There is really only one way to restore a world that is dying and in disrepair: to make beauty where ugliness has set in. By beauty, I don’t mean a superficial attractiveness, though the word is commonly used in this way. Beauty is a loveliness admired in its entirety, not just at face value. The beauty I’m referring to is metabolized grief. It includes brokenness and fallibility, and in so doing, conveys for us something deliciously real.
It is a shame to be unaware of the shifts and changes that happen every day, every moment, right before your eyes. The little crinkles around her eyes that get ever-so-slightly deeper and wiser. The silver linings of her hair. The wonders of time and how they show their presence in such ways. You may think that a flower is simply a flower. A flower that looks and smells just as simply as it always has. Or that the ocean is simply salt water and blue. The flower is always moving, changing, blossoming, and giving life to the birds and the bees. The ocean’s tides rise and fall with the phases of the moon. The currents change direction. And depending on how the sun hits the water, the colors and shades of blue are in fact, infinite. Everything around you and everyone is always changing. Take time to smell the roses. Take time to watch the tide. Take time to see your love with new eyes. It would be a shame to miss it.
Her delight in the smallest things was like that of a child. There were days when she ran in the garden, like a child of ten, after a butterfly or a dragon-fly. This courtesan who had cost more money in bouquets than would have kept a whole family in comfort, would sometimes sit on the grass for an hour, examining the simple flower whose name she bore.
― Alexandre Dumas-fils, La Dame aux Camélias
I could feel a small polished stone sinking through the darkest waters of my heart. All those deep convoluted channels and passageways, and yet she managed to toss her pebble right down to the bottom of it all.
Ah, well, then you’ve never stood on a beach as the waves came crashing in, the water stretching out from you until it’s beyond sight, moving and blue and alive and so much bigger than even the black beyond seems because the ocean hides what it contains.
It is impossible to express the experiences you have below the surface with words, when water gently caresses your face and body, the pulse decreases and your brain relaxes. You are immediately cut off from the stress and hustle of everyday life when you are below the surface – there are no noisy telephones or SMS messages, no inboxes full of mail, no electrical bills, or other trivialities of everyday life taking up time and energy. There is nothing connecting you to the surface but the same withheld breath that connects you to life. There is only you and a growing pressure on your chest that feels like a loving hug and the vibrations from the deep quiet tone of the sea. It is quite possible that this deep quiet tone is none other than the mantra Om, the sound of the universe, trickling life into every cell of your body.
I learned vulnerability is a bit like those Russian nesting dolls, the ones that get smaller and smaller in size when you twist the top off and pull another one out. In the end, you’re left with the tiniest doll, that one nugget. No more layers to take off. Nothing left but a surprise, the surprise of finding out the littlest doll is the most solid of them all. It doesn’t hide inside of itself.
―Hannah Brencher, If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers