Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Beauty of Life

On my last post, I was gungho about grilling.  That worked out very well for my husband and I until we realized how expensive it is to replace the propane, and we haven't bought a grill to use wood or charcoal yet.  Then, the monsoon season came and it was no longer too hot to cook inside.  It was a good experience and one we plan on figuring out to work for us in the future.  In the meantime, I've grown some habits that I'm going to mention here.

I have found myself doing something lately that is a bit out of character for me. I say out of character because this is not a practice that I grew up with, nor is it one that I've consciously learned.  I first noticed myself doing this when my husband and I were camping recently.  He was taking an exploration walk and I was enjoying the peace.  I found myself thanking the trees for allowing us to camp under their sheltering leaves.  I promised to take care of their soil and be respectful of them in return.  Today, I was chopping some chicken and I began thanking the chicken for giving its life for our sustenance.

I do not know if I truly believe that everything has a spirit that would care or comprehend me speaking to it.  I do know that when I watch the trees dancing in the wind, basking in the sun, or bowing with age, I somehow have respect for this beautiful living thing.  In some I find a kindred spirit of sorts.  Some see chickens merely as food, or a "bottom of the food chain" type of creature.  I do not find chickens majestic or anything like that, but have you ever looked into a chicken's eyes?  I find the same spark of life there that I find in myself.  It is surprising the intelligence and calculating look you can see in a chicken's eyes.

So what am I saying?  I do not think there is a chicken's spirit soaring around my house.  Nor do I think the trees would have moved to take revenge had we not respected their space.  I do think that the life that can be seen in the eyes of the chicken and in the physical and ethereal presence of a tree is the same life that can be found in you and me.  I like that I've come to have such respect for the living world around me that I can speak to it and have peace within because of it.  I feel as though I have become a better person for being able to respect, recognize, and even love the life and beauty in the things we as humans often overlook and deem as mundane.

It is remarkable the change that can take place in who we are when we stop to notice the beauty of life in the things around us.  I am reminded of a movie called "A Blast from the Past" starring Brendan Fraser (Adam) and Alicia Silverstone.  There's a scene where Adam sees the world for the first time after having lived his whole 30 something years in an underground shelter.  He is walking down the street and he looks up.  He exclaims something like, "Wow!" and just stands there gaping.  People stop, looking at him, trying to figure out what he sees.  He is enamored of the sky.  A kid is the first one to acknowledge that he understands.  "I see it too!"  It's just, the sky.  It took his breath away.  When was the last time you looked up and allowed something as ordinary as the sky take your breath away?  My husband and I make a habit of sitting outside.  We enjoy the sky, the mountains around our home, the wild flowers that grow, the food we eat, so many simple things in our everyday lives.  It makes everyday, not so mundane.

So, the next time you walk outside, look around.  Stop to admire the trees growing, offering their shelter, their oxygen to give you breath.  Think about the food you eat, where it comes from, that it was once a living thing.  Allow the beauty of all the life around you fill you up and enhabit your soul, causing a deep peace and contentment.  We can find all this anywhere we go, and allow it to replace all the negative emotions and hurts that we've experienced.  Making the life we have more beautiful.  May the beauty of life bring you peace and happiness this day and onward.  :)