Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Life Enchanted

Photo from State Rhode Island
Division of Parks and Recreation, wwwriparks.com
She captured a photo of the entrance to Lincoln Woods Park in Rhode Island, similar to the one seen here. A light morning mist enveloped the covered bridge, wrapping it in both a welcoming invitation and a cautious mystery. She described how she and her dogs were nearing one of their favorite places to explore, which was a daily ritual in their world. Daily morning walks were often punctuated by ethereal photographs posted for her friends, making one wonder where on earth this enchanted world existed, this world where she lived. Whether the day’s exploration was along a beach or a wooded path, her dogs walked and played on the trails that spilled out before them, while she followed along in rapt step. Each day was remembered with photographs that seemed to record a dreamlike state and not one of consciousness. It simply could not be real.

But it was. It is.

After my friend Elizabeth posted her misty photo of the covered bridge leading to Lincoln Woods Park, I teased her about living in some enchanted wonderland, only accessible by magical shoes or an ancient incantation. An outside observer might, at first glance, be hard pressed to believe that places like these existed, much less a person who seemed to find these places every day of her life. Every single day. The over-stressed, over-scheduled, rush-rush person in our society, of which there are oh-so many (myself included), would likely brush off the idea of such a world as this even existing, as they dash off to the next meeting or event or errand in their frayed-at-the-edge lives. Meanwhile, Elizabeth seems to float through her mornings with a sense of balance and comfort, as indicated by her morning photographs shared with friends.

What is her secret?

Though I have not spoken with her on this specific topic, over time I believe have discovered her secret. Likely, had she simply given me the answer, I would have poo-pooed the idea like so many others, saying something like, “Who has time for that?!?” But over a year of observing, the answer wrapped around me like a warm blanket, unassuming and comforting in its quiet presence.

Ready for it?

She does not wait for beauty to appear in her life. She sees beauty in everything.

Whether it is the way the autumn leaves land on the water or the song of a bird sitting in a tree, she finds something of beauty in each day. Even on the worst days, something of beauty can be noticed. I am reminded of the massive thunderstorms we get in my part of the country, and how the morning after a storm, the sky is as blue and as clear as one could imagine. Even as we clean up the downed limbs and other destruction from a night of wind and rain, the sky is at its most beautiful in those moments.

For many of us, our lives are a push and pull of schedules and responsibilities, a situation that can easily lead us down the rabbit hole of negativity. Yet, I challenge you to take one minute each day – or start with 30 seconds – and notice something beautiful in your life. Put down the phone, step back from the computer screen, and notice something positive.

I’ll start with something simple:  (1) I like the dove gray color of the walls in my study where I write this. The color is soothing. (2) My two dogs are asleep on their quilt on the couch and are curled up tight against each other. George is snoring slightly. (3) I get to write to you every week – and sometimes you read it – and sometimes you reply. (4) The weather is good today so I’ll be able to winterize the yard, spending the day in the sun and fresh air. (5) The woven illuminated heart hanging over my desk still amazes me – I made that!

See? One minute and I got five. They are simple, but they prove to me the existence of beauty in my life, which can serve to buoy up the bad days when needed.

Go find the beauty in your day. 

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