Beauty, in the variety of ways it is expressed in this world, makes me feel close to the way I am made. A couple of years ago I took a class where we were asked to take a character strengths test to determine where our natural aptitudes lie. I was surprised to learn that my top strength is a “love of beauty.” I never would have thought of that as a “strength” but as I have begun to see it as such, it has become clear that being able to identify beauty in others and the world is a gift that invites that artistry to be known and celebrated. Our truest strengths aren’t always the the things we are good at, but can be found in the things that make us feel more energized and alive.
I am brought more alive every time I see a beautiful sunset or natural landscape or when I hear a song that literally moves me to get up and dance and in the simple arrangement of a few cherished objects on my altar space. It’s not just in the obviously aesthetically pleasing that I am inspired, but also in the ordinary everyday world where I am often taken by what others may not even recognize as beautiful. The deep lines on an old woman’s face that map all that she has lived, the decaying building with broken windows and lacy spider webs growing from the corners or the young man who I saw today sitting peacefully alone on the park bench eating peanut butter out of a jar while reading Kurt Vonnegut. These little bits of beauty not only remind me that I am alive but that I also possess the capacity to create the most beautiful life that I can imagine.
In the Navajo tradition, the spiritual path is translated as “The Beauty Way.” It represents a way of living that respects and honors all of life as our “relations”. Balance, harmonious relationship and interconnection among all things is central to Native American spirituality. To live in “Beauty” is to center our awareness on that which is Sacred in all things, people and the earth. So in this way, beauty becomes a practice of walking in two worlds and bridging the gap between our humanity and divinity by remembering the Source that sustains us all. All of creation points us back to the Creator.
As this year concludes, I invite you to consciously look for the beauty that 2016 brought for you.
Consider your responses to the following questions:
Discovering, appreciating and creating beauty has become a spiritual practice for me. Here is a Navajo prayer that is often woven into sacred ceremony that you can incorporate into your last days of the year. I have been saying it each morning and it is also wonderful to use as a walking meditation:
Today I will walk out, today everything evil will leave me,
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever,
nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
What My Clients Are Saying:
"I know that “life changing” is a bit over used but it best describes how I feel about what Jenny Clarke offers with "The Courage to Create" course. She uses the metaphor of the labyrinth. A twisted turning path with hidden chambers that takes you to the center and then back out again with new insights. I took the private version of this program. The weekly lessons took me to the core of who I am. Along the way looking into some long closed chambers where we cleared out a few ghosts and discovered some buried gems. At the end of the course I emerged forever changed with a new understanding and appreciation of who I am. You can not get lost in a labyrinth as long as you keep moving forward. The journey begins when you take the first step. I highly recommend that you take the first step and sign up for the Courage to Create!" ~L.H.
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