What Does Beauty Have To Do With Anything?

“…beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it.”

John O’Donohue

Face in the Clouds

“The cry of our times, to awaken beauty” is another quote from John O’Donohue in his final novel Beauty. There is no disputing that our times are crying out. The symptoms of gun violence, political divisiveness, systemic racism, the plundering of the earth for personal gain, and the climate crisis to name a few. To think that to awaken beauty will in any way help to solve these complicated problems seems utterly naïve and simple-minded. But it is because we have neglected beauty that these problems exist.

Take a deep breath and look around. What color catches your eye? Do you hear birdsong? How about the aroma of your coffee? What in this inhale of stillness attracts your attention?

We have the choice to see, to hear, to feel, to taste or smell our surroundings in either a positive or negative way. We can dwell on what bothers us, or find gratitude in what appeals to us. What beauty does for our souls, our stress levels, blood pressure, mood, creativity, communication, memory, brain performance, energy, and pain levels not only improves our personal well-being, but also radiates outward in our relationships with others. The others include our creature and plant kin, all beings on earth. There is a ripple effect on the forms and patterns in nature that is contagious and will be duplicated elsewhere.

Our hunger for more through consumerism and busyness can be satisfied with less. To awaken to the beauty all around us in our ordinary days can satisfy that hunger. We already have an abundance of sunshine to warm us, air to breathe life into us, and the beauty of the creativity of life in the universe. Stop and smell the roses, really look at the flower of a “weed”, pollute less, and eventually you will be rebuilding firefly habitats or planting gardens instead of lawns. You may start moving the insect that came inside back out instead of killing it. You may hunt the deer with a camera instead of a gun or bow.

May you be blessed with the eyes, ears, arms and heart to embrace the beauty in our ordinary days.

Further reading:

Beauty by John O’Donohue

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstien


Find Journey to the Wider We on my album Quiet Beauty at dianewheelerdunn.com/music

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