A CALL TO BE AWAKE


IMAGE: ELEANOR HARDWICK

IMAGE: ELEANOR HARDWICK

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
— Roald Dahl

BY: MARISOL B.

Many of us have ran across individuals and situations filled with a je ne sais quois; something out of the ordinary. We have all been around people that seem to be in a state of grace which helps them navigate through circumstances in an almost seamless manner.

We wonder how they may reach such a state of peace and we leave their presence wanting a bit more of that for our own lives. During an interview, writer Dan Millman elaborated on the topic of interior peace and mentioned a story of inquiry; where a soul who wondered the identity of another; so distinct, received the answer, "I am awake."

What exactly does it mean to be awake? A shot or two of espresso every morning might make our brains more alert, but it is our ability to intentionally notice life in its fullness, that brings about a wider readiness to conquer each part of the day.

OUR THOUGHT PROCESS

During a recent research, UCLA professor Alan Castel found interesting data surrounding the way we filter information, pay attention to certain details, or assume how things should be, based on accumulated knowledge.

Our brains filter information which we think might not be relevant to our most important needs or wants, and miss valuable details on the periphery that would at times allow for great insight.

When we are children, we are fortunate to constantly explore the world around us, and as we grow older, the accumulation of information demands a different thought process; therefore, the option to maintain a sense of wonder becomes available through intentional behavior.

NOTICING PERIPHERIES

To be awake, is to step outside of our busy brains for a bit and to allow ourselves to take notice. It is to raise our conscious thought process during moments of our day, so that we may give space to otherwise missed possibilities.

We are called to focus and prioritize, but also to avoid tunnel vision and awaken to the details around us.

Let us navigate through either tempest or calm waters with ease, awareness, and great joy.

MAKING SENSE OF LIFE


Image by Sauerbruch Hutton

Image by Sauerbruch Hutton

This past weekend, we paid a visit to the library and as I perused a few shelves, I came across a few Philosophy periodicals. One of them had an intriguing fictitious conversation between philosophy professors and Socrates in the midst of Elysian Fields. As they exchanged a few ideas regarding Secondary Qualities; they each provided insight around the long asked question - If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it still make a sound?

Reading this made me ponder for a while and  allowed me the great opportunity to remember the wonder around the very fact that we are given life. It is through this very quality that we are able to sense our surroundings. Our very existence provides a myriad of possibilities; that would otherwise be soundless, tasteless, or colorless.

I could not help but be grateful for my senses. I was glad to be given the opportunity to perceive the world and its beauty through touch, sight, hear, taste, and smell. It reminded me to stop and be a lot more conscious and aware about this gift on a daily basis.

Image by Mabry Campbell

Image by Mabry Campbell

Our library visit was followed by beautiful prayer within one of my favorite chapels. Captivating light, heavenly music, the smell of incense, and the taste of the eternal. I was then inspired by our intuitive and spiritual ability to sense, not in a temporal manner, but in a more transcendent way, I was reminded of the possibility of life eternal...

 

 

THE BEAUTY OF EXPLORATION


The more we know, the more we realize there is to know.
— Silvia Earle

Lately, I have been pondering a lot about the vast outer space, and the depths of the ocean; whether through an eloquent talk by Physicist, Bryan Cox, or an interview of Oceanographer, Silvia Earle. I had began drafting a story on this very topic, and one night; as I resolved to continue the task, a movie began playing on the nearby screen which I found quite fitting.

It was Chasing Mavericks; which I had watched a couple of years ago. The beautiful message and photography captured my heart anew, and I was left thoroughly inspired. As the movie finished, I refocused on the task of writing; only to realize, that the next movie to play would be; Alfonso Cuaron's, Gravity.

There is no coincidence in this beautiful sequence. Both of these touch on the value of life and our vulnerability within two environments; where oxygen is scarce, and survival becomes an act of the will. Both teach us that fear is to be conquered as we forge ahead. The deep ocean and the vast outer space...

 

Our place within this vastness

As Sylvia Earle (Oceanographer, Aquanaut, and Conservationist) describes; since the middle of the 20th century, we have learned more about the ocean, our place in the universe, and other people. Only about 5% of the ocean has been seen; let alone explored. We don't really understand how it works; yet, we must allow each new discovery to bring us closer to our identity as humanity, and grow in our desire to do what is right and just.

