The Way of Beauty is Not Well Marked
But I haven’t even tried to find a map.
I don’t like rough patches. I actually hate them. Then again, I don’t think there is anyone who likes them. Anyone who comes upon a struggle and says, “Yes! That’s what I was looking for!”
I’m having a moment and it’s not a good one. What’s become real for me is that I’ve gotten exceptionally good at seeing these moments for what they are. They’re not an event or occurrence.
There’s just this rumbling. It stirs. Right. There.
I’m not so good at preventing these moments where beauty falls away and you lose whatever you had in you. I am half assing the prevention. I’m not even remotely trying to stave these moments off. So, it’s a vicious circle.
My brain gets spinning. My gut hurts. The world gets a little much. My soft heart feels a little minced. Things stir.
It’s a very real moment when you realize you’re not doing as well as you could. And by well, I mean really well. Not money, not success. I mean wholehearted joyfulness. It may look like it to others and it may be what you want people to see.
But you can’t hide that truth from yourself. It’ll roll around inside you, knocking everything around until you recognize it’s there. It demands your attention.
I’ve had a couple days of knocking around.
The last year and a half of my life has been an exercise in reinvention and rediscovery. The difficulty is not in figuring out the who. I’m already the who. The difficulty is the what. Because our lives are the what.
That what is the details. What do I want. What do I need. What am I going to do. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the details because the world is noisy and I can’t seem to quiet it down.
The noise is drowning out the beauty. I can’t see it right now. I can’t feel it.
In Wild, Cheryl Strayed wrote:
“There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it,’ said my mother. ‘Put yourself in the way of beauty.”
I need the way of beauty but I’m not showing up. I’m calling it in. No one finds joy with the most minimal effort. I’m missing a whole lot of beauty simply because, on some days, lifting up your eyes is hard enough.
And man, the good stuff is out there, isn’t it? So much more so than the crap. The crap is just distracting. It’s the dust storm. It’s loud and big and dirty.
The crap wants your attention. I can’t do that anymore. None of us can because the crap… will… win.
There’s a bold gloriousness in calling yourself out on your own cowardice. You should try it sometime. Life changing. Liberating. Do it. Then cut yourself some slack. Kicking one’s ass is not a noble venture. There’s work to do.
Recognizing lack of effort in seeking out the good stuff is one thing. But, it’s not the only thing.
Beauty shouldn’t require a compass and a GPS device. But, at times, we all need these. It’s the way onto the path and to keep going.
There is only one thing stopping me from putting myself in the way of beauty. If I’m going to do it, I have to get out of my own god damn way. It’s time. The crossroads are pretty. You just don’t get to stay there. It’s time to move. I’m lifting my eyes.
*If you read this and you just said, “Yessssss,” then you might want to check these out: