends to play along. At dinner I would say, “What was your beautiful thing today?” My family began to look forward to sharing their collection of beautiful things. It was wonderful to see them cross the boundary of beauty in nature and begin to share things like seeing someone be kind or show tenderness. Beauty began showing up in all kinds of places. It was as fun as any Easter egg hunt to find things that brought us a smile and a little joy.

Little by little I could feel myself softening inside. I could feel my heart changing because I was focusing on something that made my interior life better, brighter, more joyful – even if only a little bit. Now, the pursuit of beauty has blossomed into a full pallet of inspiration for me. I diligently seek it in the most random places, and most often I find it. It has been and still is transforming me. Why don’t you take the beauty challenge and see what it does for you.

“Twigs of beauty make for a nest of goodness.”

A “Good” Idea :

Take the Beauty challenge and encourage friends and family to join in by simply asking, “What was your beautiful thing today?”  Write down your observations in a little journal and keep them as treasures for your heart. Take note of how your view of life changes over time. To those of you feeling discouraged or depressed, we encourage you to let beauty in as much as you can. Focus on the little bits of goodness you can find around you. If you look hard, you will find them.

6 Responses

  1. Melanie Hall says:

    My beautiful thing……… Every October little tiny ladybugs swarm our area in Missouri, hoping to find a home in “MY HOME”. They usually succeed! Yesterday, as I was painting my sons room, I noticed a tiny ladybug that had survived the winter in “MY HOME”. It has been a rough winter here and it brought me great joy to find this tiny red bug with black dots that brought me some sunshine in what was a very rainy and gloomy Sunday, yesterday. Thankful for the ladybug that brightened my gloomy day! Spring is around the corner!

    • Debbie says:

      Melanie, I had to smile as I read your post. My daughter (now 21) and I have long been fans of ladybugs, and some time ago began to refer to each other as “Ladybug.” For my daughter’s “last spring break” before college graduation, she had an idea: Ladybug Road Trip! We’re hopping in the car and going where no ladybug dare tread before the spring thaw! Have any idea what it means to a mom to be chosen over friends who are heading to Florida for “fun” in the sun? It means the world. That’s my beautiful thing for today….and for a lot of tomorrows to come.

  2. Patty says:

    VERY long cold winter here in Nashville, 2 days of warmth and daffodils are blooming! Amazing! It reminds me of the saying that courage is not only the tall weathered oak tree, branches flung far reaching into the sky, roots deeply dug into the earth, but it is also the tiny little snowdrop, pushing up through the ice and snow because God said it was time! {Hey Mel! YES….Spring is right around the corner!}

  3. Doug says:

    Well, to be honest, it’s never cold or wintery here in paradise. Just the same perfect weather, nearly every day. But I remember what I told myself growing up in Minnesota: “We get to experience all the wonderful seasons.”
    Wherever I have lived, My Beautiful Thing has always been the same: Friends and family to laugh with.
    Great website!
    Positivity is contagious.
    :o )

  4. Judy T. says:

    What a wonderful website! And a wonderful article! I have had some trying times lately with problems at work and problems with a business that did shoddy work for us. Has been a stressful few weeks. Thanks for the reminder of what a stress reducer looking for beauty can be. Along that same line, an attitude of gratefulness is also transforming. I am having to work on that one as well. I think I will start with your looking for beauty suggestion… I suspect that will cause a more grateful heart…

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