‘Awakening to Beauty’

Spending time in Nature, attempting to ‘capture’ her beauty through my lens, I can’t help but feel that we are as the flowers, the leaves and all that is awakening just now with the advent of Spring. Each year these bits of Life begin to form, from seed to bud to full blossom. The flowers will open to the brilliance of sunlight glowingly radiating down upon them, leaves will unfurl with the gentleness of a warm breeze. Each will serve its time….until once again they fall away with the advent of autumn’s coolness. 

Is that not our journey, my friends? Fully opening ourselves to the uplifting warmth of sunshine, allowing every pore to be energized with the heat of Divine presence….eventually coming back around to the release and harvest of our efforts, preparing for hibernation and healing yet again. 

I love Irish poet John O’Donohue’s work, especially the cd series he recorded called Beauty, The Invisible Embrace. I was delighted to come across the following excerpt he wrote for the Kosmos Journal back in 2004, which seems to describe perfectly the beauty of Spring’s blossoms as well as the journey of our souls: Awakening & Surrender. That’s it, my friends…..the focus of our work on this planet and the purpose of our presence. Awaken & surrender. Enjoy. xo

Awakening to Beauty 

We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: They frame each day and each life; between them is the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty.

The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere — in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful, for it meets the needs of our soul. For a while the strain of struggle and endurance are relieved and our frailty becomes illuminated by a different light in which we come to glimpse behind the shutter of appearances the sure form of things. In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act. We find that we slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us.   ~ Beloved John O’Donohue, 1956-2008 

(Excerpt found on UTNE Reader)

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Pausing Long Enough to See

I’ve been listening to reflections on beauty by Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic scholar John O’Donohue.  It feels as though each sentence and thought he shares is one to be relished, held close to my heart and remembered for not only hours, but days.  I’ve only listened to 5 tracks in a 4 cd set and already the mystical dance with my soul has begun.  With a rich Irish dialect, John reminds us that beauty is all around us, and in truth we have lost touch with its gifts of sacredness.

Consider the photos I’ve attached to this prose.  The first is of a vibrant, simply elegant autumn leaf.  Its presence here is stunningly real, stimulating our senses to smell the autumn air, hear the crispness of fallen leaves on the ground, see the perfect geometry of the leaf’s veins, perhaps even taste apple cider on our tongues as we feel the gentle breeze.  The image of this leaf evokes a sense of wonder, of connectedness, of being part of a Universe in which anything is possible, where we are loved, nurtured and always held in the embrace of grace.  Is that not the beauty we all seek?  Is this not the deepest longing of our soul?

Take a moment now to see the same leaf through the photo below.  How easily might we have missed something so wondrous, so awakening?  Going about the events and experiences in our day with our “eyes closed,” we miss the most lovely moments life has to offer us.

Allow yourself the space today to see and feel the beauty around you.  Connect to the miracles always happening in our world.  Open your soul’s ears….and listen….to the whispers of your heart….

Gratitude and Love to Rachel Edgar McIntyre for her beautifully poetic photographs ♥