At the same time outer space was being discovered, Sylvia was exploring the depths of the ocean, and I cannot help but marvel at the fact that both of these hold a mysterious character; yet, every time we reach out farther into its vastness, we find out more about ourselves. This in turn increases our appreciation for life, as we remember our own dignity and the value of our own planet.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPLORATION

Exploration and research hold an important and beautiful place within our economy. Silvia Earle shares, that the ocean drives the way the world works. It drives climate, oxygen replenishment, and food change. The ocean is critical to our lives, health and economy.

Bryan Cox in turn, says exploration provides inspiration for engineering achievement, and driving innovation (quantum physics/mechanics). It also provides great perspective on our own identity. Just think of how beautiful it was to witness earth from outer space for the first time.

Two recent visits helped my own pondering in simple, but deeply human ways. The first one; at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, as I listened to a recording from an astronaut that witnessed the event from a space station. He added that despite it all, NYC still looked beautiful, that the entire earth still held much beauty. His words allowed me much perspective.

The second; when I found myself mesmerized by beautiful species, as I paid a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I never cease to be amazed at the perfection of all creation, and as I captured an image of medusozoa; gliding about the water, I was filled with wonder and a sense of exploration.

Apart from its beauty and inspiration, the sea plays a critical life-sustaining role. The more we realize this, the better our chances in building a beautiful future.

I invite you to ponder further on this topic and to explore the great beauty that surrounds us.

#THESEA

We will continue the conversation throughout the entire month of September. Join us via email, and social media, as we share about the ocean through writings, music, and art.

EXPERIENCE BEAUTY

AN INVITATION TO LIVE AND EXPERIENCE BEAUTY

One of the goals of this space is to inspire beauty, so that each one of us lives and experiences it within our own lives and circumstances.

We find however that "passive consumption" is predominant among social media users; where scrolling through wonderful images posted by friends or strangers alike, provide a sense of loneliness and even depression for many.

lovely image via    ignite light     

lovely image via ignite light

 

While it is beautiful to witness breathtaking images of faraway lands, summer resorts and serenity in the middle of Central Park, it is important to understand that what each of these pictures represent, is an experience.

We do not need to lay on a white sanded beach in order to experience beauty. We have the ability to find joy in simple everyday moments and details, and until we learn to look in the right places, we will be prey to continual social envy and the haunting thought that "someone else's life could be better".

There are so many beautiful images floating through cyberspace, and inspiration should come forth from each one of these, to live our own experience. BeautyFound looks to be a source of inspiration, so an invitation is extended to #findbeauty; even as you find yourself seating within a cubicle or wandering busy city streets. It only takes a minute to stop and look closer:

  • Look out your window: Many times we are so entertained by tasks, that we miss wonderful little details outside our own home.
  • Notice others: Whether you are walking down busy streets or at work, we tend to blur the many people that walk past us. Try to notice someone's beauty; whether external or internal, and see yourself reflected in them and connected through something small.
  • Mind your food: We do not need to go to a fancy restaurant or be on vacation to savor each meal. Even if you ordered Chinese takeout, make the effort to serve on a beautiful plate and consciously enjoy every bite.
  • Discover the new: Many times we are so accustomed to our surroundings, that we fail to notice beautiful details, both old and new. Cherish each object decorating your home, or look at your neighborhood with brand new eyes. There is always something new to discover.
  • Be inspired: Continue to scroll down beautiful and inspiring images. There are so many wonderful and talented people, you should be able to enjoy in an active; rather than passive manner.
  • Enhance your senses: After looking at your screen and being thoroughly inspired, plan a visit to an actual beautiful place. This could be a museum to experience and admire art installations,  a bookstore to flip through actual pages, or a park to connect with nature and the smell of grass or pine.

       So by all means, this an invitation to be present in the moment and experience a sense of joy.


CAPTURED BY BEAUTIFUL LIGHT

The wonders that can be captured through a camera lens, are delightfully highlighted by the proper use of light, and without a doubt; the beautiful work done by Sue Bryce; a portrait photographer based in Sydney, far exceeds this reality.

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On her lovely documentary titled"The Light that Shines"; which begins with the quote "beauty is the light in the heart", she portrays the story of a beautiful and inspiring woman, Jill Brzezinski-Conley, who has been able to inspire love and joy in the midst of difficulty, and a battle with cancer. This talented photographer speaks of the moment she came across Jill's story and describes her feelings.

