beauty

Beauty (book 18 of 26)

Beauty (book 18 of 26)

September 9, 2018
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in Tip
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Beauty. Pure beauty.

There. I could finish here. Because it’s true. Pure beauty, that’s what this book is – Beauty The invisible embrace authored by John O’Donohue. And the funny thing is – I normally abhor audio books, but this one, read by John himself… now that I might truly enjoy, I believe. His soft-spoken rolling sweet Irish accent is wonderful to listen to, and when I was reading it was as if I could hear him whispering in my ears, that which my eyes were taking in. That’s actually how I was recommended the book, by my former coach. She told me to find the audiobook!

Which I didn’t (not for lack of trying). All the same I am very happy that I bought the physical book instead.

Beauty John O'Donohue“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty, given the current global crisis. […] Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next. The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. Politics, religion and economics and the institutions of family and community, all have become abruptly unsure. At first, it sounds completely naïve to suggest that now might be the time to invoke and awaken beauty. Yet this is exactly the claim that this book explores. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such terrible crisis.”

Beauty was originally written in 2003, yet, upon reading this paragraph, I feel John O’Donohue is talking about this very moment in time. Climate crisis. Refugees. Wars. Natural disasters. Nationalism on the rise in more places than I care to know. As I write this, the voting in the general election in Sweden 2018 is four minutes from closing time. Four minutes until the counting of all votes will commence… and I fear the results which is totally unprecedented in my life.

“The way we look at things has a huge influence on what becomes visible to us. […] Eventually the windows of the mind become blinded by an imperceptible film of dead thought and old feeling so that the air within becomes stale, life lessens and the outside world loses its invitation and challenge. When no fresh light can come into the mind, the colour and beauty fade from life. There is an uncanny symmetry between the inner and the outer world. Each person is the sole inhabitant of their own inner world; no-one else can get in there to configure how things are seen. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we determine what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act; the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul. When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way.”

Based on my social media feed, I am saddened and frightened by what seems to be visible to people. How they see… and what. And who’s to blame. Pointing fingers. Painting doomsday images, where Beauty is long since dead and buried. This is not what I need right now. And I don’t think it’s what you – or we as a collective – need either. We need the opposite:
To behold beauty dignifies your life; it heals you and calls you out beyond the smallness of your own self-limitation to experience new horizons. To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged.

Yes. Please, more beauty. For me. For you. How I wish for you – and you, and you, and you! – to experience more beauty.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

 

 

 

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The strange beauty of humanity

April 23, 2017
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in Tip
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I have more than enough podcast recommendations on my old (and now purely Swedish) blog to take me through each and every Sunday of 2017, and then some. It’s the easiest thing to do as well, to dig up an old blog post recommending one of the many many podcast episodes I’ve written about and still vividly remember and treasure, and simply repost it here.

At the same time, there are so many podcast episodes I’ve not yet blogged about, episodes I am re-listening to over and over again, and in a weird fashion have too much to reflect upon for them ever to make it here. So I vow to myself not to take the easy road today, but dig deep and pull up one of those rich and profoundly important episodes, and to present it to you.

So I give you BJ Miller on On Being with Krista Tippett, an episode entitled: Reframing Our Relationship to That We Don’t Control.

Strange behaviorsBJ knows what he’s talking about, as his life most definitely turned upside down in his college years.

I’ve probably listened to this show five times or so. Fascinated by the joie de vivre so apparent in his entire being, by his love for design and the aesthetics of life, as well as his understanding of life and death and how they relate to one another.

He says: […] I worry, sometimes, that we exist in such a narrow bandwidth of accepted behaviors and thoughts that we really clip off so much of the strange beauty that can be part of the human experience.

What would happen if we embraced the strange beauty of the human experience instead of limiting it?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts, mixing them up with new podcast recommendations, such as this one. 
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Beauty surrounds us

November 24, 2016
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I don’t think I’ve ever experience the beauty of fall as I am this year. And I don’t think fall has gotten more beautiful – I think the change is in me. I’ve never been so aware, never taken the time, to look, to see the colors, the contrast, the smell, the vibrancy.
The energy!fall love 1
I’ve become better calibrated. It’s like I’ve been fine tuned. My senses are functioning, on a whole new level. Whole heartedly.
I notice. I take it in. All of it.
For the first time, it feels as if I fully n o t i c e all the beauty that surrounds me.fall love 4

It’s been there before. Of that I am certain.
But it was never a part of my reality, in the way it is this year.
Because this year, my eyes have opened.
They take it all in, all that is, and always has been.
The texture, colors, smells, movement.
Wind. Sunshine. Dark clouds.
The heaven and earth.
fall love 5The withered hops in the allotment.
fall love 2

The horse chestnut leaves, glowing orange.fall love 7

The black walnut tree. The bark, the lichen, the leaves. And the fruits!fall love 6

The last holly hock, smiling at me, as I pass it. I have to stop. I ask if I may take its portrait. Of course, it tells me, smiling.
I smile back.fall love 3

It feels as if a view has lifted off my eyes. And my heart.
As I take it all in, I can feel myself expand, my awareness, love and gratitude for the beauty of the world fill me up, every cell of me.

Life.
I love it.
See it.
And live it.

Do you notice the beauty that surround you?

Since 2012 I have blogged over at herothecoach.com in a jumble of Swedish and English. This post is a sample of what I’ve been writing – in English – there over the years. As of 2016 all my English posts appear here instead. I hope you enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday, originally published here, and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts.

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What if I forgave myself?

November 3, 2016
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Just finished watching Wild, the movie with Reese Witherspoon, based on the true story (made into a book) by Cheryl Strayed, who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail after her life unravelled following her mom’s death and a divorce.

Two things really hit home. One is kind of soft and mushy, romantic and drippy even. It’s what Cheryl’s mom used to say, possibly her life motto even:

sunset

I especially like that last line: You can put yourself in the way of beauty. And it’s simple, because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So it is possible for me to see beauty everywhere. I can put myself in the way of beauty wherever I am.

The other thing from Wild that I take with me after watching it is something that I’ve reflected a lot upon these past months of the #cleanse4expansion-project: forgiveness.

What if I forgave myself?, I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? […] What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?

For me, the process of looking at forgiveness generates the feeling of expanding, it’s transformative. And I know, there are more areas where the question lies dormant, waiting to be asked:

What if I forgave myself?

Since 2012 I have blogged over at herothecoach.com in a jumble of Swedish and English. This post is a sample of what I’ve been writing – in English – there over the years. As of 2016 all my English posts appear here instead. I hope you enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday, originally published here, and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts.

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