I got to spend a beautiful morning outside today. Under a deep blue sky, surrendering to the rhythms of a toddler eager to explore, I pondered today's prompt: "believe."
I used to spend time thinking about what I believe when NPR regularly ran the "This I Believe" series. I found many of those essays compelling and moving, and I wondered what I would write or say on the topic. The only thing I ever came up with was, "I Believe in Beauty."
That's all I had: "I believe in beauty." Nothing about why or how or what it means. It's just something I know: I believe in beauty. Beauty moves me, it stirs my soul, it soothes me, it raises my spirits, it focuses my attention. Beauty is deeply satisfying and nourishing. I don't know why it is so important to me but I know it is.
I have also contemplated how I define beauty. For the most part, I know it when I sense it, and it's somewhat fluid. My perception of something or someone can change as I get to know it, sometimes based on criteria that do not have to do with aesthetics. For example, I have an uneasy reaction to purple lustrife, an outwardly lovely plant, that is a terribly invasive species. For the most part, I seem to have taught myself not to see its beauty.
Sometimes, I consciously challenge myself to find beauty in what at first glance appears ugly or unappealing to me. I think it's a way of not being so quick to judge, of allowing myself to expand my perception, my standards. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
So today, I played with some images of the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful. I realized that in addition to believing in beauty, I also have a strong belief in curiosity and exploration. Perhaps this coming year will be an opportunity to explore why "I Believe in Beauty" and even to attempt to write that essay.
#BlogElul 8 Elul 5773