Noticing Beauty Nourishes Us in Unstable Times
One sunny morning I had the pleasure of watching my 10-year old daughter and a group of her peers as they proudly displayed their trapeze skills at their end of session show. I could palpably feel their joy as they wrapped themselves around the bars like pretzels, dangled from silks, and did improvisational dance around the room. In the midst of this, I was struck by the reality of what may lie ahead for these children, for all of our children.
How will the events happening in our world today impact these young ones? Right now we do not know. It really depends on how we, as adults respond to the new administration and its policies.
What kind of a legacy are we leaving? I ponder this as I stay abreast of the latest rollbacks, sign petitions and keep my ear to the ground in order to determine a useful course of action. We must each do this in our own ways, keeping in mind the fact that future generations are counting on us.
As I watched the show, I felt the cold, hard wood of the chair pressing against my back and the moisture of warm tears as they rolled down my cheeks. My fingers moved with a mind of their own. They began tapping on my cell phone as I fervently wrote in-between pieces, (and during a few to be honest). What moved me went well beyond a mother’s pride.
What inspired a moment’s relief from the rapidly changing state of our world was the innocence and joy I saw in a brown-haired, angel-faced, six-year-old girl whom i did not know. The purity she exuded felt like a balm for my soul. I was showered in peace which was a welcome contrast to my feelings regarding things like cabinet appointments, the radical things being said and done by our new President, and the situation in Syria, just to name a few.
Prior to the show I’d had a brief, yet poignant conversation with another parent. I’d asked her that familiar question that we so casually throw out, "how are you doing?" Her response was, “I’m in somatic shock."
How can we deal with somatic shock? Byron Katie, founder of The Work has a powerful approach, “loving what is.”
Love it all. Open wide and let in the pain, the tragedy, the destruction and the incredible beauty.
I did just that. I soaked up the vision of long limbs outstretched as they reached for the moon, and that of the small muscular girls who hoisted themselves up and flipped about. Each was exuberant as they shared their skills with a room full of admiring adults.
They swept by me carrying red, blue and orange tie-dyed silk scarves. The experience was one of being blessed by fairies. I welcomed the breeziness of their movements, their enraptured faces shining as if they had been transported to a distant land.
I had entered into a dream world, a brief respite from the chaotic waves we are inundated by with news briefs and bulletins near constantly appearing on our cell phones.
The possibility for each of us is to drink in these moments of inspiration, so that they may fuel us as we step into right action, as we each find our own authentic response to the locomotive of change that is careening down the track of our lives.
The practice is to bring our attention into keen focus so that we don't miss out on precious windows of timeless beauty which patiently await our noticing.
There are little things happening all around us, like a rainbow bridging between earth and sky, magnolia trees just beginning to bloom, a dog’s wet nose nuzzling on your hand, the warm rain falling on your skin and the rushing sound of creeks and waterfalls overflowing after deluges of rain.
Our job is to pause long enough to receive.
Receiving beauty can be the gateway to a moment of calm, a place to rest, one that will stabilize us and serve as an internal rudder guiding us through the great unknown of things yet to come.