Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beauty and Mental Health

Neighbor's Magnolia
"Well, take it all in, and see what you find."” Good advice from a favorite blog, Living with Flair, that has been whirling around my little gray cells.

It’s so gorgeous again today it almost hurts!  The wonder of yet another glorious May morning is that I did not will its arrival, nor can I prevail upon it to remain. It’s lovelier because I know it can’t stay – I have to hold it tight with open hands.  Taking it all in, though, means understanding this good day’s beauty isn’t all there is and I am simply choosing not to listen to news of the day for now.    By this morning’s  urging, I know that being present, even in troubled times, is a privilege, a privilege with the responsibility of learning and applying what today’s slice of life shows me, and remaining sane. 

So, from an older blog written by John Piper, 10 Resolutions for Mental Health I see the blessings of seeing what I can find when I take it all in, this glorious morning! 

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end . . .

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities . . .

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality . . .

5.  I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6.  I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."

8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9.  I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10.  Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.

This morning I lift my eyes from the keyboard and see beauty – the wordless evangelist, that oak tree,  against a May morning’s sky. I hear the melody of St. Francis’ prayer – make me an instrument of thy peace . . . a work by John Rutter. (Link)

My eyes and ears urge: put on the garments of praise and gratitude – even as the morning news confirms the depths to which many are plunged. 

Take it all in and see what you find

This morning I find time and opportunity to be useful – a time to be up and doing good, in the words of my mother-in-law.  May we both take it all in today – and see what we find; may we be useful – dear reader, Seeking not to be consoled – but to console . . .

·      I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.  ~John Burroughs
edited for brevity -- well a bit.

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