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February 1, 2017

Beauty in a World Gone Mad.

There is a place in all of us that is untouched and pure—a place where innocence still lives alongside wisdom.

We’re not far-gone just because things change or go crazy for a while or because all the hounds have come out to play. The world has always been crazy, and the people in it have always known tremendous hardships at times.

There have always been wars, greed, poverty, caste systems and horror. When we read a novel, or watch a movie—these things are intriguing. But when we are living them or under the threat of them, they seem more terrifying than interesting.

But if we go back to the worst of times in history, there is a resiliency in people that we seem to keep forgetting we have.

We’re doing so much fighting, and our voices are so brash, they leave little room for beauty.

And beauty is where the shelter lives.

In our favourite songs.

In our favourite smells.

On our favourite path, in our favourite part of the forest.

Maybe it’s being around stained-glass or in baling hay.

Maybe it’s at an old, wooden kitchen table with old, cracked china lit by the glow of a lamp.

Maybe it’s in photographs of our ancestors who went through wars, and had no food to eat, and who faced injustice and hatred in one form or another—and maybe it’s in the art they made, or the bread they baked, or in the songs they sang or listened to in spite of those horrible circumstances. Maybe it’s in how they got through.

Maybe beauty is the back of an old pickup truck on a dusty road, flat land, no hills to be found. Open country.

Maybe it’s in all the memories of those people who fought and won and lost hard battles, and in between the hard battles broke into song.

Maybe we’re forgetting to sing. Maybe we’re forgetting to listen to each other’s songs and hum along.

Maybe we’re forgetting that beauty in the middle of ugly is the shelter.

We seem to be so angry all the time—so busy pontificating that we’ve forgotten the poetry that lives within the dynamics of a family and the friends that have become our family.

Maybe we need their stories of adversity, and their stories of victory and overcoming intolerable situations, and maybe that’s how we learn how to be resilient in these turbulent times.

We’ve forgotten to gather together—and not necessarily for a cause, but just gathering for no reason at all except to be together and live—and breathe and tell stories about our kids, about our families, about their dreams and ours, and maybe we need to sing the notes that are in our bloodstreams. Maybe we just need a campfire once in a while or a teapot.

We can’t ignore what’s happening around us—sometimes life means taking action.

We might have to do, say or write something, stand for something, fight for something—but there are always those moments in the quiet, when all the noise dies down, that we have to remember to bring beauty into our lives.

We can’t live on high alert all the time; most of us seem so stressed out.

We need a haven.

We are each other’s haven.

We need breathing space and tangled limbs after the howling, crying and roaring is over for the day. No matter the circumstances, there is the relief in a moment of stillness, if we allow it in. If we allow ourselves to rest our heads on each other and spill our hearts to each other.

There is beauty to be found in being resilient and in knowing that in the chaos, there is that untouched space in our hearts that remembers how to live life in uncertain times.

We already know how to do this—we’ve always known because our ancestors did it first, and they’re still talking to us. They whisper to us in vague , unnameable feelings and in the stories they’ve passed down.

We’re stronger than we think. We’re softer than we allow. We’re more compassionate than we realise, and we need some silence in a world of noise, so we can fill it with whatever keeps us in touch with our souls and make something beautiful from the grief that has gripped so many people.

“The beauty that emerges from woundedness is a beauty infused with feeling; a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and the cold perfect form. This is a beauty that has suffered its way through the ache of desolation until the words or music emerged to equal the hunger and desperation at its heart. It must also be said that not all woundedness succeeds in finding its way through to beauty of form. Most woundedness remains hidden, lost inside forgotten silence. Indeed, in every life there is some wound that continues to weep secretly, even after years of attempted healing. Where woundedness can be refined into beauty a wonderful transfiguration takes place.” ~ John O’Donohue

 

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Author: Glynis Barr

Image: Flickr/TORLEY

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Glynis Barr