“I really do think beauty can change the world.” I clipped these words written in script across a sky blue background from a magazine a decade ago and pasted them into a vision book that I refer to often. The other words on the page are “creative,” “appreciation,” “collaborations,” miraculous” and “out of this world.”
Beauty, like so many words, has some uncomfortable connotations in our culture. Yet I believe the kind of beauty that has the capacity to change the world is strong, powerful, fluid and nurturing. My sense is that beauty manifests differently in each person, like fingerprints and DNA.
Beauty resides far away from war and aggression. I find it most easily in natural settings. On a hike, camping under the stars, sitting with my bare feet in a cold stream, when the fresh, early morning mountain air fills my lungs.
But can beauty really change the world? Let’s just say I’m a believer. Here are some questions I’ve found mighty helpful in my quest to bring more beauty into the world.
What would make this choice, this path, this course of action even more beautiful?
How could this choice, this path, this course of action be lighter, brighter, gentler on everyone concerned and the planet?
Is making this choice or taking this path or action really necessary? I’m exceptionally good at convincing myself that the choices I want to make are absolutely necessary. And, about 25% of the time they are.
I once worked with a Zen IT leader who always began the conversation with “Is this a business want or need?” It was a brilliant method for encouraging dialogue and insight. I’ve found it helpful in all aspects of life. “Is this a want or a need?” I ask myself knowing that as much as I want it to be a need, it’s far more likely to be a want.
Beauty, as I define it, feeds the soul. Feeding the soul — not gorging it — has the capacity to change you and the world in a myriad of “creative,” “miraculous,” and “out of this world” ways worthy of “collaboration” and “appreciation.”
Open, bloom, blossom, flower, grow. The world is waiting for you to walk the beautiful path that’s calling you right now.