I’ve been trying to practice looking for beauty around me since I wrote my last post. By practice, I mean becoming aware and mindful and conscious. Instead of rushing through the day and allowing myself to be distracted by all the noise around me, I have tried to look for hidden beauty and notice when grace is at work around me.
The great thing about this practice is that, whenever I notice I’m not paying attention, I am guided to be more mindful. Looking for beauty and grace is a very positive experience. And it’s very gentle and easy to start over when my goal is to find these lovely attributes and I realize I have forgotten for a moment. For example, when I was feeling annoyed by a little boy making strange, loud noises, I looked over at him and saw his little cherubic face and noticed that his intention was to be the object of his parents’ attention and affection. My eyes and heart were suddenly opened to what a beautiful little child of God he was. Aha! I remembered to practice. When I was looking out of my window at work and scowling at the snowstorm swirling outside, my eyes rested on the three little plants sitting on my windowsill. I smiled, so happy that they are alive and green and blossoming. Aha! I remembered to practice.
Each time I catch myself practicing, I feel a sense of victory. Realizing that I have been failing to practice doesn’t bring me feelings of shame or loss. Realizing that I have stopped looking for beauty just seems like a perfect opportunity to begin again. When I begin again, I almost always find some beauty right away. It’s so obvious when my eyes and heart are open, really open, and I am being mindful. After I noticed my little plants, I saw the snowstorm with new eyes. I saw how fresh and clean everything looked. I noticed how carefully everyone was driving. I imagined how refreshing the crisp, brisk air would feel on my cheeks. Suddenly, it felt like I was in a cocoon of grace. Over and over, I have been experiencing this phenomenon. Looking for beauty, searching it out, brings me to a place of peace and joy. It’s amazing. Since I started focusing on this mission of keeping myself open to beauty, my attitude has become much more positive and I feel so much better.