The Navajo (more correctly called the Dineh, meaning “the people”) have a traditional prayer specifically associated with beauty. It goes like this:
As I walk, as I walk
The universe is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beauty is on every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.
Singer-songwriter, Jody Kessler, adapted a beautiful song to that prayer. Her lyrics are as follows:
Beauty behind me, beauty before me
Beauty beneath me, beauty above
Beauty beside me and all around me
Beauty encircles me with love
Are you aware of beauty in your life? When you walk around outside, do you notice the beauty of the trees, the sky, the plants? When you’re inside, do you see beauty in art, in the faces of your loved ones or co-workers? When it’s night, do you feel the beauty of the moon and the stars? Do you appreciate sunrises and sunsets and the beauty of twilight? When there is a rainbow, do you stare at it for a long time in wonder? Do you notice the butterflies in the summer and the song of the birds in the spring? Do you feel the majesty of approaching storms? Do you exalt in the beauty of the oceans and the lakes and the rivers? Do you glory in the changing colors of fall? Do you appreciate the beauty of a fire in the cooler months? Do you love the crystalline beauty of the snow?
When you appreciate beauty, you are adding immeasurably to your Gratitude List. When I pray with thanksgiving, I can go on and on about the animals and plants I’m grateful for. The world would be a much poorer place without the blessing of animals – both wild and domestic. I, for one, am so grateful for every deer, every fox, every wolf, whale, dog, cat, bat, and frog. Likewise, the world would be infinitely less beautiful without trees and flowers – the oaks, sycamore, maples, dogwood, pine; the daisies and violets, the sunflowers, roses, tulips and irises. So much beauty….
When you take a walk, do you notice the colors and shades of the leaves? The sun beaming through them? The breeze dancing with them? Do you notice the birds, the birdsong? Do you find nests in the trees and feathers on the ground? Do you notice the sky? Do you watch the clouds? Do you find yourself trying to describe the shade of blue you see or the colors in a sunset? Do you talk with the dogs and children you see? There really is so much beauty everywhere.
Where else do you see beauty? How about in the laughter of children or the loving touch of a friend or relative or nurse? How about the antics of a puppy or kitten? What about beauty in the courage of firefighters or the dedicated teachers who stay up late preparing lessons or grading papers? What about beautiful music?
When I take the 4-hour bus ride from my home to the Denver airport, I am surrounded by beauty. There is beauty in the tall majesty of the mountains, in the contours of the mountains, in the interplay of clouds and sun and land. There is beauty in the changing sky. There is beauty in the subtle colors of the land. There is beauty in the groves of aspen, in the tall ponderosa, and in the ancient pinyon and juniper trees. There is beauty in the magpies, in the pronghorn antelope, and the gentleness of the mule deer.
When I attend spiritual gatherings, I see the love of mothers for their young children. I can see it in the way they hold them, in the way they touch them, and in the way they talk to them. I am very moved by the physical and spiritual beauty of the mothers I see in my hometown. I am grateful also for the affection I see people showing their pets and I’m grateful for the people who are dedicated to growing organic food.
There is so much beauty around us if we learn to look for it.
Beauty does indeed circle us with love.
I am so grateful for beauty.