How can we access power through visual works of art?

Beauty, creativity, and simplicity all have power. In our culture, these—along with art—are so often diminished in value. Society deems them insignificant, not important enough to deserve attention. Or they are simply a byproduct of something else, a means to an end and not the reason for that end.

Even in the daily hustle of life, whether walking down urban streets or hiking through a forest, there will always be a little piece of beauty to notice. Beauty captures our attention; it makes us stop and take in the moment, to be present in the now. You cannot notice something beautiful and be thinking of something else—you have to stop and pay attention.

Think about all the amazing, beautiful things occurring right now: Ocean waves crashing on rocks and sending arcs of water into the air. Wildflowers blooming in remote meadows of the high mountains. These moments of beauty are happening whether someone witnesses them or not.

What happens when you pause for one second to appreciate that moment? Sure, we could continue on with our busy lives. Not much will change if we don’t notice the amazing sunset or the spectacular clouds moving across the sky. But when we do notice, holy wow! That is when our human experience gets richer!

I’ll never forget one time when I was helping my kids get ready for bed. My son was probably five years old and my daughter was eight. I still had things to do that night: dishes, laundry, lunches to make. Parents will understand this. I was probably thinking of two dozen things while getting my kids through their bedtime routine.

At one point, my five year old gets my attention. He looks at me and says, “Mommy, say it with consciousness.”

Talk about an instant jolt to the present! Of course, I wasn’t even aware that I had not been present. Young children know when our energy zones out. His choice of words surprised me; yet another surprise was how much I didn’t know to recognize it myself.

We continually move through life on autopilot. We miss things. We forget things. That’s why we need beauty; it reminds us of our soul’s yearnings, of our present being, of the beauty within that returns us back to ourselves.

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