"Something incredible resonated in my intuition and my soul", Sue describes, marking a start for a beautiful project.

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Jill strolled the streets of Paris, wearing a lovely and magical Steven Khalil gown; yet, what truly makes the images come to life is Jill's inner beauty; which, so clearly reflects and tells the story of every experience lived within her life; specially within the past three years.

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I invite you to watch this moving documentary; which touches on many levels and aspects of our human dignity, through the perspective of joy and strength.

Images via SUE BRYCE | PORTRAIT

OUR POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH


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EVERY NOBLE PURSUIT; NO MATTER HOW SMALL ~ HOLDS GREAT POTENTIAL

Picture a beautiful bouquet of flowers brought home from the market, and the moment in which the blooms are assembled in simple vases in order to add a touch of beauty to a breakfast table. Some of the buds have not fully bloomed and are artfully mixed with the ones that have; yet, in the midst of these two, there are tiny little ones that seem far from becoming flowers. They are almost too small to be noticed, but are placed nonetheless within the freshest of water.

Many days later, the little buds begin to grow and show the potential for beautiful blooms to be enjoyed in later days.

This is what happened to me as I arranged beautiful white freesias for a weekend breakfast with friends. I am fascinated by the little buds that seem to grow each day of the week, and it made me think of how many times, we are afraid to pursue noble causes, with the idea that our efforts might be too small; especially when compared to already blooming ones.

No effort is too small, and every big accomplishment starts with small constant actions.

I invite you to give, I invite you to act, to love, and to forge ahead with all noble pursuits; for every one of these; makes the difference, millions of individuals are afraid they won't make.

FRUIT OF OUR LABOR

A REFLECTION ON THE TRANSFORMATION OF LABOR INTO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL

BY MARISOL B.

IMAGE VIA FARMETTE

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Many work in the fields, under the sun; others inside large skyscrapers under fluorescent light. Each one with their own set of challenges to conquer the day; yet given the same exact opportunity — the one to offer one’s labors for a bigger purpose; beyond the sweat of our forehead.

A few days surrounded by silence can do wonders for body, mind, heart and soul. It is in the depth of that silence, that I pondered deeply about the direction of my goals in relation to eternity.

Some of these thoughts include the fact that a few things are inescapable for human kind, no matter what the state of life. A couple of them being labor and suffering.

Everyday offers new opportunities and possibilities, and if one is to profit and fully live; idleness is not a choice. Many books have been written on more efficient ways to cut labor time in half or less. I remember reading the 4-hour workweek a while ago, and agreeing with the fact that truly a day's duties could be accomplished in the least possible amount of time; yet, there is always something else that could be done in order not to waste the day away (whether for leisure, learning, or service).

Many work in the fields, under the sun; others inside large skyscrapers under fluorescent light. Each one with their own set of challenges to conquer the day; yet given the same exact opportunity -- the one to offer one's labors for a bigger purpose; beyond the sweat of our forehead. Labor and suffering; the existing conditions of our humanity from the beginning of time. The unavoidable reality for each one of us; therefore, our choice remains:

To labor each day with a great sense of love and purpose, or to drag ourselves into the unending rhythm of the working class. To understand that our work can transform the world and bring maturity and fulfillment to the one that labors. Placing labor to the service of humanity and not the other way around.

So wherever one may be in life, let us ask ourselves, what are the fruits of our labor?

FOR MORE ON LABOR >>VISIT HERE 

ON LIVING WITH DIGNITY

When I was 12 years old, I visited a small town where houses were built out of cardboard and tin, and as I met some of the members of the community, I noticed a little hut where dishes piled up and dust abounded. I was then prompt to ask the lady within the little dwelling, whether I could help to 'beautify' her little home. She agreed, and I gladly set out on a mission.

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I began by taking care of the pile of dishes and sweeping the entire little hut. I then proceeded to rearrange the few pieces of furniture available to achieve the proper balance and make it more pleasing to the eye. The final touches were given with little things she had available and voila! A quaint little place to call home.

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I remember vividly the excitement and gratefulness from the lovely lady. She thanked me by giving away some of the candy that she sold for a living and I left fully convinced, that no matter how many or how little resources one is given, one can make a home truly dignified.

I believe that when we are surrounded by beauty it is easier to remember our worth and dignity, and carry ourselves according to that truth....

lovely images image found via pinterest