Finding Beauty in Strangeness

* I want to keep sharing the tools, mindsets, and practices that can help you during what might feel like a very strange or challenging time. For today…When the big picture of what’s going on in the world becomes overwhelming, practice zooming in to one singular moment of beauty. *

For years I kept a regular Gratitude/Celebration journal inspired by my own Life Coach, Michelle. She said it was for recording all of “the good stuff.”

It’s fascinating to look back on, because this journal also became a time capsule of some of the most challenging experiences of my life when I was going through the worst of the Crohn’s disease, the three surgeries, the botched surgery, and all the complications that followed.

I was reminded of a particular entry from this time period when I was out on a walk earlier this week with the hubs and our furry friend Franklin. I was zoomed in to the moment: the beautiful weather, the sun shining, the feeling of freedom and lightness that can accompany one of those beautiful spring days.

And then I zoomed out and remembered the global pandemic, the world crisis, the strangeness of our current lives. It’s that weird juxtaposition of beauty and sorrow that can exist in the same experience, even in the same moment.

I had this same experience five years ago when I was back in the hospital due to complications from the first of three intestinal surgeries. I had just been in the hospital for ten days, sent home, returned to the hospital days later, only to stay there for another ten days. At that point I didn’t even know that the exact same thing would happen one more time, getting sent home only to return 24 hours later for another ten days.

30 days in the hospital and rewired intestines. That too was definitely a strange time.

But it was on one of those days that I escaped from my hospital room to walk the grounds outside. I’d had temporary ostomy surgery a few weeks prior and no one could figure out what was wrong and why this new rewiring of my intestines wasn’t working. I mostly felt completely fine except for the fact that I couldn’t eat much, weighed about 100 pounds, and was occassionally in searing pain or throwing up bile. So I escaped from my hospital room on this particularly beautiful day and wandered over to the pond on the hospital grounds.

I zoomed in to that singular moment: the beautiful weather, the sun shining on my back, the birds flying over the pond. And when I zoomed back out and remembered the strange and heavy circumstances of why I was there and the challenges that were still to come on this long journey, I was struck by that bizarre juxtaposition of beauty and sorrow.

And I realized that…this is life, this is what makes us human, our ability to embrace beauty and sorrow, lightness and darkness, happy and sad all at the same time, even in the same moment. It was this important and freeing realization that made me feel more WHOLE as a human, able to take in this rich emotional experience of life.

Gratitude/Celebration Journal:
Saturday, July 25 2015:

“I haven’t journaled in quite awhile – I guess I was having a hard time finding the celebration in some days. Tomorrow will be Day 10 back at the hospital (second stay…)! I never thought I would be here this long – just an overnight is what I thought. But I heard a great quote in a movie last night: ‘everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.’

So, we journey onward – that’s all we can ever do. And we find the tiny rays of light and love even in the hardest times. We find the strength we maybe never knew we had – or maybe always knew was there. Struggles can be gifts – in less overtly beautiful packages. They allow us to appreciate the simplest things in life. Give us permission to do or be whatever the hell we want – because we put in our time. Beauty is all around you – it is, and I found some today.”

 

As you journey onward during this strange time, perhaps you’re feeling some element of struggle in some area of your life. Take that in and let it be ok, let it be a part of your rich experience of life.

At the same time, where do you notice beauty around you? Where can you locate lightness in your life? In which moments of this strangeness do you simultaneously experience a sense of happiness?

Practice the idea of zooming in and out. When taking everything in all at once feels overwhelming, practice zooming in to one singular moment of beauty.

Here’s to finding moments of beauty even amidst the strangeness.


 

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