Inspired by Beauty

irisThe human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere — in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. . . When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful, for it meets the needs of our soul. . . In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act. We find that we slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us. -John O’Donohue (Irish poet, mystic, philosopher 1954-2008)

Beauty arouses our imagination, teaching us to view life poetically: we can see what was previously invisible, the wholeness behind the fragmentation. When we perceive Beauty, our live take on a higher meaning and purpose, for we begin to see a divine order behind our little storylines and dramas; and we start making sense of our lives. – Jacquelyn Small

One spring a few years ago, I was in the middle of reading John O’Donohue’s book Beauty: An Invisible Embrace when I went for a walk out along the bluffs overlooking the ocean near the Russian River in Northern California. The irises were in bloom and O’Donohue’s words inspired me to really look very carefully at the flowers. I wrote the following poem from that experience having found that the question of beauty did indeed speak to my soul.


On the bluffs in sight of the Pacific
the first flags of spring rise, startling
blue arching petals patched with white.

I bend down to feel the waxy flowers,
watch the finely etched black veins
spread across a surface dabbed yellow,

and a sigh sweeps through my body
like air exhaled after a deep dive,
opening a door I had forgotten was closed.

By really focusing our full attention on the beauty of a flower, a vista, a waterfall, a child’s face we lift ourselves to a higher level of knowing and open our imagination to expanded ways of being in the world and expressing what we experience. Our creativity becomes a celebration of the Beauty of the world and we intuit a sense of what it means to be in right relationship with the world. It becomes easier to access the sacred powers of the imagination for the purpose of creative problem solving and co-creating new ways of being in the world. It’s also a great ways to practice mindfulness and being in the moment. Try looking for beauty in places you don’t ordinarily think you would find it.

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2 Responses »

  1. “A great way to practice mindfulness and being in the moment” – Couldn’t agree more 🙂 If we slowed down once in a while to really look at the beauty around us, not only would we see just how beautiful the world can be, we’d also be more relaxed and healthier.


    suzanne Reply:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. The part about appreciation of Beauty allowing us to be more relaxed and healthier feels so true and reminds me of the power of gratitude to improve our lives. Admiring the Beauty around us is another way to practice gratitude.


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