WALKING IN BEAUTY
Ever since I was born, I have been obsessed with seeing beauty all around me. Fascinated by the essence of living things. I was born in Colorado in the glorious Rocky Mountains so seeing the beauty in nature here was easy.Watching the seasons pass through the mountains in waves of colour and richness, each with its unique flavour for the human eyes, nose, heart and skin to relish and consume. The azure blue sky and sparkling sun were my playmates and my teachers. The love I saw and felt for nature all around me was reflected in the love I felt for my family and friends. Life was rich. Life was joyful. Life was beautiful.
When I was 6 years old, my family moved away from Colorado to Cambridge, England. Given I was so in love with the Rockies, I found this move hard to take at first. It was hard for me to find beauty in the grey, rainy skies of England. In the moist, groomed gardens. The eyes of the people. I felt lost for a while. Not wanting to turn outwards, I turned in. I found my joy and beauty in the vastness of my imagination. Here I could be anywhere and anywhen I chose. Here when I ached for the beauty I had known in Colorado, I created my own worlds in consciousness. I went within. And I stayed within. I found my world within more beautiful then any world without. I rejected the world without and spent my time wishing I could fly away to the kingdoms of my mind. When I was 10, my family moved to a cottage in the country. A small, haven amongst the nature spirits. Here I found home once more. I found my universal mother. I found my beauty way.
My sisters and I climbed trees, built dens in the bushes and created fairy tales in the trees. At night, Mother Nature spoke to us in the wind and rain.
I realised that beauty without is very much a product of the beauty felt within. There is no difference and they are one in the same. That we can create beauty in our perception any time we have the eyes to see it this way. I started to find home in my own heart though I didn’t fully know it yet. I created an active self worship of natures cycles and the passing of the seasons as the solitary witch, remembering ancient ways.
I celebrated the beauty around me in sacred ceremony.
We moved again and this time to an estate on the outskirts of Cambridge. Not much money here and much breaking down in the houses and the people. Hard to see outward beauty. Here I learned to see the exquisite nature of small things. How a blade of grass, or beam if sunshine could entrance me. How a fiery sunset or piece of paper in the ground when looked at through the eyes of beauty could captivate me in wonder. A valuable life lesson it was. It saved me often. Caught in my teenage ego stories….playing dangerous games to escape control. My ego wanted to world to be dramatic and black and yet deep in my heart I knew it was not. I knew I had started to walk the beauty way.
The Navajo people have a traditional Beauty Way prayer. I have been entranced by it ever since I was a child and held in its spell more and more as I grow as a woman.
They pray that
Today may I walk out in beauty.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty around me, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
From this point of my life on, this became the prayer at the core of my being. No matter where I was in my life. No matter how dark the challenges seemed. I was always able to see the beauty. See the beauty in the lessons I was learning, in the strength I was gaining, in the experiences I was gathering as I walked in beauty.
Through being arrested and gaining freedom. Through the tangled webs of relationships and breakdowns. Through my marriage and divorce. Through my many changes in career and deepening of purpose. Through good health and poor, I walked in beauty.
One experience of this will stay with me forever. I was visiting my then husbands parents in the Lake District in England. It was a stunning early summer morning and I had got up before any one else. I wandered out of the house and sat in the garden at the top of a small running stream. The sunlight glistened off the rocks and splashed the overhanging plants. The river at the bottom of the garden spoke in soft tones as it flowed past to the lake near by. I could smell the pine trees and taste the dew damp earth. I was one with the beauty of the morning. One with the beauty of the world. I looked up from my morning worship of nature and before me, walking through the garden saw a bright spirit. He (as it was a he) was surrounded by nature spirits of all kinds and was connected like I was to the beauty at the core of all things. He looked at me and said, ‘sister, you who can see beauty in all existence. It is your work to remind your other brothers and sisters of this living truth. Show them how to walk in beauty as you do’.
Slightly amazed and yet completely ‘in love’ with what had occurred this experience has stayed with me in the years since. Despite having moment where I thought I must have been hallucinating, the message from him has stayed strong.
To walk in beauty is to open our eyes and see things and people through the lense of love. Everything and everyone has their own beauty. I believe it’s their soul. The only thing that ever stops us from seeng it is our own beliefs and stories about why it is absent. Why we should fear instead of love. Beauty is both fear and love. It is dark and light. Beauty has no judgement of ‘better than’ or ‘perfect’. It is ultimate perfection perceived in every form.
To walk in beauty is to choose to rise in love with everything around you in life. To choose to see everything as an extension of yourself. To be one with what is.
Sounds hard? Start small. Look around you now and notice beauty shining. From here everything is possible.