It’s winter here in Michigan and I’m missing the snow. (Oddly enough now that I am ready to publish we are in the middle of a snowstorm!) We’ve had only two worthy snows this thus far and its sorely disappointing. Everyone else complains about the snow, but for me it is filled with magic. To see the surface of the snow sparkle under the morning sunlight after a great storm is inspiring. I can easily find the beauty within winter, whereas most of my friends, cannot.
But what about finding the beauty in a drought? Or a hurricane? Would that be as easy?
To see the beauty within came to me this week with a depth I’ve never known before. Or maybe it just came to me for the first time ever.
At first I thought it meant something along the lines of ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, but that isn’t even close.
The Beauty Within refers to seeing the beauty in anyone, anything or any situation exactly as it is. Not to try to see what it could become. Not to try to cultivate pearls from oysters. And not trying to change it into something else, or hoping it will be different. But to absolutely love the thing for the thing the thing is…as it is.
It might be difficult to find the beauty in a traffic jam, or a car accident or even being stopped by a train. But if you let your mind settle a bit and you can see it. The time you get to be with your own thoughts in stalled traffic. The lesson from the car accident can change your life and fill you with more gratitude and remind you to stay in the present moment. You find yourself lulled into a relaxed state by the rhythmic trains sounds.
Finding the beauty within ourselves, can be a bigger challenge at times for even the best of us. While we want to be ever evolving, it is vital that we appreciate who we are and where we are at any given moment. With practice, we move from looking at ourselves in the mirror and tearing apart the image nitpicking at our perceived flaws, to understanding that beauty is more than skin deep.
Finding our beauty within encompasses not just the things we are proud of but those things we tend to judge as deficient in some way. Understanding the beauty we are exactly as-is. Not excluding those ‘other parts’ but finding them beautiful too!
It goes beyond ‘seeing the good in others‘ too. Seeing the good in them is not the same as seeing their beauty. Beauty goes deeper than ‘good’. Seeing good in someone is shallow and dismissive. We can even be condescending and patronizing in that. Think of that southern retort, ‘bless your heart’, that is so condescending at times.
Sitting with the memory of someone who pushes our buttons and finding them beautiful exacts far more effort on our part. How can I see the beauty within someone whom I think is hateful?
And what of a situation that has you nervous, worried, anxious or downright fearful? Can you find that beautiful?
That’s what this phrase suggests. Find the beauty within. It’s there. In everything. If you can find it, you can change the person or situation…or yourself. At the very least you change your experience and really when you do that, you change everything anyway.
So, that’s what I’ve been practicing this week. When something has me feeling small and afraid, I am consciously reaching for the feelings of expansion and love. I embrace this awful feeling as beautiful. I revel in this.
I suppose the best way to describe this is if you have ever been really really sick and when you felt better you felt like you had never ever felt that good before in your whole life. I think that’s what this phrase means. This moment of ick? It’s going to lead to a moment of bliss like you’ve never known. There’s beauty in that contrast.
The beauty within…you.
I love you.