More Everyday JoyWords for Hard Times

Five Beautiful Things

By August 7, 2013 11 Comments

This summer as I’m taking some downtime, I’m sharing some of my favorite and your favorite posts from the archives. Hope you enjoy these selections!

Love, Tara

Five Beautiful Things

I’m always looking for new ways to wake up to the life in front of me. This week I started playing with the idea of “five beautiful things.”

In any moment, particularly if I’m feeling stressed or out of sorts, I look for five beautiful things in my midst. I really look at them. I take them in—not just with my eyes but also with my mind and my breath and my heart. I spend a few moments just looking.

This morning, I’m in a bustling café. It isn’t particularly beautiful. But in a moment of feeling kind of bummed out and rushed and anxious, the thought popped up: look for five beautiful things.

The moment I raise my head, I see the red-gorgeous leaves of the trees out the window. Intensely rich as bowl of dark cherries. Hovering slightly in the wind, patiently waiting for our attention. Bold and unapologetic as they wait. Had I looked at them before this morning? Yes. Had I seen them? No.

Next, the face two seats down from me at the café. Clear, pale, freckled, trustworthy, unusual and familiar feeling all at once. Beautiful.

The bright green skirt of the woman walking past me, the green of summer.

The photos above the espresso bar, which I’ve seen at least a hundred times before. Three in a row, frame in arches. In looking at them I start to appreciate the miracle of someone taking the photograph, and the miracle of someone else framing them that way, the miracle of someone conceiving a design for this place. And then I start to feel the miracle that it is all here, and I’m here too. The miracle of a Saturday morning that is, that is now.

By the time it’s time to look for item number five, everything is looking beautiful. The white coffee cup is beautiful. It’s all starting to feel vibrating and alive and miraculous and now. (And I’m not even caffeinated yet).

So number five is, shockingly, the stop sign, right outside the window. It’s become stunningly gorgeous sometime in the past five minutes. It probably couldn’t have been beautiful thing number one, but through these eyes it’s a vibrant red. It’s the perfect shape composed above the green vines below and the brick building behind.

I’m left with this: There’s a way in which life is about looking. Looking closely. Looking with the intention to see beauty. Looking with curiosity and alertness. Looking with reverence for now.

Looking changes everything.

Right now, before you finish reading this post, and click over to the next window, will you find five things of beauty, of striking mystery, in your midst? Five things that are amazing out of their aliveness? Start with one or two, and take them in through your eyes, your mind, your heart and your breath. Spend a few moments with each, and the rest will take care of themselves.

What does “life is about looking” mean to you?



Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • How beautiful, Tara! I absolutely LOVE this article. I just did this and here’s what I found:
    1. My engagement ring is beautiful
    2. The picture of my husband on my desk at work is stunning… both of these remind me of just how lucky I am to have this wonderful man in my life
    3. I’m sitting here where it’s warm. My toes are warm because I keep them wrapped in a blanket even at work. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to do that. Warm feet are beautiful.
    4. My eyes fall on another picture I have on my desk, of me and my parents. I miss my parents; I hope they’re well; I’m so lucky to have them in my life. They look so beautiful together.
    5. I am enjoying a warm cup of tea. The steam, the flavors, the color… everything is beautiful and oh so nourishing to my body – my sanctuary.

    Wow, this really was a refreshing and wonderful exercise. A beautiful twist on gratitude, looking for beauty. Thank you for sharing, Tara! I will take this with me and use it without shame 🙂

  • How did I miss this one? So simple and so effective. You’ve also hit on the key – by the time you got to the stop sign, you were seeing as beautiful what you might not have normally considered beautiful.

  • Stacy J. says:

    Thanks Tara,

    I never realized before how beautiful and sweet the soft gray pads on the bottom of my cats feet were.

    And when I glanced up to look at the picture across the room, the sun created a glare and I was surprised to see my own reflection. Instead of looking at myself critically,as I often do… I softened my focus and thought… “what a beautiful smile.”

    Thank you

  • Brilliant. For the past several years when I find myself feeling stressed or out of sorts, I’ve been doing something I call Five Things. I quickly name five things I’m grateful for right then – big, small, whatever. It could be my four wonderful farm dogs, or having plenty of homegrown food on the table, or simply the fact that I’m not sitting in traffic.

    It’s amazing how fast you can come up with five things (often I keep going past five), and how much they can change your current perspective.

    I love this ‘right in front of you’ variation on the theme. I just tried it (so many beautiful things surround my computer work space!) and plan on continuing to keep looking and changing everything. Once again Tara, thank you. 🙂

  • monica says:

    Life everymorning

    1. walk to my car- appreciate the beauty of the park, sky.. (even when it’s beyond hot 110 phx arizona)
    2. listen to the radio, laugh
    3. watch others around me, my grandmother would always say, no matther what, there is always somebody in a worst place than you, be greatful.
    4. received text from my oldest son, loves his new job… made my heart smile.
    5. looking forward to passion, some time soon…:)))))))))

  • Lisa Froman says:

    I am so happy I found your site. I’m grateful to the friend who sent me the link. Yes, what a beautiful twist on gratitude. Exquisite. Thank you for this lesson.

  • I do this whenever I’m feeling a bit down or overwhelmed – it always works and my appreciation for everything and everyone and well, life continues to expand.

    So glad I found you and your site!

  • Martina says:

    As I read this, I started to remember a street in Upper Queen Anne, Seattle – a beautiful cafe in our hotel.
    It dawned on me.. when we are on vacation, our eyes are constantly searching and inhaling beauty and wonder. It seems a perfectly natural thing to do.
    But when we come home, life “begins” again and we stop looking that things. Is it because we have too many other things on our minds.. or do we just get lazy? Hmmmm…..
    p.s. thank you for your posts.. you always make me think and remember what is important in the most beautiful ways!

  • Jennifer Schoubye says:

    Thank you for the lovely words and inspiration. It is funny how life sometimes creates links. Just today I wrote a post about how I was losing touch with my inspiration, and used a similar method to get back in touch with the wonder of the world and get my inspiration flowing again. I only focussed on appreciating one thing however – now I am inspired to up the number 🙂

  • Kim Whalen says:

    Dear Tara
    Before I read this I was mesmerized by the beauty surrounding me in my garden. When I looked for five more things I found them contained in the beautiful words contained in your post. Thank you for sharing. Your work continues to inspire me.

    1) Bold and unapologetic … This is how I want to move forward in my life. Courageous and confident and shining and sharing my brilliance with the world. A beautiful way to live.

    2) Intensely rich… Savouring the beautiful, intensely rich moments of beauty, love, compassion and connection.

     3) the miracle of someone conceiving a design…. that’s ME you are speaking of…. that’s what The Universe has gifted me with… I am an artist, an archaeologist of design, unearthing ideas & bringing
    possibilities, passion and beauty into the light of day.

    4) reverence… I love the beauty and the depth of meaning of this word. I hold in reverence the beauty that is all around me, my amazing body, my heart and soul and those of the incredible people who continue to surround and astound me.

    5) Tara… I hold this beautiful name in my heart. It is the name of my daughter who is one of my life’s most precious gifts. I honour it too because of you, Tara Mohr… for having the courage to share your work with the world especially “A Letter from Your Calling” which touched me deeply.

    Thank you Tara for these five things of beauty and so much more.
    Kim Whalen

We are on a mission to help you realize your playing big dream.
Dive into our resources here: