Beauty is everything and everywhere

Week fourteen in 'wake up'

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My first thoughts on challenge fourteen in ‘wake up’ was; hmm! (That’s “Hmm” in a nice way).

Chris was asking us to slow down for five minutes each day and see the beauty in everything. To a certain degree this has been my thought process since heavily falling into ‘wake up’, as far back as the first experiment. The difference with this challenge being I would be slowing right down to take five minutes out of my day to actively look for beauty instead of just stumbling upon it. A good example being the other day when I was walking down a street and a petrol spillage running along a gutter reflected a psychedelic mix of colour that looked like it was from the deepest part of the universe. It looked beautiful but it was something I observed and didn’t actively seek. This challenge was asking me to look for and embrace beauty for what it is and appreciate that beauty is all around us all the time we just need to look for it. Off I went…

Around the back of the pub, the sun was warm, a contrast to the weather we have had and the dull forecast predicted. Birds in the trees sang louder than normal. The twists and turns of trees and bushes, distorted by the winds of time stood proud. Time momentarily stopped and yet I felt I was ‘in the moment’, truly living in the moment. It felt like time didn’t exist only as a concept. I felt transported back to my mum’s back garden when I was first aware of the heat from the sun. Birds in the trees made sounds I was aware of when I was in the early stages of relationships with different women throughout my life, that feeling of ‘lightness’, awakening, feeling loved and anything was possible. This was a beautiful moment that I basked in and longed to be lost in it forever and yet as the birds chirped even louder the dark shadow of ‘work’ reared its head and my fantasy which was ‘real’ and living in the moment were time held no sway was lost – I had to go to work. Collating my thoughts I felt like I’d been on some beautiful trip – wow, was that what my mind was capable of by just observing beauty; embracing nature and letting slip the dogs of time that’s past? Thanks to the sun, the birds, the trees and the sounds around me I could see the beauty of what’s passed. What I’d helped create was beautiful if not long lasting.

Day Two was a miserable day and I had to wonder where I would find beauty? From my window on my break I searched for beauty in something and found it in flickering sheets of clear rain against the dark greens and browns of trees while I was wrapped up snug and warm in my flat. The Malvern Hills so clear on most days were shrouded by the elements and if I looked at this differently it was in a way magical for nature to hide one of its own, like a game of hide and seek. I then realised the cliché that beauty is in the eye of the beholder was true and with a shift in my mind-set beauty could be seen all around me even on a wet and miserable day like today. It was all about shifting perception and to a certain degree seeing the good in things as opposed to finding faults, even in the weather.

My mini revelation that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder was my main thought as Day Three began. From my living room window the weather was bright, the Hills were in full view and it felt like everywhere was alive. I tried to look at objects differently. I spotted a member of staff’s car and remembered all the good times we’ve shared. It’s funny how objects and images can remind you of certain people you associate with that image/object and how the good times flash by recalling the good times you’ve shared. As I indulged in objects twinned to beauty Bobby started grunting for food in that begging way he has done for nearly seven years. I looked at him and he gave me is; “I’m starving Dad” look. Labradors they’re always hungry.

As I was in deep muse the grunting continued which took my thoughts away from the challenge in hand and yet it made me realise; beauty is everywhere, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, seeing beauty destresses and I need to twist my mind-set for the magic to be part of my nature. And yet there was the rub; how do you embrace this new concept after forty odd years of being told to do the opposite. When you’re a child you do see beauty in everything but then that’s knocked out of you along with innocence by the people around you who prepare you for the world around you by catapulting you into the wheels and cogs of the modern and ever changing world. We need to reconnect with our childlike ability to see beauty in everything which is hard when you’re an adult and a cog in the community with a role to play. Bobby’s grunting did not subside and I knew it was time to feed the hungry little monster. Then again Bobby is beauty.

On Day Four I had worked long all day but because I finished earlier than expected I took the unusual step of having a beer after work in our beer garden. I quaffed on a nice pint of Hobgoblin Gold. The evening was quiet and the weather was moody, almost threatening. Traffic was clearly slowing, a whisper of traffic here and there, bright headlights against the disappearing of light. Evening was about to turn to twilight – it was all slightly magical. The sound of wheels turning fast on a bicycle racing along the road diverted my attention. Birds were in full song signalling dusk – true magic in the air – I love the sound of birds!

I gazed at the pub, at the history of the walls, the place. In the background the Hills stood proud boasting more history and beauty than any building the town might have to offer. I admired the colours, the shapes and the shades in the Hills. The Hills were a true constant to the topography. Nearby I noticed twisted trees waiting to flower. They were ugly but in a way they knew with the coming of spring to summer they would captivate their own beauty.

This solitude amidst nature and the old pub made me think about the magic me and Sarah had created not only in the last five years at the pub through hard slog but also the eleven years we had done this job. We had been to the highest highs and lowest lows and back and we were still creating this magic, this beauty. It was then I realised that beauty can also be invisible except to the self. Beauty was nothing more than beauty itself.

Mark Cuddy

Someone who learned to wake up


Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 6 years ago
A lovely reflection on how our attitudes affect what we recognise as 'beauty'. I agree that our understanding of the term can limit us and that the beauty of our own lives should be noted and proudly cherished. A lovely blog to read at the end of the Easter weekend!
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 6 years ago
Jacqui, I love the way you are always succinct whilst I have a good old ramble. When we blog you are like a professor and I'm like an 'old woman' (in the 'classical' sense of the word, ahem) but I like both ways of blogging but I admire the way you say what I want to say but I can't say it in a shorter way (there I go again). What I'm trying to say is; thank you for your kind words. It's like being back in school when (on the odd occasion) the teacher used to put a star next to a piece of writing I'd done making me feel all chuffed. So thank you Mrs Jacqui (wow, suddenly I'm back in the seventies wearing my parka and thinking how beautiful the word is). Mark
Go to the profile of Vanessa
almost 6 years ago
I can almost hear the birds singing - make mine a G&T :-)
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 6 years ago
My round. I'll have a pint of cask ale, yours is a G&T, anybody else?
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
almost 6 years ago
Ha! Cider. Pint. Spot on writing Mark, the pub is glowing with beauty! Super job. C x