Sunday, May 11, 2008

Seeing and Seeking Beyond the Ordinary

My husband loves nature photography, particularly floral and botanical shots. This is not his profession, although he has a real gift that he is developing into a rather serious hobby. ( I recently sat down to view and choose some photographs to use in a project, and I was so struck by how profoundly more beautiful simple things can be if we take the time to look beyond the surface as he has - if we look beyond what we usually see through our filtered lenses. Such overlooked beauty exists in so many things around us - if we will view them from varied and deeper perspectives.

The way we live our lives is often similar to this. We only see the surface of our existence, but never really go deeper to see more - never getting real or taking the time to see how much more we can be. I think we fail to do this, in part, because we are afraid to know how beautiful and talented we really are. We choose to live mechanical, mundane lives, coloring strictly inside the lines that society has prescribed, instead of living boundlessly and becoming everything that God made us to be. It is so much easier to believe that we are not special or to run from our uniqueness that we rarely dare to discover our true beauty or our true gifts. If we know there might be much more to us (or even much more to God), there might be too much expected of us, too much upheavel to our scripted lives, so we often settle for the ordinary - in our lives and in our faith.

Imagine how much better the world could be if we let down our specified guidelines for how everyone should progress through life - if we started to celebrate our uniqueness rather than ostracizing those who are different and criticizing those who think or live differently than we do. If we did this just long enough to let our own beauty and gifts shine through and to encourage it in others, we would see many problems dissolve in our own lives and those around us. Doing this collectively on a large scale would create tremendous improvements in the world. We often think of miracles as only tangible physical "cures", but sometimes greater miracles occur when we simply change the way we think, both toward ourselves and toward others. For me, this is what the message of Jesus was all about - creating miracles through loving one another. It sums up what he tried so hard to teach, but has often been misunderstood.

Take the time to look beyond the surface and the obvious in your daily path, both visually and within yourself. Dare to let go enough to find the things that make your soul sing, no matter how strange or different they may seem to the rest of the world. Dare to look beyond the surface to see more. If you surrender to your greatest self, your highest self (the miraculous creature that God made each of us to be) you will be a renewed person who lives in joy and touches those around you. What a great way to live each day! It may not be easy to live authentically from your soul, and it may cause upheaval with some around you, but each time you do so, you will begin to rediscover your true self.

If we wish to free ourselves from enslavement, we must choose freedom and the responsibility this entails. - - Leo Buscaglia, Author

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