The idea of experimenting beautiful thinking struck a cord in me immediately. I had only seen the title of the course, but decided to join, without knowing the precise contents or specific topics of the program. And what a journey it has been, taking me into an entire new world of beauty, both inside my soul and out there, in limitless space. Thank you, Rita, for bringing me along!
We started the learning process by building our beauty lexicons. This was done not only in English, but also in other languages we know. The sound of some German words - schön, wunderbar - or my native tongue Finnish - sanoinkuvaamaton, tyylikas - did not sound so pretty at first, but repetitively tasting them in my mouth and rolling them on the tongue transformed them. We also searched for adjacent words, phrases that describe beauty to us.
My little sons while they sleep.
The evening sun fading into the lake at the summer cottage.
A gracefully aged couple holding hands while sitting on a bench.
The lexicon-exercise truly opened my soul and eyes and I feel so much richer now that I am using dozens of beautiful - amazing, brilliant, simple, astonishing - words, rather than the few I was comfortable with and accustomed to.
The next week we started making connections between the different lexicon words and building collections with the themes that were emerging. I could immediately see six themes, ENCHANTING, CREATIVE, AUTUMN COLORS, HARMONY, DIVINE and BEAUTY. Many of them are very close to my heart, autumn is my favorite season and I love color and creativity. It is what I live for. We were encouraged to make collages with the collection themes and I made several, some analogical, some digital. Here is a digital one on harmony.
I worked on an analogical collage with my son, Matteo (9) and it was challenging and rewarding at the same time. Challenging because it is not alwasy easy for me to accept input from the others nor to see the beauty they see. But working together with my son taught me a wonderful lesson.
The third week's exercise was connecting beauty with our daily lives and routines. We were to choose a daily activity and see it from a beauty point-of-view. Some chose brushing their teeth, others making their bed. I chose preparing and eating my meals, as all too often I do my lunches in a rush, while working, hardly seeing or tasting what I am actually eating. And when I do so, the food does not satisfy me or my hunger. So since I started with te exercise, I am taking more time and space to fully sink in the colors, shapes, tastes, smells and textures of what I eat. It has been the perfect exercise for me and exactly what I needed as I now feel full and satisfied for much longer.
This past week Rita gave us some questions to think about. One of them, how can today we a lovely day prompted mixed feelings in me, as I received the question the day I woke up to the disturbing news abou the U.S. Presidential Elections. At first it was not easy to see beauty in that particular day. But after thinking about it and also talking about it with Rita made me realize that sometimes we need unpleasant, ugly things to happen in order to truly start appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. And later, when I watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech, I was reminded that we must not give up hope or dive into despair, but keep on doing good, believing in ourselves and in a better, more beautiful world.
Another great question that Rita posed was: How might I inhabit the bigness of who I am? I found two possible ways. On the one hand, it is important to have faith in ourselves and build a healthy, steady self-esteem. There are simple exercises, sometimes just looking in the mirror and telling ourselves that we are enough as we are, does miracles. The second path to me is through other people, having the courage to ask for help when we need it. Also continuing to keep our soul and mind open to new inputs and to learn and improve our skills with other people.
So the answer I found is: Beauty lies everywhere we want to find it. It is enough to stop, take a long, deep breath and look at the world through the right kind of lenses. Whenever we find ourselves in doubt, immersed in a whirlwind of negative, destructive thoughts, we should stop and breath. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder really says it all, the late singer and song-writer Pino Daniele sings "every cockroach is beautiful to its mother" and it delivers the same message. Finding what is beautiful and positive might take some time, but if we are willing to let it in, it will come.