There seems to be something that makes us more inclined to see and respond to the ugliness and conflict all around us. How easily triggered we seem to be. Whether it be the failings of others, the bad news that bombards us every day on our phones and screens or the turmoil in our own minds, our antennas seem to be particularly attuned to what we consider threatening.
Yet I would argue that the world is full of exponentially more beauty than ugliness – if only we paid more attention to it.
As I type this, an annoying car alarm is blaring in the background. Yet after a few seconds it stops. The cacophonous noise is replaced by the songs of dozens of birds whose delicate notes previously went unheard.
The beauty and ugliness of life sit side by side. The question is: Where will we focus our senses?
Watching TV? National Geographic is normally but a few channels down the dial from the News.
Frustrated with your child? Take a deep breath and look into their eyes and realize the miracle that you have created them.
Eyes blurred by two many mindless meetings on zoom? Look outside and focus on a tree that has weathered life for longer than you’ve been alive.
Recently, two work colleagues shared content that reminded me of the proximity of beauty to all that ails us.
In one case, I found this post on LinkedIn that shares two incredible stories. The one is about a place in Japan called The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders. The other is a parable of two water buckets. Both are lessons in paying attention to the hidden beauty around us. Hearing these stories is being immersed in two minutes of beauty. You will leave the experience refreshed.
In the other case, someone introduced me to a website called Beautiful News Daily. It is a series of graphics elegantly showing data about progress being made on a whole host of issues that typically we find troubling but now provide a cause for hope. Each piece of beautiful news emboldens us. Reminding us of the old adage from Mr. Rogers. “Wherever you see a problem, look for the helpers. They will always be nearby.”
Both examples that were shared with me, that I now share with you, elevate the beauty that is right in front of us, if we just pay attention to it.
I hope you find beauty this week. I trust that when you do, you will share it with others.