Beauty in the Ordinary

I had been out with my son
going around the neighborhood
selling popcorn for Scouting.
We had to head back inside to
get ready for soccer.
It was a full day.
But as I walked through our front yard,
I stopped when I saw this sunset.

My God,
may I never take for granted
the gift of seeing such beauty in
the ordinary!

Pausing to see the sunset,
a soft spaciousness filled me
as I walked inside our home.

Opening the front door,
I paused and stood there
watching my growing son
as he put on his shin guards and
cleats for soccer practice.

He looked up at me
still talking and carrying on
as we had been a few moments ago.
I nodded and replied,
watching him talk and get ready.

Like the sunset’s radiant hues
of orange and magenta,
I saw my son
so radiant,
vibrating with colors.
I could feel the
soft glow of his heart.

My God,
I stood there in awe
of such beauty,
in awe of this life.

And my only response could be
delight and gratitude.

Lisa McCrohan, © 2017

Back in August, we moved to a new home in a new town.  I expected the new delights of being in a new space, but I didn’t expect this:  the renewed sense of “noticing.”  Noticing the way the morning light softly comes into our bedroom window.  Noticing how wind feels on my cheeks as I get into the car to take our children to school.  Noticing the sunset’s hues of orange, red, and yellow from our backyard.  Noticing the peaceful kind of silence in our new neighborhood.  Noticing the hawks making a nest in the huge weeping willow behind our house.  Noticing the stars shining brightly in the sky as I go to bed.

Moving to a new home opened my senses again to noticing the simple beauty in my day.  In noticing such beauty in the ordinary, I find I feel more connected to Something Bigger than me and the usual worries and thoughts that occupy my head space.  I feel a part of the mountains out our back door.  I feel a part of the wind that blows strongly across the fields.  I feel a part of life with the rising and setting of the sun.

This new “noticing beauty” in our new home and town has opened me to see the beauty in my family.  As I share in the above poem, it was an ordinary, full day.  We had just been out in our new neighborhood selling popcorn for Scouts. As we were crossing through our front lawn, I saw this magnificent sunset.  My heart just instantly opened and my body stopped to notice.  Once inside, I stood there listening to my son, watching him, and I saw such beauty in his way of being.  Delighting in him, I found myself so grateful.  I felt a “inner slowing down” as we got ready to go to soccer practice.

As we went on through the rest of the night, I saw how I had a greater reserve of patience.  I let go of other distractions and just enjoyed my life…my son…this experience of being alive right now.  It reminded me that this life is fleeting.  My son is growing older each day, of course, and as he enters into the tween years, I feel time speeding up.  This all just calls for reverencing the beauty in the “now” – even the imperfect and messy.

I know that the holidays can be a time of rushing, doing, and shopping.  But finding beauty in our ordinary days can open our hearts and deepen our focus on what truly matters.

Here are three ways you can “Find Beauty in the Ordinary” this holiday season:

Do one act of kindness a day.  When we make it our mission to bring a dose of kindness into our world, something magical happens.  We start to notice the elderly gentleman in line behind us at the coffee shop who looks lonely, the teacher at your child’s school who works so very hard and could use a “thank you,” the UPS guy on your doorstep who is so busy this time of year, and the family member who would love to receive a greeting card of love.  When we get our children involved, they too begin to notice the lonely student eating lunch by herself, the classmate who gets teased, and the boy who gets picked last for teams at recess.  In noticing “the other,” our children become beacons of hope, light, and beauty in a harsh, fast-paced, achievement-driven culture.

Do one thing a day that delights your heart.  In my work as a psychotherapist and Compassion Coach, I hear stories of heartache, abuse, and trauma.  This fall, I started to balance my time holding space for these stories with teaching myself how to paint flowers and landscapes.  I have no formal training and I actually like just playing around on my own with mixing colors, trying out different kinds of paint, and seeing what appears.  It delights my heart to go down into our art space in our house (an old card table from my parents in our unfinished basement!) and play for 20 minutes.  My breath slows down and evens out.  And some times, I lose track of time as my daughter joins me and we paint and create together.  Daily delight leads to noticing, appreciating, and cultivating beauty in our lives.

Take a “silent night.”  Recently a few friends and I gathered with the intention of meeting during advent.  My dear friend, Julie, played this song, I Need a Silent Night, by Amy Grant.   The words brought tears to my eyes.  We all could use a silent night amidst the chaos, hurry, and noise of our day.  I get it – maybe a whole silent NIGHT isn’t possible.  But a “silent night moment”?!  We can do that.  Pausing to appreciate the rising sun in the morning, pausing to give our dear ones a kiss and hug (and actually FEEL it and savor it), pausing to watch how the colors change in the setting sun, pausing to sit next to the Christmas tree…these are “silent night moments” of appreciation and noticing beauty that can renew and nourish the soul.

May this holiday season — this Advent Season — be one of noticing beauty in your “ordinary.  What “silent night moments” are you enjoying?  Please let me know.  I love hearing from you!

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Dear Readers, here are a few sweet morsels from my shop that may support you in noticing beauty:

Gems of Delight is filled with short, nourishing entries for each season.  Turn to any page or turn to the season we are in to find encouragement and enjoy a “silent night moment.”

Your Light is Rising is a soulful book of poetry. I divided into five times of day: dawn: hope, morning: courage, midday: strength, afternoon: compassion, and evening: strength. You’ll find simple practices to kindle your inner light with each poem.

Thank you for supporting small businesses and “mom businesses.”  My family thanks you.  I thank you.  Your encouragement and support enable me to keep writing and keep inspiring.  Blessings to you.

Blessings,
Lisa

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