With all the pressures and demands of modern-day life, who has time for Beauty? There is so much to do, so many life tasks to juggle, so many errands to run, people to take care of, messages to get back to and projects to complete. Will Beauty help me get any of that done faster? You may be thinking, “I’m already stressed out, I can’t make time for one more thing.” We have become so purpose driven and productivity focused, that if something doesn’t have a function or usefulness, we may deem it trivial or irrelevant.
While Beauty may not have the feeling of urgency that we ascribe to those other tasks, it is important, in fact essential, for our well-being, sense of wholeness and balance in life.
Beauty doesn’t have a usefulness. It exists for no reason. There is nothing we need to do with it but stop and absorb it. And that very uselessness gives it power to lift us up above the earthly tasks, problems and concerns of our everyday life to something greater.
Think back to the experience of being stopped in your tracks by an incredible sunset, a moving piece of art or music, a fluttering butterfly, the scent of a lilac or the powerful roar of a cascading waterfall. These moments of beauty interrupt all thoughts and preoccupation with our “to do” list, and instantly snap us into being present. We are no longer in our head, worrying, planning, listening to our own self talk, but are here, right now, captivated by Beauty.
I, myself, never saw the importance of beauty till I was about age 35. I was a type A, driven, Harvard MBA, workaholic focused on getting things done and being “successful”. Till I drove myself into the ground. After a heart to heart talk with my boss one day, where he suggested I find something to restore myself from things at work which I could not control, I went on a journey of personal discovery. I had no idea what could restore me, but I was open and eager to explore what that could be. Little by little, by being open and stepping into things that were foreign to me and of no relation or value to my career, I discovered painting. And art led me to a deeper appreciation of beauty and the world around me than I had ever known before.
Beauty restored me. No matter what your life looks like now, it can do the same for you.
Beauty is the antidote to our addiction to doing. We were meant to be human Beings not human Doings, yet somehow it’s easy to slip into the mode of relating to ourselves as a machine that has to perform and be productive all the time to have value.
The great paradox of beauty is that it lifts us up above our immediate concerns and the everyday circumstances of life, yet at the same time has us feel grounded on earth connected as one with nature. In this way, being in the presence of Beauty has us be in the presence of the sacred, something bigger than ourselves, connected to the eternal. Beauty can console us from our everyday challenges and provide a sense of peace in a world that is anything but peaceful.
We were born to experience Beauty. It connects us with our inner essence. Living my life as an artist the past 20 years, I feel privileged to spend my days creating and sharing art to uplift people. But you don’t need to create art to experience beauty as a regular part of your life. Open your eyes to the beauty that is already around you. Spend time in nature, listen for the beauty in music, have plants in your home, stop and look at art and notice how you feel. None of these things need to take a lot of time or special arrangements. Just being mindful that stopping for short “beauty breaks” in your everyday life can refill your tank to go on with the rest of your day. If you’d like to find simple ways to have more beauty in your life I have a list of suggestions available for free at: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/feel-like-youre-always-running-on-empty/
Imagine a world without beauty. It would not be very inspiring, enlivening or nurturing. The world is beautiful for you. Allow yourself to soak in appreciate and benefit from that gift. Start today!