The day I stopped looking for beauty

We’ve all had that moment when you were looking so hard for something, only to find it was right under your nose.  Recently, I picked up the hobby of amateur photography.  I invested in a nice camera, and started making an effort to visit interesting places and look for compelling people and artifacts to memorialize.  This blog features some of my favorite pictures so far from around the world.

I found myself looking for traits in things that would make for a beautiful picture, as if there was a formula.

Then it happened.

As I drove home on a rainy day, the clouds began to give way to the setting sun, and it was as if time stood still.  As if I was all alone in the world, seeing and feeling something that no one else in the world could know.  I pulled over right where I was.  I ignored the cars behind me and I pulled out my cheap cell phone and captured the image found attached to this blog entry.

It was as if I was experiencing beauty, not just seeing it.  I wasn’t on an exotic beach, or in an ancient city, or looking at one of the 7 wonders of the world.  I was less than a mile from my house in the suburbs of Atlanta, and I was gifted a truly indescribable moment of perfect beauty.

That moment has stayed with me. A friend commented that she was glad that i was still enough to not miss that moment.  Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort not to prescribe what beauty is.

Whether you are in a museum, looking at your mate, or in the market for a new one… slow your mind, slow your eyes and explore what you are experiencing as a whole.  What are you feeling?  How is your body responding to the moment?

I have traveled to many interesting parts of the world and often asked myself if my size, complexion, eyes, hair (or lack there of), makes me attractive to different people.  Naively thinking there is some calculus for attraction.  Yet, there are moments I can now recall, when the eyes of a stranger spoke and I missed it.  When my own involuntary smile conveyed my unconscious approval, and I ignored it.

My conclusion.  You don’t really know what experiences await you tomorrow, next week, or next year, but give yourself a chance to have these moments.  Forsake your artificial bias towards defined norms of beauty, and allow yourself to be overtaken by what only you can know as beautiful.

One thought on “The day I stopped looking for beauty”

  1. Beautifully written. Thought provoking. There is a great struggle that exist with letting go the norms of beauty, “as creatures we compare our behind the scenes moments with society’s highlight reel”. – Steve Furtick

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