Category Archives: Thought of the Day

What’s In a Smile?

I see that smile, almost full size yet not quite as wide as it should; a touch of sadness in the corners weighing them down, not much but just enough. What’s in that smile that that looks so heavy? Smiles are not meant to carry burdens, they are meant to set them free. I see that smile you struggle to raise and I’m left with a feeling it needs a friend, a friend that understands that sometimes a smile has a past to lift.

I see that smile so slow to appear, not much but just a bit. A little hesitation as if seeking permission “Is this face allowed to smile?” What’s in that smile that makes it pause? What does it say of the heart beneath? Does that heart of yours stall, believing it hasn’t yet earned the right, the right to smile? I see that smile and I’m left with a feeling that it needs a light, just a little, enough to show your heart the way is clear.

I see that smile almost reach your eyes, almost but not quite. It seems to try so hard, wanting to ignite that spark. Yet as much as it tries it never quite hits your eyes. What’s in that smile that holds it back? What’s on your mind that pushes it down? It seems so pale without the eyes and those eyes they still search, for what I know not. I see that smile and I’m left with a feeling that it needs a hand to hold, a hand to remind you that hope had never left.

I see that smile, a smile I’ll never remember. Faceblind I be yet blind I am not. How I wish I could remember these smiles, just one, that would be enough. Instead it fades with the turn of my head. So I ask myself what’s in a smile I can never recall. All I can remember are the feelings it ignites. It’s the one thing you can never hide, those feelings in your smile. Be they distaste, hurt, joy or bliss the smile displays it all. They say your eyes are windows to the soul but your smile, your smile leads straight to your heart. So I wish I could remember a smile but I’d rather remember your heart.

So what’s in a smile?

Only your heart, and yes it still beats.

Photo thanks to Leonid Mamchenkov

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Defining Beauty

I’ve been thinking about beauty lately, because this is my purpose, to show people there is still beauty in this world, to show them how to feel again. Yet how can I do that if I don’t have a good definition of beauty. Something which has qualities which are pleasing or satisfying is too broad, it lacks definition, so I wondered how to refine this definition.

I’ve always been able to see beautiful things, even when the night is darkest, especially because the night is beautiful in its own way. I don’t know what makes me different, why I find it hard to hate, why I can’t disconnect myself enough to see the ugly.

I was looking at a photo of the night sky as I was thinking this, looking at a photo of something most would consider beautiful, yet how many monsters have people imagined living in the dark of night. What is the difference between the night in the photo and the night where monsters live? So in wondering why I couldn’t disconnect myself to hate I had my answer, or at least a part of it.

You see I think beauty is the opening of a connection to the things that please us. It is an illumination of the things we find most satisfying. When we see a photo of the stars above we feel connected to how vast the universe is, we feel connected to the light shining on the world around us. When we don’t bother to look up, when all we know is darkness we aren’t connected. The feeling of being alone and pointless, disconnected, is so overwhelming the mind finds it better to imagine monsters to be connected with than nothing at all, at least monsters give us a purpose, to run and hide.

It’s easy to find beauty in the normal things, a pretty face, an idyllic scene, and children playing. These things connect us to health, vitality, life, the world, freedom from responsibility. We understand these things subconsciously. We can’t help but look at a masterpiece and feel connected to each and every brush stroke, the creativity and imagination that went into its design. Yet there is so much more beauty in the world.

We show stories of the evil miners and their sites of devastation, so much ugly they created. Yet I can’t always see that. Sometimes I am amazed at life, how tenacious and unstoppable it is. I see the life at the edges of this ugly. I see the weeds and the grass fighting the toxic soil with the sole purpose of brining more life after it. Little by little it edges it way towards the center of the mine site, never stopping, relentless. I feel connected to the edge of these mine sites, connected to very primal nature of life. Life took this world from volcanoes and acid oceans to what we have today. It connects me to hope that what we destroy may be undone, what we tear down can be rebuilt. Is this not beautiful?

We see story after story of toxic people, ugly people, people who are different from us somehow, male or female, Muslim or Christian, black or white. They tell me I should be afraid of these people, that they will change our way of life. I don’t watch enough TV to keep track of the people I am supposed to hate next, but that’s not what I see anyway. I see a man who has walked from Ethiopia to Pakistan after the military shot his brother, I see a woman who gives an incredible amount of time to those no one listens too, I see people afraid, in love, sad, happy, hurt, alone and in leading groups. How can I not feel connected to these people, they are like me. Are they not beautiful? How can I hate what is like me, that would be like hating myself and I know I am beautiful.

I don’t know how to connect people with the beauty around them yet, how to connect them with the feelings these things invoke. I see it in everything around me; I see it in buttons, power lines, raindrops, machinery, mathematics and more. I don’t know why I can see the connections in all these things but I hope one day I can teach others how to see more in the world around them. It’s really hard to hate something you feel connected to. I’ll work it out one day but for the moment all I can do is illuminate one beautiful thing at a time and hope others can see the connections I see. I have part of my definition of beauty now, it’s a start, one small step on my journey.

Image thanks to Jason Jenkins

Hope, Beauty and Wonder

We look out at the world today and it can be hard to see the beauty and wonder in the world. Our media delights in highlighting the chaos and disorder. Our politician like to pretend they are our loving parents there to protect us from all the demons in the world. You could be forgiven for thinking beauty and wonder are fleeting and unnatural things, that our natural state should be that of fear and insecurity because there is no hope for this world.

The truth is that beauty and wonder do very much exist in this world. It’s the sunlit dew on the grass on a winters morning. It’s the smile a girl has when her lover crosses her mind. It’s the innocent laughter of a child. It’s the book a husband picks up because he knows his wife likes the author. It’s a teenager madly brushing their hair before their first date. It’s a friend who is there when you least expect it. Beauty and wonder are rarely big things, it’s only the ego of powerful passionate people who try to create beautiful and wonderful objects on an epic scale but for most of us mere mortals beauty and wonder exist in the spaces between the dark.

