Recognizing Your Inner Beauty
Inspiration From The Words of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Three years ago I packed up my MDX along with my then 6 year old son, Dylan, and we took off on an adventure. We spent the next 7 weeks or so camping in our national parks and visiting family in the Midwest – driving almost 7000 miles. We had no plans and no reservations. It was crazy fun and such a life changer for both Dylan and I.
Our first big stop was The Grand Tetons. Unbelievable. Majestic. Peaceful. The Grand Tetons are still our favorite park, although Yellowstone and Yosemite and Bryce Canyon and …. are all close seconds. We lucked out and scored a great campsite at Jenny Lake. We pitched our tent and stayed for a week. We would have stayed for two if they let us – seven days is the maximum stay.
For me, a big part of the life changing came with simply being in nature that summer. Unplugging. Exploring and hiking. Having the luxury of being unscheduled and without cellphone reception or connectivity except when in the middle of Jenny Lake.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to compare to the restorative powers of the wild. That is my experience. After a time spent there, I realized that my parched, neglected soul had started to hydrate. Returning to its natural, healthy, resilient and nourished Self. I no longer felt like a woman who had just spent a month – maybe a year? – without water in the desert. I was returning to me. I had been disconnected from my Self for so long, I did not even realize how thirsty I had been.
That journey back to me took a lot longer than a week, but the healing began in earnest there looking up in wonder (and some exhaustion) at those magical peaks. Sitting or hiking with nothing to do but whatever it was that we wanted to do. The beauty surrounding us was breathtaking, restorative, healing. It helped bring me back to myself and reminded me of the importance of being in beauty – natural beauty. Not just for its intrinsic value, but because of what beauty connects with in your own soul.
I found a book in the Park store: Meditations of Emerson, Into the Green Future. Emerson sure had a way with words, didn’t he? I want to share with you his meditation below on beauty. He is spot on, not surprisingly, as he explains in his eloquent way that although you can be immersed in beauty, you will not truly see it or experience it unless that beauty is carried within you as well.
Seems to me that the ability to know beauty and recognize it requires that it be a reflection of the beautiful spark within you. A spark that you also know and recognize and hopefully come to cherish. In its powerful way, nature and its beauty help us to reconnect to what is beautiful and worthy in our selves. Helping us to move closer to self compassion and self knowledge. Without these we are lost on our path and can wander without meaning or true purpose.
Take some time today to really see the beauty surrounding you. Take it in, hold it close. Enjoy. Remember that spark inside of you that is so incredibly worth the time and energy for you to notice. Feed your spirit and remember who you are.
I hope you find some inspiration in Emerson’s words:
Immersed In Beauty
We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision. It needs, by the exhibition of single traits, to assist and lead the dormant taste. We carve and paint, or we behold what I carved and painted, as students of the mystery of form….
For every object has its roots in central nature, and may of course be so exhibited to us as to represent the world. Therefore each work of genius is the tyrant of the hour and concentrates attention on itself. For the time, it is the only thing worth naming to do that – – be it a sonnet, an opera, a landscape, a statue, an oration, the plan of a temple, or a campaign, or a voyage of discovery. Presently we pass to some other object, which rounds itself into a whole as did the first; for example a well-laid garden; and nothing seems worth doing but the laying out of gardens. I should think fire the best thing in the world, if I were not acquainted with air, and water, and earth….
If the artist can draw every thing, why draw anything? and then is my eye opened to the eternal picture which nature paints in the street, with moving men and children, beggars and fine ladies, draped in red and green and blue and gray, long-haired, grizzled, white-faced, black-faced, wrinkled, giant, dwarf, expanded, elfish –capped and based by heaven, earth and sea….
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
(Compiled and edited by Chris Highland, Wilderness Press, Berkley, CA, (2004), pp. 92-93.)