I see beauty in everything. Literally everything. This has been both a blessing and a curse in my life.
The sunsets out on the prairie are so exquisite, I sometimes cry in awe of the magnitude of the moment when the sun dips out of sight. But I also find beauty in the ruins of downtown Detroit, a city once full of hope and hustle, now a broken reminder of abandonment. In some ways, the city reminds me of myself, and that resemblance is beautiful to me.
I think every person I’ve ever met is beautiful. I love to go to concerts and festivals, watching people, wondering what this human experience has been through their eyes.
I think elderly people are the most beautiful, holding a lifetime of love and heartache in the wrinkles drawn across their fragile skin. I can’t help but to wonder what they’ve learned here, what feelings they have experienced along the way of growing from a brand new baby into a weathered old soul. Who have they loved? Who has loved them?
At the same time, I think children are just as beautiful. Their tiny little worlds, so full of wonder and learning. Wouldn’t it be great if we could experience the adventure of discovering this world for the first time again? With our senses not yet jaded, minds still open, and emotions raw and genuine?
I see beauty in the pageant queen, just as easily as I see the beauty in a beggar clothed in dirt and hand me down rags. The human experience, no matter who is experiencing it, is awe inspiring and beautiful.
Last spring, I took a very informative tour of the old State Hospital in Traverse City, Michigan. An insane asylum that operated differently than any other facility of it’s kind. Talk about beauty, this magnificent building is a masterpiece of architecture. Most of it has been rebuilt, but we toured the untouched remnants of buildings left to the destruction of time and vandals. The first of it’s kind, the State hospital opened up with a brand new concept in mental health wellness. Beauty is therapy, their motto for this self-sustaining facility where clients were given purpose by taking part in all daily functions. The property was surrounded by beautiful gardens, where patients helped to grow and produce their own food. They also helped to prepare, serve, and clean up. Every patient had a job. There was such an abundance of resources there, that the hospital donated produce to the townspeople on a regular basis. This facility was the beating heart of northern Michigan for many years.
There were no fences, gates, or bars on the windows. People didn’t want to leave. Every ward was equipped with a large screened in porch and ceiling to floor windows, allowing patients to feel the warm healing rays of the sun.
This facility opened at a time when women could be checked into a mental hospital, simply for going through menopause. Their husbands would sign them in and then pick them up three years later or sometimes not at all.
I like to think that the beauty of the facility helped those patients to cope with such cruel abandonment and suppression. I like to believe that they were probably even thankful for the opportunity to live in such a therapeutic place.
Patients who were feeling over stressed were allowed to lay in a deep warm bath, complete with a canvas cover to hold the heat in, stimulating an almost womb like experience. Patients were cared for with great detail. Beauty is therapy. Aesthetics are so very important to our wellbeing. I walked through these old, broken down buildings. I could see through the falling bricks and faded paint. I could see the love that went into creating this oasis of lost souls. I could see the empathy brought forth by the designer of this space. I could see respite and reprieve in days gone by.
When you find beauty in every aspect of your world, your world becomes a dreamy and beautiful place to exist. And when people come into your life, you allow them to see themselves through your own beautiful eyes. And they will then share that experience with the people in their lives. And this admiration for each other’s souls will spread like a wildfire across the land. How beautiful would that be?