Re-membering Beauty

With a pandemic still traveling the globe, violence in our American streets, hatred and division among humans, the rape of our own earthbody, you might well ask, “What beauty? Where’s beauty?”

“It’s everywhere,” say I. Especially in the plants. The plants still grow, pushing their green lives up through the cement, the droughts, the floods, the fires, the poisons, the human destruction. The animals still give birth. The storms do their best to clear the air and reclaim the natural paths of rivers. Despite all we humans do to ravage the natural world around us, life refuses to succumb. Life quickly attempts to restore itself, to resurrect itself, given the smallest gesture of encouragement from us. That’s beautiful and holy and worthy of my reverence and respect.

But my angst and anxiety rise. I fear that we may push life under one too many times, destroying her ability to come back. I pray often for us humans to see that our modern lifestyle is at odds with life. We are not biophiliacs!  We seem to think it would be easier to begin a new civilization on a barren planet than restore balance to the civilization on this one. It’s taken billions of years for life to create the nourishing abundance that makes our own lives possible now. How can we forget that?

How have we lost our amazement for life’s miracle? 10,000 years ago, we were still in awe of life and acted in ways to nurture its continuance because we knew that meant our lives would continue, too. But modernity and institutions have taught us to distrust our own bodily experience, to distrust our own senses, and there-in lies a problem. Over the last 5,000 years, give or take a few, we’ve learned to live in a world that dismisses intuition. denigrates feeling and ignores the aliveness of everything else. We’ve learned to think of everything else but ourselves as machines, not sentient, responsive beings with lives of their own. And in the last 100 years we’ve found a technological fix for every problem.


We’ve forgotten our fundamental nature. As self-aware beings belonging in an ever-changing body, our own personal experiences offer the only truth we can know with certainty. Trust your bone deep knowing. Witness the interconnectedness of all things and notice how you are embedded in that web.

And there in lies beauty. Isn’t it a miracle that I can write these words to you the reader? How can our brains, encased in complete darkness, bring light to these little marks and make sense of them? How do we perceive light when the photon packets bringing energy from the sun to our optic nerves carry no light whatsoever? How do we envision images in our heads? How does our body turn plant and meat and water into energy on which to move, and experience, and think?  We know now our ability to breathe rests with the trees and the phytoplankton in the ocean, yet we destroy both at a great rate. Are we mad?

Let’s pause for a moment and take stock. Is it not beautiful to be alive in a body? Is breathing not a holy act? Is eating of the bounty of this miraculous living world not worthy of a blessing?

******

Join Kathryn Lafond and me to live into the new story for life on earth: The Forgotten Power of Blessing – a four part series – begins again on September 15th. Contact me to join in: deborahmltn@gmail.com

About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, and eco-psychologist, mother of four and grandmother of eight.
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