Each day of you live on in life produces more evidence that life is beautiful: even when you have to dig really deep to find it.
There are days when sorrow seems to take away the light and life in living. But even on those days we may see the magic of a flower in bloom, a smooth pebble begging to be picked up, a sunrise or sunset; or the miracle of our sky, with it's endless space beyond. Then again, sometimes we get choked up by the beauty of two humans promising to love each other forever, or when we realise that animals have the ability to truly give us unconditional love.
Embracing change can be beautiful...
The garden part is very important to me, being a place of concentrated beauty.
Small is Beautiful
The ocean called to me - it always has, since, as a child, I spent many happy weekends at our beach cottage in South Africa. Oceans are not only beautiful, they are magnificent, and ever changing miracles of life, and awe-inspiring power.
I wanted a place that was not behind locked gates. It needed to have nice neighbours, and opportunity for creative volunteer opportunities in the community. I wanted diversity in my surroundings.
Divesting myself of half my belongings was a necessary, interesting and fulfilling experience. I marvelled at the things I had collected over the years, and the number of them I had not used for many years! I castigated myself briefly for this, then set about selling, donating and recycling many unwanted items.
It was during this process that I discovered beauty in a most unexpected place.
Discovering Planet Earth
A smiling and willing young man aproached, and proceeded to carry my junk into the front area.
I looked around me. The two men working there were obviously busy, and industriously working with stuff that I had not even contemplated before. Hypnotized, I watched things tossed into containers, moved on to pallets, snipped, sorted, racked and carried. The chatting, the smiling, the respectful way of handling, the speed, all awakened a desire to know more about this business. As I looked further down the neat concrete walkway that runs through the building, I felt interested enough to arrange an interview with the friendly owner, Paul.
During conversation I asked "What are the four most important things in your life?" Paul looked at me carefully, but did not hesitate.
2. The second most important thing were his children.
3. Third was lifelong learning. By this time we were having an academic type discussion. Turns out his life had changed forever,after attending a workshop by a motivational speaker. With new-found enthusiasm and direction he bought the company he had been working for, and then sold it when he realised it was not what he wanted.
4. It was the fourth item that really grabbed me. Paul explained that harmony is actually the most important requirement in his life. He works constantly towards achieving this. He said harmony actually underlies all the other important things he had talked about. Without harmony, nothing can be beautiful.
It struck me suddenly that this was a beautiful underpinning of a philosophy that
this man lives every day. He searches for harmony. He gathers it like a
precious jewel, and wraps it into his business. The wrapping can be discarded,
but it will emerge again, as something different.
So if harmony is beautiful, is beautiful then harmony? Are the two in essence just one? Can something be beautiful without being harmonious? I have thought about this many times since that interview, and still cannot answer this question. I mean, I often hear people exclaim about something being beautiful, but hardly ever have I heard someone say, "Oh, how harmonious!" And yet, if you really think about it, harmony might have the greatest importance about judging whether something is beautiful!
The whole thing reminded me of Rumpelstiltskin - a little like spinning straw into gold, except in this case it is taking junk and turning it into gleaming strands of copper!
Small appliances get shrink wrapped neatly onto pallets, and are cheerfully run to the shipping area, where they are reduced to components by another company.
Cell phones shook me up. A huge bin, full of them, discarded by those who need ever more and newer models. Batteries - big ones mostly. They are 100% recycled and emerge again as new batteries. There are different processes for different types of batteries.
Plastics, that we blithely recycle in bins are a real headache. Let's not get started on that one. I’ve already written about it on these pages. Fortunately now there's more awareness of the horror they're creating on our planet.
Office paper for recycling is worth 10 times more than recycled books; books are bound with gum. Beautiful harmony comes unexpectedly into play here too. Some people with developmental disorders love to rip the pages apart for recycling.
They are already paid with government disability grants, so for them it is just the pleasure of working repetitively at something they love, and feeling like productive citizens.
Then there is a gentleman in his 80's, who potters about, laboriously salvaging the copper from motors. It gives him pleasure, and a little money.
Thrift stores, anyone with salvagable junk ( and most items meet this requirement) work hand in glove with Planet Earth.
Laboring with the old to make the new!
I couldn't stop staring at them, fascinated by their sheer obvious strength, and the way they skilfully went about destroying the radiators, retrieving the copper; turning it into a form that could be used to make new radiators.
Maybe the shape that beauty comes in isn't as important as how open you are to discovering it in all its forms on our planet. Another thing that seems to be true is that it cannot exist where there is no harmony.
So whenever you see ugliness instead of beauty, or feel disgust, pain and sadness, harmony has been lost.