“Fate is purpose seen from the other end of life. When engaged with the true aim of one’s life, looking back can be revelatory. In the end, very little is lost. Once the key is found and the door of the self opens, it all makes sense; the ascents and descents, even the tragedies and failures can be revalued. When the door between the worlds begins to swing, the values of time and place are altered and everything can have renewed meaning.”
— Michael Meade, “Awakening the Soul”
‘Of all psychology’s mortal sins, the most mortal is the neglect of beauty. There is after all something quite beautiful about a life, but you wouldn’t think so from reading psychology books’.
— James Hillman
Sometimes we forget about impermanence. We think that our loved one will be with us forever and we forget how precious her presence is in this moment. Once we’re really there for the other person, that person becomes something very real. When the other person is real, she is a wonderful manifestation of life and we need to let her know that, for her happiness and for our own.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
We long for beauty almost secretly. It seems to have gone missing in our rush to get and spend. Those of us who devote our lives to the arts can’t stop noticing how deficient our culture is in all the possible beauties, beauties of sight and sound, beauties of thought and word, beauties of emotion, kindness and connection.
Something happened to beauty as our contemporary world took shape. It somehow lost its importance. My story is one of search for beauty, starting on the surface when I was young and gradually deepening my perceptions and understanding of all kinds of beauty. My discrimination has evolved over my
lifetime but I still feel like I’m just beginning.
We all need beauty more than we realize. It’s nourishment for the soul, after all. Making a life in an unbeautiful world is an uphill climb. I’ve tried to make it easier by making my nest in the old world where tradition and the arts still hold sway, where celebrations take place in ancient streets, where history lives in the stones.
You could do worse than making your life about beauty. Tenderness, kindness, restraint, compassion, are kinds of beauty. Beauty is not exclusive to the arts and crafts. It first lives in how we think and feel, in the fabric of our perceptions and connections. Creating beauty is considered a feminine talent and maybe it is, but I believe it is essential to humanity as a whole.
Living in France and Italy brought a certain beauty into my life but Mexico mines a different and very unexpected vein of beauty for me. Something more mysterious, more elemental, more emotional, something that penetrates into the realm of soul more deeply is expressed in the way they celebrate their beliefs. Even if you don’t share their beliefs you still find yourself wishing you could.
The Puritans affected our American culture more than we realize. Fear of beauty and pleasure is an unrecognized element in our society, whether we want to admit it or not. We come from an anorexic mindset when it comes to pleasures and beauty. You only have to go to older cultures to notice how they accept the importance of such things for a good life. Europe expelled these people. They were considered sick in the head.
Beauty is not exclusively aesthetic. I think it really starts in the Soul’s need for more connections with life. A heart that sees and creates beauty is healing the world. It’s a noble work.