A young mother holding a newborn, the Grand Canyon at sunset, the New York Symphony playing in Central Park, misty billowing fog rolling in over a peaceful valley… Beauty is meant to arrest us, to stop us in our tracks. Beauty is a calling card, a messenger from beyond the veil. It is here to remind us that there is something truly good, mysterious, miraculous, and all together wonderful at work behind the scenes. It tells us there is an order to things and an astounding creative force at work. It reveals intricate detail and stunning inspiration in the most tiny of creations like a shell, a grain of sand, and a snowflake. But for many of us, beauty does not exist. It is completely lost on us because we do not stop to see it, much less hear its message.
One of the building blocks of Goodness is Beauty. When you digest beauty it nourishes your heart. When your heart is nourished then you are better equipped to spread Goodness around you. When we are young we are easily able to see beauty in the little things and to feel the awe and wonder of the world. A child will stop to look at a rock or a flower and gasp at a butterfly on the wing. As we grow older we tend to lose our sensitivity and we pass right by beauty without a thought.
One of the tricks to becoming a Goodness focused person is to re-train yourself to see beauty. It can be done rather quickly and it’s not hard at all. To begin, you simply need to stop and take notice of all the sources of beauty that are around you. Let your eyes re-focus on the details. See the color of gravel, the texture of tree bark, the tones of rust on metal. Let your eyes drink in the complex artwork of a petal or leaf. Let your heart begin to feel refreshed as you soak up the life-giving creative inspiration around you. Give yourself permission to pause and take in some food for your soul. You won’t believe the difference it will make.
After you identify sources of beauty you can easily access, then get specific and start to “frame” the beauty you see. Literally. We suggest that to practice this you take an empty frame and go out into the beauty. Stop and put the frame up to things that you think are beautiful. Take note of typical and unusual sources. At first you can start with obvious things like natural beauty then begin to notice more unusual elements like cracks the pavement and interesting hardware. There is beauty waiting to be discovered everywhere! Use your frame to spotlight and draw attention to the details. If you don’t have a frame to use, we’ve created one that you can download here (501). Print it on cardstock and cut out the center. This is a great option for kids to use, too.
We have a wonderful technique that we use to help make seeking beauty a habit in our lives. It has worked wonders for us and we want to share it with you. Our families play the “Beautiful Thing Game.” The game is simple. At the end of each day, maybe dinner time or at bedtime, ask everyone what their Beautiful Thing was for the day. You will be amazed at the responses that come and the thoughtfulness that people begin to invest in their answers. Usually people start by noticing nature or something they see, but soon it will become things like, “hearing Olivia singing in the shower,” or “smelling the fresh bread mom baked.”
Over time you will begin to learn more about each other and you will find your “nest” or home within strengthened just by playing this simple game. Your eyes will begin to see beauty again. Give beauty a chance to transform your life. Open yourself to the wonder and the awe of “Being.” Every day holds a promise of beauty and delight – if we will but see it.
If you aren't intentional you will miss the beauty that is all around you. Use these ideas to "frame" some beauty.