Let’s Talk: How to Find Beauty in Everyday Life
As you all might know, I talk about beauty a lot ( #onlifebeauty ). Not the type of beauty that covers magazines, or the products and clothing that we cover ourselves with, but real, unfiltered, magical beauty of LIFE! It seems as we grow into adults, we lose the ability to remain humble and curious, for fear of seeming “ridiculous”, “naive”, or “happy go lucky”. I know this to be true, because sometimes I start to think this way — I allow the cynical, heavy parts of the world get in the way of the beauty that there really is — and let me tell you, it makes life a lot less fun to be around. SO, in this article I’ll be telling you a few ways that I have learned to keep the beauty of life around me, and how to find beauty in everyday life. The cool thing? You barely have to do a single thing. You’ve already got all of the tools you need.
1. Purposefully seek beauty. A few years ago, I started taking creative self portraits. The actual photo-taking wasn’t so much the “beautiful” part, but what I always seemed to excel at was finding curious, beautiful, unexpected moments of beauty all around me in which to take those photos in. I’d find beautiful shadows, streaks of light, curious flowers growing in curious places ; the list goes on. As soon as I stopped taking those portraits however, I stopped noticing these magical moments happening throughout my days. This lead me to a conclusion : we see the beauty that we seek. Having an eye open for beauty, and allowing ourselves to live at a slower pace, gives more room for recognition of the magic that really does happen in front of our eyes.
2. Slowing down. A big portion of why we fail to see these little moments are because we simply don’t take the time to live in their midst. Most of the time we are rushing from point A to point B, all while being hyper-focused on our continuous destinations. Think of this like driving a car. When we drive, just like when we rush, we only perceive the obvious : a stop sign, a big building, the sun or the moon. However when we walk, just like when we slow down, we may come to find little treasures like wild flowers growing in between cracks on the pavement, or messages reading “Are you grateful?” (I truly saw this one day and it almost made me cry!) or families laughing in their yards. Or maybe, we’d even hear a parrot and try talking back to it for a few minutes. Now, I know we all have things to do. But even dedicating a few minutes here and there to be still and observe can greatly influence our day. We will have felt the magic that there truly is, hiding in the cracks. We just need to allow ourselves to be still. Even only for a moment.
“Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down
to look at a flower;
to chat with an old friend or make a new one;
to pet a stray dog;
to watch a spider build a web;
to smile at a child;
or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward”
-Orin L. Crain
3. Exercising our beauty-seeking muscles! Just like any other muscle that deteriorates if left unused, our brains and our ability to keep habits diminish if we don’t constantly work on them. I find that it’s often easy to become distracted with life’s dealings, and in consequence I forget to look for the beauty around me. My muscle fades, and I have to somehow re-program myself to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful things around me. One great way of doing this is seeking for beauty like you would seek for the treasure in a treasure hunt. As soon as you step outside on a lunch break, for example, think to yourself “okay. What beauty will I find around me today?” I promise if you do this, you will come to find that there are magical little moments happening all around you. It just takes looking up and out. And, remembering to do so, especially. Work those muscles!
4. Understand and recognize that the beauty you see is there FOR YOU! What if the beauty that we find is not merely a coincidence, but maybe a signal from the World to us? What if the adorable cat that just crossed my path is a gift from the World, a little hug, a sign of hope, or love, or understanding? When we observe life in this way, and treat every instance with the knowledge that they are more than simple coincidences, we can feel the love, wonder and admiration that comes from stumbling upon so much of it. The other day, as I was shopping for black beans (I really was standing there for quite some time, trying to find the best deal-to-health ratio), a man came up to me. He looked a little roughed up, and while I normally could have gently blown him off, I chose to listen to what this man was trying to say to me. He stood there, and I said “Hi!” and he replied “Hi. You’re trying, aren’t you?” to which I replied “What do you mean?” and he said “You are trying your very best. You are trying to be a good example and do good. I came to let you know that you are doing well. You are trying, and that’s more than most people.” At this point, I had goosebumps and felt my heart melting into a giant puddle. I replied “Really? Thank you. Gosh. I am trying so hard. I really am. I am.” and he simply said “have a good day” and walked away. NOW. What would have happened if I hadn’t given this man the opportunity to speak? What if I hadn’t given him the benefit of the doubt, that maybe he had a message for me? I would have never known. Some of you might think that this situation means little, but I took it as a sign from the World or God (or however you choose to believe!), and that the World knew I needed that message, at that particular time, in that particular way. Because I did need that hope and love. I saw it as a miracle. These instances happen all of the time if we allow them to, if we are open with the world, and if we understand that the World loves us, wants us to succeed, and is constantly trying to ease our burdens with little charms of magic.
If we constantly make room for beauty and then seek it, we find it. It is all there, for you, for him, for her, waiting.
What are some ways that YOU seek beauty? Comment below and let me know!
Ps. Some days are harder than others. You are human. It is okay. Breathe!