“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
When our daughter was very small, I think she was three, we went to visit a farm where they kept horses. As small as she was, she just stood there staring at them for a long time. The horses walked up to her and stared right back. Eventually, she put her little hands together and said to the horses, “the goodness in me sees the goodness in you,” turned around and toddled off to go and play. The horses also turned away and walked back to their stables. I was left there standing awestruck.
It is inspiring to witness
I could not believe what I had just witnessed. I know the psychological term for it. It was a stirring appreciation of beauty. The emotional effect it had on me witnessing that interaction, however, was incommunicable. At best, I would describe it as overwhelming and humbling. As I sit here typing this blog right now, I still get cold shivers reliving the memory. It was then that I realised that to truly appreciate beauty or excellence, you need to see with your own childlike eyes. That is if you can retrieve them out of the murky cynical bag of ‘adultism’.
See Like a child does
It all circles back to a different type of gratitude, I guess. We take what is around us for granted in a way that young children do not. As adults, we need to travel to majestic places to marvel at spectacular views. Children marvel and shriek with pure delight and joy at the simple beauty life has to offer. It is this untainted appreciation of their surroundings that often make children more psychologically resilient than adults.
Is it not lucky then, that since we are not allowed to travel anywhere during this COVID19 isolation, that we are afforded the opportunity to dust off our recovered child eyes and put them to good use? If you are wondering in the back of your mind, what is this chick on about, let me give you a simple piece of homework.
Take the TRip
Pick something you love. It does not matter what. It could be a person, a favourite coat, an oriental rug, a pot plant, your pet, or maybe just your favourite pillow, if you are feeling that lazy. Look at it, but I mean really look at it. Try to describe what makes it so special to you. Is it the depth of colours, the textures, its smell, the silky feel of its leaves, the shape or the pattern of the weaves, or perhaps it is the soulfulness of your pet’s eyes?
Turn yourself into a poet or an artist, but try to see the true beauty of this prized possession of yours. Once you fully appreciate its significance, turn your attention to other items within your surroundings with that same level of intensity. Notice how beautiful your environment becomes. If you have a garden, go outside and appreciate the sight, the sounds, the smells – indulge all your senses. It takes you from being alive to living.
Go To your favourite animal
Today I do not want to bog you down with any further explanation of a concept that is better experienced than explained, I would prefer you to go and explore with your new eyes. I will just leave you with this extract from Winnie the Pooh, as I believe it explains this concept perfectly.
You can’t be in London for long without going to the Zoo. There are some people who begin the Zoo at the beginning, called WAYIN, and walk as quickly as they can past every cage until they get to the one called WAYOUT, but the nicest people go straight to the animal they love and stay there.
(A.A. Milne, 2006, Winnie the Pooh. pp. i–ii).
P.S. Picture is of my photographer friend, Dee, appreciating the splendor of the quiet before the storm.