Seeing beauty when life is difficult, calm and joyous is a spiritual as well as a Buddhist teaching that fortunately comes easy to me. Perhaps because I was raised by remarkably open and artistic parents that encouraged me to see the contrast of dark and light shadows in a snow covered forest landscape while driving to Grandma's or notice a mediocre painting of a flower on a wall.
The Buddhist practice of cultivating sacred attention, where you can retrieve what is beautiful under the most dire and mundane of circumstances doesn't mean that you are not paying attention to the joys and sorrows of life but rather understanding that there's a grace in a never ending cycle from high to low to a steady pace of thoughts and feelings to experience. Practicing seeing beauty as a path to everyday healing keeps me attuned to the moment, fosters acceptance and I believe can accelerate healing.
This past February, was chock full of disappointments and pain for me. Yet somehow, I feel like I've been initiated. I've been changed. Like receiving a diploma without the gown. I'm feeling like a part of myself died and another evolution in my journey is being absorbed into myself. I don't think I could have come to this place of understanding my recent experiences without my daily practice of seeing beauty regardless of the situation.
Practicing sacred attention is simple. Start by being still and looking around. Notice what is beautiful without interacting with it. A child after school with his Dad eagerly waiting on a coffee shop line for a cookie while his Dad gets his latte. Notice the sun lighten what it touches even on the greyest of days. See, smell, hear, feel and taste if you can. All you have to do is pay attention. Your thoughts maybe dark, neutral or content however when you notice what is beautiful you become lighter, more spacious and appreciative thus enabling you to process the moment at hand.
Despite of this past month taking a toll on my mind and body, my arms and legs have been recently able to slip into this extreme camel pose variation. Is my heart and all it's front body armor getting lighter? I believe so. I'm feeling my practice of healing and becoming whole with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom is working.
Because of the cold, this layered sweater and legging look worked well under my big black parka, not shown. Layered sweaters from www.zara.com Layered straight legged and loose cut leggings on top from www.carmenandersonny.etsy.com Booties www.ninewest.com gloves www.zara.com bangles, earrings and headband from 3 summer's back www.lailarowe.com