If you have heard the story of Pandora’s box you will know that when Pandora opened the box she let out all the evils, devils if you will, in the world, sickness, death, chaos, destruction and anything that rides the front page of a newspaper. As they left the box these evils stung her and hurt her. The story continues though because when she looked again hope was left in the box and out it flew curing her pain. The myth of Pandora does not go into how hope could cure her wounds, but I know. Hope has two hands, and in one hand there is beauty and in the other wonder.

Zeus in his godly arrogance forgot one universal truth when he put all the evil in a box and that was that the universe demands balance, always. In putting evil in a box he created hope. All that ugly evil carrying despair and pain, it can’t exist in the absence of it’s opposite, it can’t even be defined without it’s opposite. So hope, carrying beauty and wonder in each hand, was born. Even though Pandora was hurt and stung by this evil it’s opposite was there too. When she opened the box again hope flew out and her hurts and pain were healed.

There is another lesson in Pandora’s story, hope can not exist in the absence of evil. We have a tendency as people to try and capture hope and keep it locked away. To take beauty and wonder and keep it for ourselves but that wont work. In the absence of evil Hope, beauty and wonder wither and fade. They become meaningless without the evil they helped cure. Hope, beauty and wonder shouldn’t be caged or boxed. They need to be held up high and shown to the world so they can grow and reach others who need healing.

If you have found hope in your life, holding beauty and wonder, it is up to you to raise it high. It is up to you when you find people who are trapped in the dark, having faced the evils of the world and unable to see the light, to show them hope, to show them that beauty and wonder still exist. To let hope beauty and wonder heal their wounds. Hope, beauty and wonder are often small things, but the most powerful things in life often are. In the end the only thing needed to balance, to cure, the evils in this world is hope, holding beauty and wonder in its hands.

Photo: Flickr/Michael Hensmann

Wander Through a Forest

When you wander through a forest two journeys are made.

One is taken by your feet as you walk less trodden paths.
Existing in the now, lost in nature, experiencing the world around,
it’s sights, smells and sound gently caresses your senses,
and for a while at least it’s not the destination but the journey.

The second is taken by the soul as it create paths that do not exist.
Existing in between moments, creating connections between the world and thoughts.
Senses, feelings and memories become one in a place that is no place,
and for a while at least the destination is the journey.

When you wander through a forest two halves of a person are made whole.

Magic

People say there is no magic, that every solution throughout history has been found through science. They look at the world as though it is numbers, facts and equations not realizing that magic is everywhere.

It’s not that the pyramids weren’t built on engineering principals and constructed stone by stone. The magic lies in the fact some person took some formless thoughts and through the sheer power of the mind constructed the freaking pyramids.

It’s not that the Sistine Chapel had a roof and Michael decided it needed a coat of paint. Through the sheer magic in his mind he joined millions of brush strokes together and created the Sistine freaking chapel.

If you tell me there is no magic then I pity you. There is magic alright, it is a god like power in your own head that can take nothing and create wonders and marvels that mere physics, chemistry and equations can’t when left to their own devices.

If you tell me their is no magic then I will wonder whether you feel trapped in such a small dull world. There is magic alright and you are the wizard, don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

You Don’t Find Yourself, You Create Yourself

You don’t find yourself. You aren’t some golden nugget lying on the ground waiting for you to discover yourself. You have always been exactly what you made of you. If you don’t like who you are you don’t go searching for a better you. You and only you have been responsible for your own life, for all of your life.

You create yourself. Somewhere in our teenage years we forget to keep asking ourselves what do we want to be. It’s not a job question. It’s a life question. What do I want to be? And then having forgotten the question we then go forth and we laugh, cry and feel but we have no future goals to shape our very beings into the person we want to be. So those things lie discarded as broken moments in our past, as baggage instead of foundations for a person with passion and conviction.

So don’t try and find a better you. Go forth and create that better person. And if you don’t know who you want to be, look around, look at your friends, look at your peers, look at every single person you admire and take those parts you admire and build them into yourself. You were given the power of creation at birth. Isn’t it about time you used that power and created the person you want to be?

The Plight of the Empath

There is a deep loneliness that comes with understanding your fellow man. It is both a blessing and a curse to be an empath. On the one hand they can look into your very eyes and see your very soul laid bare underneath. They can feel your pain, joy, love and fears as if it was their own. They can walk with you sharing a smile; shine a light in dark times; feel your connection to another as greatly as if they loved that other; and they can help you jump hurdles your fears tell you can’t be jumped.

But the curse of empathy is this. They lose their own feelings, having been overwhelmed by others, their own feelings become lost and dimmed. Their simple desire to help others is twofold, one out of need so they do not feel others pain and secondly out of survival to just simply feel their own feelings and know themselves. An empath also has no ability to hate and hurt. They can not hurt someone for to do so is to hurt themselves and they can not hate because how can they hate what they already understand and feel.

So the path of the empath is mostly one way, deeply connected to all around yet lonely because to reveal how deeply connected they are is to scare their fellow man. No one likes someone knowing what their deepest insecurities are, yet an empath knows. But an empath is also one who would never willingly divulge those insecurities; because to do so embarrasses and scares them as much as you. So the empath guides slowly appearing to be wise in the way of the world yet truly they are only wise in the way of you.

An empaths deepest wish is simply to have a few friends capable of returning that connection, to be able to be seen the same way as they see others and to have their feelings reflected back to them. They live a life washed away in the storms of others feelings and as strong as they are they wish occasionally, that just once, someone would hold their hands and let them know their efforts are not in vein and they have a right to their own feelings.