After a truly terrible year, living with my head down, seeing only the awful and ugly that was thrust into my narrow field of view, I realized (remembered) that no matter how horrible things may get, grace and loveliness surround us all the time. We don’t always see them as we unconsciously stride through our days, getting kids off to school, running to work, caring for an elderly parent, cooking, cleaning, living, but they are there and they can soothe the soul and excite the senses if we allow ourselves to recognize them.
Once I shared my epiphany with others, I began to realize that so many of us exist with our eyes closed to the beauty that surrounds us in our own lives, oftentimes, beauty that we have created ourselves. Why? Why don’t we see it? Is it that we are simply too busy to notice it or is it something more? Are we overlooking some lovely aspect of our day, simply because we don’t recognize it as amazing? Perhaps it is something we see day in and day out, so we no longer find pleasure in it. Maybe because it is routine, we don’t classify it as something to savor or maybe we judge attractiveness and aesthetic value on someone else’s definition of beautiful. Does your living room measure up to the one in the catalog? As a society, we have become so numb and desensitized to the barrage of glossy images that float across our tablets, smartphones and TVs that we are looking for something really outstanding to catch our eye for it to be labeled as beautiful and justified in bringing us pleasure. We, all too often, overlook something of significant appeal because of its simplicity or familiarity…like sunsets. I am guilty of this myself.
However, I am on a quest to change this and prove that everyday life is lovely and that extraordinary beauty is lurking in our ordinary surroundings. I want to alter not only my way of looking at my world but my way of perceiving it as well. After all, as my book club girls recently reaffirmed, perception is reality. My journey begins in my own backyard, a decidedly average home in a sweet, beach neighborhood. While the upscale dwellings I drool over in magazines and website photos are stunning, I will never live there (does anyone actually live there?). I figure if I can regularly uncover something alluring here, among the laundry and the dishes, then beauty is in fact residing in the everyday.
I am not looking to focus on serious subject matter, there is far too much of that working its way into each and every day as it is. I’m looking to share a lighthearted piece on friendships or a yummy recipe, a craft or decorating project you might try, some attractive photos at the very least. The subject doesn’t need to be weighty to matter and that’s the point. Simple things, like a beautifully made bed or an artfully displayed floral arrangement can lift spirits and enliven us. In the right context, at the right moment, the unremarkable can be truly exquisite.
I think I just need to pay attention more and maybe, just maybe, seeing things in this way will become a wonderful habit and transform not only my pretentious artist’s eye, but my battered soul as well.
I hope that my journey will prompt you to look at your own life to find the loveliness that, I’m sure, already exists around you.
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