The Search for Lost Beauty

“This wanting, this drive to consume, is really a drive that we assert for the lost beauty. Beauty is so complete that it is outside of the reach of human language. You just have to be in it.  There is something in being {infinite} that tells me about the absolute humility inside beauty, once you have become one with it. This is what makes this particular lifetime worthwhile, the pursuit of it, and the willingness to die searching or serving it.”

Malidome Patrice Some

This is so true, and so vast, and so deep. Beauty is intangible, and yet we know it when we experience it; it elevates us; it has an energy signature. It can be cross-cultural, as well as specific to a certain locations and periods. It has a vibration, resonating differently within each of us, but, as a devotee of inner and outer beauty Jeanne Releyea says, “Beauty is a Feeling.”

Beauty is like tenderness, it can undo you. It can be so transformative, overwhelming, and heartbreaking that it can bring us to tears. Some people weep during certain pieces of music, in front of artworks, or spending a moment gazing into their children’s eyes. If we have been severely broken or shattered, we may not have the capacity to actually hold the vibration. We may react against it, or turn away, not able to meet this awesome force. As with the genuine erotic, which is a form of beauty because it comes from a core of authentic truth, our culture has neglected this essential human need for living in beauty.

Not everyone has lost this way of living. I remember when I was immersed in Early Childhood Education I read an incredible book on children’s spaces. One of the environments they discussed was a classroom of a Reggio Emilia preschool in Italy. The Reggio Emilia programs are extraordinary. I could totally get on my shoe box here about the primal need children have for freedom and empowerment through  creatively shaping their environments without adult dominance. The Reggio Emilia method allows the children to communally brainstorm and then produce elaborate projects around a chosen theme. The level of collaboration and vision these Italian kids are working at could serve many of our adult institutions worldwide. But we will leave that passion for another post.

The image in the book was of a Reggio Emilia hallway in a sunny, art-filled compound with a beautifully displayed collection of stones. The way these objects were placed, you knew this school was a temple; and everything, and everyone, and every process was a sacred ritual, and an altar. Everyone was allowed to shine. They were operating out of their divinity. We are talking about being in beauty here. Living it.

The other piece of this book that was extraordinary was the sense of play and perspective the author had. To me exuberance, awe, and delight are all pathways into beauty. The author suggested when designing children’s classrooms to get on your hands and knees and crawl around to understand the experience small children would have in the space. This is brilliant. This is about stepping out of our habitual ways of interacting and getting a new view; referencing from a new angle; unsettling our preconceived notions to let new inspirations in. We need to “get out of the way” and open to wonder. Wonder is a natural reaction to beauty, and wonder is transcendent.

I ultimately believe beauty is the merging of the heavens and the Earth . It is transcendent, and that is why it touches us so deeply. It may come through a physical manifestation, a stone, a beetle, a captured image; or it may touch us through heartfelt words, a dedication to a cause, a fierceness of spirit in the face of adversity. We can become beauty through reclaiming that unique brilliance we each carry, a signature which calls to be expressed. When we courageously open to our light, we open the channels to our divinity, as Malidome says , we become infinite.

“Beauty is a form of genius-is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.” Oscar Wilde

I do this in my own work. I essentially get on my knees to meet the earth, the darkness, tunnels, the stonewalls from an altar-ed perspective. Being on our knees is also the humility that naturally flows out of truly being in touch with transcendent experiences. I step out of my every day get-it-done mode and open to the wonder and the magic. The beauty is there. It will meet you. You just have to come play-where are you going to get on your knees today?

Opening quote From:

Orion Magazine, Summer 1998

“To Help us be Human”

an interview with Malidoma Patrice Some by  Melissa Nelson

  2 comments for “The Search for Lost Beauty

  1. Abby
    December 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Oh my Dear, this is sooooo true. I have loves searching and in such hunger for personal, outer beauty and it all makes sense now! My confusion was always the blind eye given to the inner beauty they possess. The eye literally is blind, yet starving. Thank you so much for this piece, the timing is impecable.


  2. BG
    December 8, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I think the appreciation of beauty is one of the best reasons to be around in this human form. Thank you dear friend!


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