“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
T.S. Elliot, 20th Century poet, essayist, playwright, literary critic and editor
Image from Unsplash by Patrick Tomasso
What makes a good day a good day? What makes a good life a good life?
Take some time to filter a typical day through the lenses of being useful, showing courage, and contemplating beauty.
If you do, you will likely feel a sense of wholeness and warmth inside. I’d bet that you may also be smiling and have a twinkle in your eyes upon this reflection.
Today’s quote was shared by Tim Ferris as a nugget of wisdom he was recently pondering. Consider exploring other works by Tim and T.S. Elliot to enrich your life.
“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.”
—John O’Donohue, 20th Century Irish poet and Hegelian philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Rob Mulally
During a recent morning walk a friend used the phrase It’s a beautiful Day.
Instead of agreeing with him and moving on with our conversation, I let this statement linger and penetrate my thinking and my senses.
Planet Earth is a gem in our solar system.
Compared to any other rocky world, it is paradise where life abounds.
How often do we truly appreciate its wondrous beauty?
How many times each day do you stop at the thresholds in your world to gaze and be amazed at what you see?
Here are some of my favorite nature documentaries:
Planet Earth miniseries (2006), Planet Earth II miniseries (2016), Blue Planet II, Chasing Ice (2012), and David Attenborough’s A Life on our Planet (2020). What are some of yours?
What are some beautiful places close to home that await the wonder of your gaze?
“Beauty does not linger, it only visits. Yet beauty’s visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm, it calls us to feel, think, and act beautifully in the world.”
—John O’Donohue, 20th Century Irish poet, author, philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Avess
On a recent walk with friends, I pointed out what I considered a beautiful blue sky with wispy clouds. My friend Rich indicated that he had not initially noticed its beauty and said it also reminded him of the ocean rolling up on the shore.
How often do we miss the beauty around us? When we do see it, how long do we linger and allow its rhythm to carry us through our days?
How can you more fully experience the beauty in your world?
Consider noting these moments and point them out to others in your communities.
If this exercise proves to be of value, ask them to offer their experiences of beauty in return.
“As we grow older, real beauty travels from the face to the heart, appeal turns to charm, hurt to wisdom, and great moments to shared memories. The true beauty of life is not how happy you are now, but how happy others are because of you.”
Image from Unsplash by Logan Weaver
How old are you?
When was the last time you took a good look in the mirror?
How does your self-appraisal compare when you view yourself from the inside versus the outside?
Without question, entropy is having its way with all of us and many of us are grasping desperately for our younger days.
Today’s quote can be a wonderful way to re-frame our perspective on the aging process.
It helps us see what we’ve been given and gained with all the days gone by.
How can you more fully embrace the process of aging and look to the happiness you have fostered in the lives of others along the way?
Embrace beauty wherever you find it. It can magically uplift your life and sweeten your world.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Clem Onojeghuo
Do you have a sweet tooth? What are your favorite desserts, candies, or sugary beverages?
When and where do you indulge in these treats? How do they make you feel before, during, and after you devour them?
We all enjoy taking in the sweetness of life, and delicious food is certainly one way to do this. Consider — as an alternative to a tasty treat — consuming a little more beauty in your world to put smiles on your mouth instead of putting something in it.
How can you discover and consume more beauty from the world around you?
Who are the people and what are the places and things that uplift and sweeten your life?
Eating a scoop of ice cream during this exploration works even better!
Discover the home in your head. Make it a place of love, comfort, wisdom, peace and beauty.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Julian Hochgesang
Home Sweet Home is perhaps the most common phrase on door mats across America. It’s a hopeful saying we wish were true at all times but unfortunately, we often come up short of its aspirational message.
Physical clutter, challenging relationships, and even our inner demons sometime leave a bitter taste we prefer not to swallow.
Although external factors are not always in our control, much work can be done to clean up the home in our head.
Instead of getting out the vacuum, dust pans, and rags, how would greater love, wisdom, and a peaceful heart help you experience the comfort, beauty, and sweetness you desire?
What actions can and will you take today to bring more of these wonderful qualities into your life?
“Beauty was not simply something to behold; It was something one could do.”
—Toni Morrison, late American novelist
Image from Unsplash by Blake Wisz
My son-in-law Chris did something beautiful on a Friday night a few weeks ago. He made homemade pizza. Discussing his process of proofing special pizza flour for 48 hours and making his sauce with fresh garlic and basil made us all drool as we waited for its exit from the oven. He topped off his masterpiece with mozzarella and locatelli, which brought back memories of my mom from childhood. I devoured four pieces and had to restrain myself from another.
We all took delight in the joy Chris experienced as he created and presented his work of art with love. He now intends to begin baking homemade bread.
How much beauty do you experience each day? Where and how can you create more beauty in your world to please and delight yourself and those around you?
“You cannot have a beautiful life if you always focus on ugliness in others.”
—Debasish Mridha, M.D. physician, writer, philosopher, and philanthropist
Image from Unsplash by Sebastian Herrmann
How much beauty do you see and experience on a typical day? How much ugliness are you observing in your personal and professional communities?
A colleague who happens to be a lawyer recently shared considerable frustration and general unhappiness with the dog-eat-dog, fight-fire-with-fire approach to much of their work, stating that work has become increasingly ugly and that waking each morning to do more of it with no end in sight is crushing their soul.
Where and how can you seek and find more beauty in the people around you?
What shifts in perspective and behavior can you offer others so that they, too, can have a more beautiful life?
“Discover your beauty cracks and all. These are your gifts of imperfection.”
Image from Unsplash by Joeyy Lee
Our cracks, flaws, and mistakes are simply a part of our humanity.
By accepting them as gifts and understanding our imperfections we can also begin to accept and appreciate others for their beautiful humanness.
God doesn’t make junk and he wants us to fully accept and love one another as we are.
It is our daily acts of kindness and goodness that allow us to fill the cracks to be whole and our own unique work of art.
Where and how can you discover more of your own beauty in the gifts of your imperfections?
Consider reading The Gift of Imperfection by Brené Brown