How is it that we get separated from our engagement with True Beauty? How does it happen and what replaces it?
One example might be as simple as our eating mode. These days we are so separated from our food sources that children think chickens come from plastic boxes or buckets and spinach from a cellophane bag. What a shocking experience for a city kid to cut a wad of spinach from a plant or pull a carrot out of the earth, with dirt hanging from its orange self – and call each fresh and healthy! A quick wash and ready to eat! What is dirt? What is dirt-y? What is all that cement and blacktop? What is it covering up? What is ugly? What is beautiful? What is potential? Who cares and why?
The role of Natural Beauty
The natural world is often a human being’s first introduction to and relationship with external beauty – beauty without. And in our current urban-centric, agri-business culture, most people are on a “nodding basis” only with our natural world. It is something driven by during the commute, a lawn to be mown, the subject of an ETV documentary about an exotic place, a tree in a park. While gardening is a giant industry, and ranked a top hobby of American households, still too many souls receive and participate in too little of nature’s beauty, let alone pay attention to and participate in the magic of its cycles.
Aside from the obvious simple Beauty that a garden creates, the relationships one forms while creating and tending it – with the soil, the plant, the animals, birds, bees and insects, the weather and cycles – are enriching and enhancing. And sometimes annoying and frustrating. Can I put that bit under “character development?”
Some small but powerful practices that help re-introduce us to the rhythms of Beauty might be: turning off the TV (or getting rid of it), ceasing to get your daily “news” from the fear-mongering mass media, or making dinner for a friend once a week or so. Sitting quietly each day (preferably outside) also ranks right up there. The 18 Practices of Beauty review all of these possibilities.
I believe we must help ourselves and others re-learn to consciously connect with the harmonies in our lives. With True Beauty. It is all around us, all the time. Look up. Feel out. Enjoy.