I love the sheer power of nature. Even in the most serene of settings, nature never fails to have a profound impact on me. To be honest, several hours before I wrote this post I felt awful. I felt that the only solution would be:
glass bottle of Merlot
- Ferrero Rocher and Lindt chocolate
- a blanket fort.
But then I stepped outside and felt the warmth of the sun. A few hours later I realised that I had indeed needed three things to transform my mood. I had just thought of the wrong list. What really worked in the end was:
- a cup of green tea
- Autumn sunshine
- my hammock
This just reinforced my thoughts about nature that I’d had during a road trip… A few months ago whilst travelling through South Africa I had the opportunity to stay in many little towns along the way. There was one area, just outside one of these towns, that I found to be particularly magical. We stayed in a
cottage luxurious unit in the middle of an ancient milkwood forest. We were surrounded by unspoilt fynbos as far as the eye could see. And where there wasn’t fynbos there were mesmerizing views of the sea and an incredibly beautiful bay. I felt truly immersed in nature. (No snide comments about the luxury accommodation, please.) In an incredibly short space of time we were able to completely relax and unwind. I really felt as though I was able to re-balance my body, mind and soul. It enabled me to be mindful, with remarkable results. Words simply cannot describe how my sense of wellbeing was completely transformed in this idyllic place. Whenever I enjoy spending time outdoors, I always have the same thought: we should do this more often. There really is a tangible healing power in nature. There’s some irony here too, because we wouldn’t need the curative powers of nature if our modern lifestyles didn’t take us away from nature in the first place. So we need nature to be a healing balm for the modern lifestyle, because this lifestyle prevents us from spending sufficient time in nature in the first place. Time for a change, methinks. What have been your healing and relaxing experiences in nature?
I sat in my seat, completely entranced by what was unfolding before me. I was completely absorbed in the present moment: the past ceased to exist and the future was irrelevant. Not a single word was uttered, but the raw human emotions were unmistakable. There is an empathetic understanding that connects us all as people, irrespective of language or any other label. It was this understanding of what it is to be human that translated the story for me. This, and the sheer beauty of it all.
Beauty is not just seen. True beauty is something that we feel. Something that captures the heart and the imagination. Something that transcends our everyday experiences. Something that touches the core of your being, your soul.
There is something magical about creativity, be it dance, music, or visual art, that allows for a purity of human expression. Before technological advancements, these art forms existed to not only entertain us, but to enrich our experiences, and fulfill the human need for something more in life. To immerse ourselves in emotion, to lose ourselves in beauty, to rely on our humanity for understanding.
And that was what I felt in the audience at the ballet that evening. Yes, the story of Carmen is emotive in its own right, but it also provides a platform for beauty. Beauty in terms of dance, music, and the expression of raw human emotions. The combination of the orchestra, choreography and talented dancers was a powerful mix. I was not alone in my experience of the dynamics of the performance. The emotion in the audience was palpable throughout, and let out in the extended standing ovation at the end.
It is a relief to find, in this technology-mad world, a space where the beauty of human expression and creativity can live on and touch our souls. Because what is life without creativity and true beauty?
I think that all too often we underestimate ourselves. We underestimate our ability to heal, to bounce back, to create, to transform. We spend too much time listening to and learning dis-empowering messages, and far too little time (if any) listening to our own inner worlds and realising what we, paradoxically, can teach ourselves.
This is from me to you…
You have the potential to discover and realise the life you want and deserve. Within you lies the answer to transforming your life. You have the innate ability to change – it’s just a matter of tapping into this potential within you and unleashing your own power. There is true beauty in who you are. It’s time to embrace that and all that it means for your reality.
A relative recently relayed a quote, which really had an impact on me. He said that life was like playing in an orchestra, and every musician is sight-reading the piece for the first time, but the orchestra has to play in harmony.
I think that this is such a beautiful, humorous, and insightful comparison. This is the way I see it…
We are all musicians, with different instruments, which have different sounds and different roles to play in the orchestra. No matter how dominant or more important some instruments might seem, the reality is that the symphony would be incomplete without the contributions of every musician. It’s not about one individual musician or instrument being heard, but about contributing to the end result. Contributing to harmony.
But that doesn’t happen often. The orchestra will not play in harmony when the musicians are sight-reading the piece for the first time. There will be mistakes. Wrong notes will be played. Some notes will be left out. Some might play at the wrong tempo. And the list goes on. But so do the musicians. You just have to go on, trying your best to perform as well as you can, and in harmony with those around you. In this way you will also be supporting the other musicians in the orchestra.
And that’s what life is about. Persevering, trying your best, supporting others, all the while trying to create harmony and bring beauty into the world.
All of us, at one time or another, seek motivation. We try to find that elusive something that will inspire us. All too often it is our mindset that makes motivation so elusive. If we are truly open to it, motivation will come to us from all kinds of sources.
There is such inspiration to be found in beautiful surroundings. We forget just how truly beautiful our world is, and neglect to see the vistas before us. I am lucky enough to live in South Africa, where there is every variety of natural beauty in our varying landscapes. For me, it is finding myself in inspiring surroundings that fosters creativity.
The combination of beauty and creativity in turn creates a relaxed ambiance, one where mindfulness is all the more likely to occur. It is in this way that I am encouraged to take each day as it comes, to be mindful of the moments that constitute every day. It is only through being mindful that I become appreciative of all the little blessings that are scattered throughout my life: the daily things for which I should be so grateful.
Pictures taken on a recent trip around the Western Cape region of South Africa.
“The study of what is beautiful can never be wasted, especially if you are seeking to understand and preserve.” – Anne Perry