Last week, I wrote a guest post at Jen Smith’s blog, Reach Our Dreams. The post, Five Beautiful Things, was about a little practice I’ve taken up lately. When I’m feeling bored, ho-hum, stuck, resentful, or bummed out, I sometimes do this simple exercise:
Look around, and notice five beautiful things. Really look at them. Pay attention. Breathe them in.
This practice has a huge effect on me. The world comes alive and vivid when I do it. Everything starts to look stunning, crisp, shining.
My state changes: more energy and optimism flow through me. I’m moved to a state of humbled grace about the beauty of life, the miracle fact of the present and the fact that I’m here, now, alive in it.
The post really resonated with readers, and I was delighted that people tried the exercise and shared their five beautiful things in the comments. I believe that actually running experiments in our lives — not just thinking and talking about stuff — is so important, so it was wonderful to see people try it out.
Their words are beautiful things in themselves. I had a feeling you’d love reading them too, so here they are. If you’d like to read the original post, head over here to Reach Our Dreams.
And of course, please add your five beautiful things in the comments here, or in the comments at the original post.
From Joy…succinct and profound:
A painting done by a close friend, my Eiffel Tower lamp, the angles of my desk, rug, and hard wood floor, the scribbles of my daughter on a sketch pad, and my own hand.
From Trece, beauty in the everyday objects:
The delightful mauve of my cellphone — a joyous marriage of form and function and fun!
The incredibly vivid blue and green of my detergent bottle — an almost each match in tone and hue.
My sable feline Salem’s glossy coat, its sleekness giving a hint to its incredible smooth softness.
How incredibly bright the old lawn is, now that the snowcover has melted — bright enough to almost need sunglasses.
The Easter-like shades of my exercise bands — mauve (again!), almost neon yellow, and bright leaf green!
Such a sense of awakening from Topi:
Just looking around me right now, the sky is a perfect blue, the grass is freshly cut, bright green and smelling wonderful, one of my sons is spraying water from his spiderman webshooter and it’s glinting in the sun like a thousand jewels, the clean washing is moving gently in the breeze, I can smell the coffee my husband’s making for me, I am truly rich and at complete peace with the world (and there’s chocolate in the fridge!).
Moving words from Eleanor:
As I read the sentence about stopping and looking for five things before finishing reading the post, I did just that. I stopped and looked up into the sparkling eyes of my beautiful eldest. Our children are always lovely in our eyes of course but at that particular second, her eyes were extra especially sparkly. I suspect it was because they were sparkling with mischief and fun (she was in the middle of making a drink with tic tacs!) but it was great to just take the time to appreciate that sense of fun and exploration.
I could hear such mystery and stillness in Eugine’s words:
For me being in a dark living room (it’s early in the morning), hearing the noise of my babies tapping the toy, shaking the rattle is the first thing that I found beautiful. I can just imagine their chubby hands discovering new things (although it’s the same toy they’ve seen for months!). I may be more of a sound person… I closed my eyes and tried to listen for beautiful things… the clock ticking in a rhythmic way… the birds chirping… almost getting to five.
From Carlos, loved ones and beautiful books:
1. The shine of the metallic copper accent wall in my kitchen…my wife just beyond it geeking out about the new camera she just bought.
2. The photo of our friend’s two kids that she just showed me.
3. The silhouette of the tree in our back yard spreading across the leaf-strewn lawn.
4. Listening to the cover of Under Pressure by the Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike. (yeah, the song that Vanilla Ice ripped off the bass line)
5. The wall of books surrounding me on both sides as I type this. Books are beautiful.
Eva added these words from Rilke, that capture the spirit of this practice so beautifully, “My looking ripens things and they come toward me, to meet and be met.”
And Archan added from Blake,
“To see the world In a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower…
What beautiful things are waiting for your notice now?