“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
Today is a very cold, very gray, beautiful wet day. It’s not exactly raining but everything seems wet. It’s night now but all day was gray and beautiful. It’s very cold, almost like Winter or the end of Fall. It’s bittersweet. I know it’s probably the last day or one of the last days that is cold. I LOVE all four seasons and they all have their blessings and unique qualities. They are all beautiful. I cherish each one and try to always be mindful of the beauty they are. But it’s always Winter inside my heart. In Winter and Fall I rarely wish for warm days. In Summer, there are more days I long for, even crave Winter or Fall.
I’m soaking up every single bit of wet cold beauty I can today!
Today on my way to Buddhist meditation class I was astounded by the almost palpable beauty. It was almost as if I could touch it, not touch the beautiful things but touch or hold the beauty itself. Touch or hold the concept, the very essence of beauty. I felt very alive and felt the heartbeat of the city become one with my own, as if throbbing in my chest, pulsing through my veins. I felt it deep in my bones, tingling in every cell of my body. Every breath I took, I felt I was breathing in the sounds, the sights, the scents, the intense beauty of the city. This feeling is not new to me but it always feels new. I feel it often, sometimes immensely, sometimes more quietly, sometimes not at all. But I can never get used to it. Sometimes this feeling, this life inside disappears for so long I am convinced it will never be back again. Then out of the blue, it comes and tightly embraces me like a long lost friend who promises to always come back to me.
This feeling has always come naturally to me but with practice and certain experiences, I have come to strengthen it. Sometimes it comes out of the blue, like today. And sometimes I can summon it on my own.
One thing that I find that helps me deepen this sense of beauty and gratitude and awe of everything around me, is taking pictures/photography. For people who are interested in capturing beauty in artistic forms like painting, drawing, or photography, whether as a hobby or professional career, it can be easier to see, feel, taste the beauty all around because our brains get trained to see things and look for things to capture in a photo or painting or drawing. Then even when we’re not out looking, even when we are without our phones or cameras or paints and pencils, these little gems jump out at us. The more interested I have become in taking pictures, the more developed my sense of awe has become. I originally loved taking pictures because I feel so much beauty and want to capture & share it, but then picture taking only enhanced that feeling of awe in me.
Photography, painting, drawing, writing…. can all capture simple beauty in a way that makes it stand out more than it does in “real life.” I think many of us generally overlook very simple, very mundane things such as reflections, shadows, a sliver of light creeping through the slit as a result of a door on a dark room being ajar when the hall or other room outside is lit. We often stand in awe or deep appreciation of something dramatically beautiful such as bright, colorful flowers, a beautiful woman in a wedding dress on her wedding day or in stiletto heels and tight blue jeans walking down a street, a dramatic sunset over the ocean waves while lounging on a beach, a baby who is just born, an expensive mansion, an exotic animal, amazing looking food, an incredible looking car, an elegant dress, a flashing diamond ring,…you get the picture! But how often do we look in wonder at a shadow on a ground, maybe a shadow of a tree or person, the way sunlight reflects on signs or cars, the fuzz on a honeybee, the gentle illumination of street lights on a dark street at night, tattered signs, faded poles at busstops with the bus numbers on them, old pay phones, broken glass glittering in the daylight against concrete, an empty beer bottle resting in vibrant green glass, a lemon floating in iced tea, glistening ice cubes chilling a cup of soda….for many, it’s probably never or extremely rarely. But in photography, paintings, drawings, and writing like poetry or novels or descriptions, these things can be beautifully captured and portrayed in artistic forms that can’t help but force us to see, notice, feel the beauty of them, these things we tend to ignore in real life outside of artistic creations.
And for people who engage in these activities, they can help us further ingrain our habit of seeing and feeling the beauty in real life outside of poetry and novels and photos and paintings or drawings. They help deepen our wonder at the things our eyes and hearts catch. They make it easier for simple treasures to jump out at us as we’re walking up a city street, sitting quietly at a riverside, driving on a busy expressway, meditatively peering out a bus window on a dreary gray day or a green day with life blossoming all around.
But not everyone is interested in photography or painting, writing, or drawing. Whatever you’re interested in though, it’s fantastic to pursue it, engage in it, get lost in it and let it reel you in. This can bring you to life, fill you with passion for all of life, enthuse you in general. When we are so happy and passionate in one aspect of life, it can carry over into other aspects, even ones that aren’t so great at the moment. It’s like falling in love or having a big crush. You know the intoxicated feeling when you meet someone you are very attracted to or seeing someone you are in love with? That feeling carries over to everywhere and suddenly life is amazing in ways you never really noticed or forgot about…it can be like this even if we aren’t in love with someone. It’s falling in love with life itself.
We don’t need “big” things, lots of money, kids, or romantic love to feel this way often. These things are great too but we don’t need them to be in love with life. All we have to do is open our eyes, heart, and look, see, feel, stop ignoring the simple things, the mundane things, the blessings surrounding us always. You don’t have to be a photographer, a painter, or an artist of any kind.
“Such a feelin’s comin’ over me
There is wonder in most every thing I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream
Everything I want the world to be
Is now comin’ true especially for me” ~ the Carpenters
Imagine feeling this way everyday or at least very often or even just more often than now.
Isn’t this beautiful?! It just goes to show how someone can inspire us and we can see life through that person’s eyes every now and then even if we aren’t interested in the same things. We can feed off of the passion, life, enthusiasm of others. This police officer is deeply inspired by his wife who is a painter with a passionate thirst for life, and while at work, he wishes she was there. This is out of a fiction book I’m reading called “First Do No Evil,” Book 1 in a series by Dr. Carey Baldwin who is an author, a medical doctor/family doctor, and has like two ph.d’s as well, she’s a wife and mother of multiple children. Ummm…is she like Wonder Woman?! I read Book 2 in this series already, not realizing it’s a series. They can be read together or separately and in any order and still make sense. The same characters appear in the books and there’s some subtle references to other books but the author makes it still make sense just to read one individually. She’s an amazing writer of mystery books. It seems most of her books are about doctors. Usually her main characters are a very strong,
beautiful, compassionate, loving, and broken woman who is 30 something years old, has a very painful past, a medical degree, and gets into trouble like is being stalked and needs help. I love her characters and how much depth they have. They are so realistic. And she’s a doc herself so she knows her stuff! Her novels involve romance, mystery, adventure, and healing. They also involve humor, sometimes I laugh hysterically, uncontrollably. They contain adult content in certain scenes. Very vulgar language at some points, and hot sexy scenes, definitely only for adults. Amazing plots, characters, and endings!
Let’s remember to allow others to inspire us and remember to be the inspiration to anyone we can!
I hope you are having a wonderful day or night wherever you are! Much love to you!