Posts Tagged ‘beauty’


Today was a beautiful day.

The weather was inviting, and the people moreso.

I spent wonderful time with my family.

I purchased fresh, delicious food from a local market dedicated to supporting our community.

I paused to appreciate the wonderfully blessed life I’ve had the opportunity to build for myself.

I got to walk among peacocks, flamingos, wild cats, tourists from across the world, and neighbors from across the county.

Today was a beautiful day.


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So, I’ve officially been slipping in my “writing every day” habit I’d been forcing myself to stick to for a while. I forced myself to do it because I knew if I didn’t make a firm commitment to keep a habit of posting every day, I’d fall into the habit of not.

I’ve been very draggy the past few days with the flu, so in the evenings I have wanted to just close myself up and rest in the solitude of my immediate family or my own thoughts. I haven’t really had an easy time thinking of words to share with others.

One thing I have learned over the past several months, though, is that when I sit down to write, I will usually find something to say. Not always something I’m fully happy with, but at least enough to make some kind of connection between my thoughts and words to express them.

So here we are. I’ve had a beautiful, frustrating-yet-rewarding day, even if I’m not quite finding the words to express it.  I hope you have had a truly lovely day, as well!

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I went looking for a koan to write about before bed, and came across this old favorite.

If You Love, Love Openly

In the traditional Zen monastery, it generally wasn’t the done thing for monks and nuns to have relationships. Both monks and nuns shaved their heads, which besides being practical was thought to discourage those heads from being easily turned.

However, this wasn’t the case for a nun named Eshun. Her shaved head seemed to accentuate the beauty of her face and form, and several monks were enamored of her. One of them sent her an ardent letter, insisting that she meet him privately, in secret.

So the next morning after the master’s lecture to the group, Eshun stood up. She turned to the letter-writer and said, “If you truly love me so much, come and embrace me now.”

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Trees gently rustle
Sheltering ecstatic birds
Evergreen winter

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My moment of intentional zen today was while commuting to and from work. I tried to keep from slipping into the autopilot that is common with commuting, for a start. I then tried to slip out of the autopilot that is just part of daily life in general.

I watched the sky as it got brighter, appreciating the colors around me. I admired the trees, and breathed in the sunlight. I felt a deep appreciation for the world and life I enjoy, even if it does involve having to get up in the morning and commute in to work.

This appreciation helped me connect more fully to the start of my day. I figure, to be truly grateful, I need to begin with actively experiencing the gifts I’ve been given. Through this engagement with these gifts of life, I’m feeling more able to share them.

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Gold sun in blue sky 
Feet running on wet green grass
Look! There goes the wind!

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Today, grey clouds came in across my blue sky, but we decided to take a trip to a favorite park anyway. It rained on us, but we stuck it out, since it’s been a long time since we’d been out in the rain.

When the sun came back out, the air was vibrantly bright, and the flowers were more colorful and cheerful than almost ever. I made myself pierce through my own fog that had settled in, so I could breathe in the fresh air and refreshing sight.

For a few moments, I brought my attention to observe only the beauty of the flowers, trees and water that was before me. I felt the sunlight on my face, and the clean air in my lungs. I brought myself fully into that experience, drinking it in to renew me.

That was today’s moment of zen.

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I ran into someone today and thought, “You are so beautiful!”  I didn’t say it though, because so much about her gives her excuses to not see herself that way.  Put her up next to the pics sent up by the magazines as Hollywood’s Most Beautiful Women, and she looks nothing like them, with just about every visual facet you could think of. Plus, I don’t know her, and we didn’t even interact, so it would be very easy to dismiss me as over-eager, disingenuous, vapid… all the ways I know I can come across in text, I can be moreso in person if we don’t connect right…

But then I got back to my desk and thought, “Wow. I do this all the time. I have something to say, and I don’t say it. I think ‘oh maybe sometime when the time is right, when I have the right words’, I will…” and then… well, this blog.  I don’t say it.

So now I really must say that you are beautiful, and I’ll tell you why. You have that spark inside you that is so brilliant, so precious. You don’t show it to most people, probably even yourself.  But every now and then, there’s probably a moment or two where you feel that breath of fresh air, that peace, that glimmer of something more. And it reflects inside of you, and shimmers with that sparklight of transcendent beauty with facets all your own. Most people may not see it, but I do.

The problem is, we’re all set up to respond, “Compared to what?”

You are beautiful. “Compared to whom?”

You are special. “How much… more or less than this other thing?”

You are such a precious gift of opportunity to the world. “Nah, I’ll never make as much of an impact as…”

But that’s ridiculous. We say things like “life isn’t a competition”, but that’s the habit we’re stuck in.  Sure, there’s times when competition is exactly the nature of the game, but we mistake it for the POINT of the game.  The POINT of things is to learn, to grow, to have fun, and to share ourselves with one another as furtherance in those processes.  Sometimes competition is a part of that, but most of the time, cooperation has been proved to be the best way to strengthen the individual through collective effort.  And our specialness is in how we are a part of that greater whole in our very own way, neither greater nor lesser than any other one part.

What’s been holding me back from writing is that I have this way of trying to make sure I’ve got the right time, the right space, the right thing to say… but right, compared to what?  I don’t know what I’ve been trying to compare myself to, but I have been, and really, it’s been completely counterproductive. As a result, I haven’t even been showing up.

So please, let me just say this. You ARE unbelievably precious. I don’t care if you choose not to consciously believe me — I mean I care, because I would be so happy if you did, but that doesn’t change my mind.

I see the light-reflection within your heart, echoed in my own. I can’t deny my own heart, and I hope you find truth and peace within your heart, too.

Because that light in your heart is so very special, I would love for you to see it too.

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Things I’m thankful for:

  1. Massachusetts has elected their first female senator, Elizabeth Warren
  2. Thanks to Wisconsin, the United States of America has elected our first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin, who is also Wisconsin’s first female senator
  3. Maine and Maryland are the first states to affirm by popular vote the right of two people to marry whom they loved, regardless of gender
  4. Minnesota is the first state to reject by popular vote an attempt to deny that right as an amendment to the state constitution
  5. Colorado and Washington are the first states to legalize marijuana with strict regulations, taking us one step closer toward ending the failed War on Drugs and gutting the support pillars of the deadly Mexican cartels
  6. Maryland also upheld a law allowing in-state college tuition for children whose in-state high school attendance and parents’ in-state tax-paying qualifications, even if they weren’t documented immigrants

There’s so much more, to be sure, but these are my top six right now.  I have a very positive and loving view of human nature, and a faith in one another that’s reaffirmed by trends such as these.  The more we’re getting to know the stories of the diverse people around us, the more we’re coming together.

That’s all I have time for, but wanted to share.  Take care!

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So today marks the first official day of my week-long vacation.  I’m staying in town, so it feels “just like another Saturday”, and I’m wondering whether I’m sufficiently enjoying the day, seeing as it is “First Day of Vacation”.

So I’m taking a moment to breathe.  I’m noticing that this is the first truly sunny day we’ve had in a while.  My son is in a handful-but-joyous mood.  I’m feeling fairly rested.  I just pulled a freshly baked loaf of bread out to cool.

Gosh, this is a wonderful day.

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