Right now I am interested in beauty and its nourishing qualities. There is a Rumi quote I’ve heard for years and never felt I understood it – until now! It goes like this, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to bow and kiss the ground.”
What does beauty mean to you? Maybe it is the experience you feel when you see the colors in a sunrise, or the texture of the bolts of fabric you feel as you browse the fabric aisles. It could be the sound of your neighbor’s wind chimes on a breezy evening. Maybe it’s a way of moving your body in yoga practice or stretching your fingers through the soil while gardening. What about licking the beaters after you mix up the brownies. It could be anything, truly anything. Rumi says there are hundreds of ways, I would say there are infinite ways.
Infinite ways to bow and kiss the ground…
When we let beauty touch us, something happens. We allow ourselves to be moved by this world, by this life. Sometimes we don’t have the capacity to let anything in but must remain armored. Sometimes this is valid and at other times we just react from habit. Beauty could be seen as a luxury, because some of our fellows are always in unsafe circumstances and cannot let down the guard, even for a moment to smell a flower. Many healing practices can seem like luxuries. We are fortunate to have access to beauty and spiritual practice, let’s remember that, and let’s drink it in! Let beauty in, over and over. Take the moment, now, to look, listen, taste, feel.
How shall we let the beauty we love be WHAT we do?
I love all of those beauty experiences I listed above, so I had to choose one today. My practice was to do my beauty practice before writing this email. I chose to do a small, simple painting. I “copied” a piece I like. I decided that the painting was just for my own therapeutic purposes and the outcome didn’t matter. I still had to coerce myself to do the practice. It took will and humility and kindness and patience. Once I got going, it felt great. I do my best to let go of all the rules, all the expectations, and just nourish myself in color, in brush against paper, in the tender image I chose to imitate. It felt really good. I let the beauty I love be an act. Then I emptied the dishwasher and tried to have the same attitude. I transferred the clean, wet laundry from the washer to the drier (luxury!) and thought about beauty. I stopped for another chocolate chip cookie en route to my desk (another form of beauty, surely) and sat myself to write this letter. Thank you for the inspiration to keep working with beauty.
Now, your practice: let yourself scan through images or ideas of sources of beauty. Pick one thing. Notice how you feel in your body. Let this feeling be what you do today, even if it’s only for 1 minute. Maybe you just think about it today. Perhaps you sing or dance or cook or pick dandelions. Let it permeate you, let it become you. This connection to beauty is part of you. Let it come out and be loved. Bow to it, to yourself, to your connection to everything.
Remember, there are infinite ways to bow.
I am including my painting in place of a recording this week.
Enjoy the beauty!