We all know how it goes.
We wake up in the morning, and from the moment we open our eyes, something feels “off”. There’s a barrage of anxious thoughts about work and laundry and that text we forgot to respond to yesterday.
Where did these thoughts come from? Why are they slamming us now, before our feet even touch the floor?
We don’t know. We just know that there’s already a feeling of dread within, and we haven’t even looked at our email or news feed yet.
We feel lost and afraid; what can we do to bring even the faintest glimmer of peace into ourselves, much less this troubled world?
Fortunately, the universe is always sending us answers, always gifting us with teachers.
First Lesson: Don’t Miss the Ballet
Every time I hear birds chirping outside my window, I remember one of my best teachers, my friend and former housemate Miguel.
When I served as a direct caregiver for adults with special needs at L’Arche, I slept in the bedroom right above Miguel’s. The sound of his strange, buzzing purrs sang me to sleep at night.
In the very first post on this blog, I wrote about Miguel looking out his window and watching, mesmerized, as chickadees twirled through tree branches.
Every day, he taught me to slow down enough to see beauty. He taught me not to rush, not to miss the ballet before my eyes.
An Unlikely Teacher of Peace
Yet in many ways, Miguel was a most unlikely teacher.
Here was someone who needed hands-on assistance for basic life tasks most of us take for granted, such as eating and showering and walking.
Here was someone who was dealt a difficult hand in life, someone who didn’t get many of what our culture considers to be the “winning” cards.
Here was someone who was no stranger to the ICU, pain, illness, and deep loss.
Yes, Miguel had every reason to be bitter or broken … but he wasn’t any of those things. I don’t think anyone who spent open-hearted time with him could ever consider him broken.
Miguel and his friend, Tito
Sure, he was human, and he had hard times. I saw him move through moments of deep frustration and anger. I heard him cry out in physical agony.
Yet over the course of nearly five years as his housemate and neighbor, I came to see that his default setting was peace.
The Frustration of Forgetting
I want to remember what he taught me, that peace is possible in every moment. At times I feel so frustrated that I keep on forgetting!
I keep thinking that I need to be better, that I need to earn this or that, and then I’ll be okay. Then I’ll feel peace.
But what Miguel allows me to see is that peace is available whenever we choose it. Whenever we want to stop and look for beauty, we will find it.
The wild thing is, when we train ourselves to see beauty, we actually become more beautiful.
Walk The Beauty Way
Here’s one thing I do that helps me to remember.
Dr. Martha Beck introduced me to the Beauty Way chant; it’s from a Native American tradition, and it goes like this:
There is beauty before me, there is beauty behind me;
there is beauty to my left, beauty to my right;
there is beauty above me, beauty below me;
there is beauty within me.
To walk the beauty way in a daily practice, Martha suggests taking pause and noticing how these statements are true for you right here, right now.
Walk The Beauty Way In Real Time
Here’s my example for today; here’s where I see beauty.
Before me: A laptop, which is allowing me to write a post that will go out to thousands of people, including you, on this blog’s seven-year anniversary.
Behind me: A window, through which I can see a rare Alabama snow fall.
To my left: Our cat, Bootsie, who curls up and keeps me company as I write.
To my right: A photograph of me and my husband, suffused with love and happiness.
Above me: A collection of photographs of beloved friends.
Below me: My hands moving quickly and easily across the keyboard, like a dance.
Within me: Love, and the desire to bless you as you read.
Walk the Beauty Way with Clarity and Confidence
I made something special for you, just in time for our seven-year blog anniversary.
It’s a free online video series called The Confidence Course: How to Defeat Self-Doubt, Trade Perfectionism for Possibility, and Live Your Dreams.
This series is for you if – truth-time! – you’re waiting for permission, worrying that you’re not good enough, and not contributing your gifts to the world.
Aside from my book, it’s the biggest creative project I’ve ever done, and I’m proud to share it with you.
Here, you’ll learn confidence from the best. I’ve interviewed 33 high-caliber speakers including …
- Olympic Gold medalist Samantha Arsenault Livingstone
- #1 New York Times bestselling author and TED speaker Adam Grant
- Double platinum, ARIA-award winning recording artist Ben Lee
- Many more luminaries featured on major media outlets such as NBC, ABC, & Today
Together, these speakers will shift your mindset, give you practical strategies, and empower you to bring your truest self to the table.
Join us and claim your free ticket to attend here: The Confidence Course Series
The series goes live on Monday, January 29th, and I will see you there!
When you RSVP, you’ll receive a free daily email with interview(s) from Monday January 29th through Monday, February 19th. It’s the perfect way to start your day, or give yourself a boost over your lunch break.
Note that you won’t automatically receive The Confidence Course if you’re on A Wish Come Clear’s email list. Since The Confidence Course is a separate event, you’ll need to sign up separately. (I will never spam you.)
The Short Version: We’re celebrating our seven-year anniversary at A Wish Come Clear, and you’re invited to the party! Visit The Confidence Course landing page to RSVP.
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