“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” — John Keats from Ode to a Grecian Urn
The Sun has, whether we deserve it or not, ended his sojourn in the south and is returning to us here in what we call the Northern Hemisphere, bringing Light and the promise of renewal. The possibility that the world might come alive again and feed us. It’s been my habit to celebrate this miracle every year and this year is no exception. What is the exception is that this year I’ve chosen to start a practice that will last the whole year. At least I’m aspiring to that, and I hope that putting it in writing will help me stick to it.
This year I will be engaging in a practice that I’m calling 365 Days of Beauty. I’m looking at it as a very practical gratitude meditation. (I have always had an eccentric definition of meditation that includes a great many things. My definition draws from the Latin source of the word meditation, mederi, meaning "to heal.” In whatever activity I find healing, I find meditation.) Every day I will take a photo of something in my day, in my surroundings, that I find beautiful. Because what could be more healing than Beauty? The photo will be a visual prayer of thanks and an opportunity to, at least once a day, be utterly present and in a state of wonder and appreciation for the appearance of Beauty in my life and for the capacity — eyes to see, safety to observe, leisure to contemplate — to celebrate it. (And another plus is I get to examine my ambivalent relationship to technology at the same time!)
I invite you to please join me in this simple practice. If you’re reading this after the Winter Solstice (and it’s likely that you are) start your 365 days on an ordinary tuesday. Or your birthday. Or start on March 17th in honor of St Gertrude of Nivelles, patron saint of the fear of mice. Any day will do. Just start celebrating the Beauty of this world in large and small things; reminding yourself why it’s important to be who you are in support of the remarkable place we live. Reminding yourself that what the Internet says is not always true — there is Beauty and Goodness in the world. We see it all around us every day. Let's celebrate that.
I will be posting my photos on Facebook and Instagram. Join me!