Beauty surrounds us, yet it seldom stops us. When we allow ourselves the luxury of slowing down we begin to see real beauty everywhere. A perfectly shaped pear is beautiful. A baby’s laugh is beautiful. The hum of a meticulously restored vintage car engine is beautiful. We need only take time to filter out the junk in our world to notice. Too often, though, we don’t have that ability or even the predisposition to try. We are preoccupied with the nuts and bolts of daily living, and the thought of purposefully seeking out beauty seems like a waste of precious time. Time that could be spent grocery shopping, doing laundry, or playing Candy Crush Saga.
At one particularly low period in my life I made it a point to seek out at least one thing each day that made me smile. I would then text these observations to a dear (and patient) friend. Finding the smile each day was meaningful, but sharing it strengthened my connection to the world at large. I remember the man with the giant blue tattoo over half of his face and the woman with turquoise hair pedaling her retro bike down the street. Those may not have been images of beauty in a traditional sense, but they gave me pause, and ultimately I was glad that I had seen them and shared them.
Unlike those everyday experiences, sometimes beauty hits us over the head. It is so powerful that it stops us in our tracks and causes everything else to melt away. Sitting in a symphony hall you can be immediately removed from the hundreds of other patrons, left alone with the piece of music washing over your soul. In the sight of a magnificent sunset the rush of the day fades and you are left feeling serene. Gazing at the work of a master painter you are taken to another level of awareness, lost in the interplay of light and dark, line and form, symbol and message.
These works that transfix you operate within you on a deeply satisfying level. You are happy to be lost in them. Your life pauses as you allow yourself to be moved. Rarely do you analyze these experiences as they happen, you simply live in them and allow yourself to just BE. After that moment has faded, the piece has ended, the sun has set, you may revisit it and ask why it was so powerful. What about that arrangement made it so haunting? How did the artist manage to capture that light? There’s nothing wrong with this analysis. In fact, if we seek to create beauty imitation is a logical place to begin.However, when you first experience true heart stopping beauty, your mind rests and your heart fills, and your soul can’t help but feel at peace.