"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius
“What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conondrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another?” - Terry Tempest Williams, Finding Beauty in a Broken World
In the past week or so as we’ve experienced sunshine and rising temperatures here in my corner of the Rockies, I’ve been fascinated to observe the snow melt each day. Little holes in the snow’s surface reveal much larger patches of earth underneath them. Sheets of snow and ice lean toward the southeast, splattered with dirt, looking like the model of a city skyline. The tracks of wildlife and neighborhood canines (including Luke) form paths across the once pristine fallen snow.
I’m sure you get the idea. Flowers bloom, the bloom fades. A sunny day turns dark and stormy. A once stately tree dies leaving a trunk and leafless branches.
As I reflected on my observations, I wondered ‘how does seeing beauty in what some would call ‘ugly’, support me in seeing beauty and perfection in everything, especially in those circumstances, people, and politics which trigger a negative response (or, even a reaction)’?
Could it be that they are seeds planted in the garden of nature that I can call upon to remind me that I’m not separate from anything or anyone and that there is beauty in ALL? If I can see beauty in mud splattered snow, then isn’t that a seed to see beauty in those with whom I disagree, including political leaders whose views and votes are different from my own? If I can see beauty beneath those holes in the snow that reveal nothing but brown grass, then don’t I have the capacity to see beauty in the words of others whose approaches differ from my own?
To these questions, I say a resounding YES! I’m aware that developing my capacity to see beauty in all phases of nature required nurturing, both conscious and unconscious. Over the last five years of being blessed to live in this place of amazing natural beauty, I have consciously opened to all that nature has to offer and put attention to growing my awareness. As a result, I’ve consciously begun to notice and acknowledge beauty in the small details, like the melting snow. With the awareness that has emerged, I see that nurturing and vigilance that will be required to grow these seeds into consistently seeing the beauty in the people, politics and circumstances with which I disagree.
The contemporary thinker, philosopher, and writer Charles Eisenstein [http://charleseisenstein.net/about-charles/] writes about his decision not to join the ‘March Against Monsanto’ not because he supports the company’s practices, but rather because to do so contributes to what he calls “the story of separation”. It’s generally easy to protest those things with which we disagree, and not so easy to take a breath and find another way that is beyond the right/wrong, good/bad judgment orientation prevalent in our culture today.
Perhaps, finding the beauty or, if you prefer, the opportunity in those things which we may dismiss as ‘ugly’ or wrong or disagreeable represents a pathway for peace, personally and collectively. Indeed, for our own learning, this may be the most important work of our time.
Question for the Week: How many seeds for seeing the beauty in everything can you identify this week?