Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily Pilgrimage for Beauty

Last week I delved into the New York Times Bestselling book – Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – thoroughly enjoying every page of her vivid journey for self-discovery through Italy, India and Indonesia. Often when reading a good book, certain phrases will jump off the page that resonate so strongly I feel compelled to copy them into a small black book kept by my bed every night.
The most recent inspiring phrase from Elizabeth Gilbert actually made it onto a post-it note stuck to the top corner of my office computer screen. She wrote, “You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful with life, no matter how slight;” the idea that if you tried, you could find something beautiful in each and every day, and the belief that as receivers of the beautiful gift of life, we have the responsibility to do this.
Whether the small joy of seeing a smile spread across a child’s face or the simple pleasure of eating a fresh red apple in your office cubicle, we are obligated to search for this beauty –especially on the days when we are not sure if we can find it.
I think this could be a meaningful and powerful goal for the year, a kind of mid-summer resolution; making a conscious effort to put aside discouragement and frustration to try and find at least one beautiful thing in each day. With just one revelation of beauty, even the worst day could seem worthwhile, and the most devastating hours contain a moment of peace.
More than just a recipe for happiness, Gilbert suggests this as a calling we all have – a duty we often overlook. As humans we should not only aspire to bring something of beauty to the world, but also work to recognize the beauty that already exists in so many simple, unnoticed places.
I will start my pilgrimage of beauty today to search for something beautiful with life, every day.  My days this summer often feel monotonous and strained as they pass with little difference from the one before; the search for beauty often seems impossible to conduct from a cold, grey office cubicle.  Gilbert calls this my duty however, so I will give my best effort.
Perhaps though, if nothing else, there is beauty in the search for beauty – value in the desire to find something worthwhile in each day and the eternal optimism this represents. And well, today for lunch I did happen to enjoy a scandalously luscious peach…!