Enter your email address to receive weekly essays:

Check your inbox for a verification request. Thank you!

beauty and the magic of undistracted time

essay by Andrea Hurley: beauty and the magic of undistracted time

by Andrea
June 14, 2015

To me my mother is beautiful. Ninety-seven years old and beautiful. I tell her this almost every time I see her. As these simple words penetrate her heart, she usually smiles softly and expresses a bit of disbelief—as if it surprises her every time. My mother probably does not expect to hear these words. She may not hear them often from others. She probably does not think of herself as beautiful, not at 97 years old. As I expressed in my last essay, we live in a culture where our elderly are largely not seen—not seen for their deeper gifts, hidden wisdom and yes, their beauty. And so as an elderly person herself, my mother is probably not accustomed to others seeing her as beautiful. It probably feels foreign to her. Maybe this is why when I tell my mother she looks (or is) beautiful, it seems to disarm her, opening up a field of sweetness and innocence between us. 

Beauty is expressed in almost every imaginable form. There is beauty in nature, in the opening of a flower. There is beauty in the day, in the hue of the sky at dawn. There is beauty in art, poetry, prose, philosophy. There is beauty in science, in the magic of understanding the mysteries and miracles of life. There is beauty in numbers, their perfection and their application. There is beauty in our friendships, in our conversations. Beauty is everywhere, all the time, built into the fabric of existence itself. It is impossible to imagine life without beauty. So what is beauty really?

As I begin to contemplate this question of beauty, I feel lost. I don’t know where to begin. It’s as though I can’t grab onto it, or pin it down. And yet it’s right there, calling. Mysteriously calling me closer to it, as if by magnetic force. As I slow down to listen to that calling, I realize it is asking something of me. It is asking for my time—for my undistracted time and attention. Whether it be the beauty of a newly opened flower or the smile of a happy child, it asks for a moment of my life. Just a moment of undistracted time to see and acknowledge. Beauty is asking to be seen. Nothing more. 

So simple. And yet, all too easily missed. We miss it all the time. If beauty is everywhere all the time, how is it possible to miss? Simply, by not giving what it asks for—for that moment of undistracted time. In our fast-paced, demanding lives we probably miss 95% of the beauty that is a hair's breath away. We are also under the spell of a media focused incessantly on superficial beauty, glamour and glitz. These two factors alone can be enough to distract us from a beauty that may be just before our eyes.

Timeless beauty awaits the beholder. It appears only upon being seen and not a moment before. My mother may not be beautiful to everyone and that's ok. I may not be beautiful to everyone and that's ok. Same for you and for each one of us. But when any one of us either sees—or is seen—for the beauty that we deeply are, life works its magic within us. We feel a timeless happiness, instantly. And even if we only experience this 5% of the time, that's enough too. This is one of the secrets of real beauty.

This contemplation on beauty was inspired by the video below. Each time I watch it, I am stopped in my tracks. I hope you watch it all the way to the end. Take undistracted time. The message will grab you and ignite a silent explosion in your heart. 

beauty and second glances

Caregiver's Circle
Join Judy and Andrea in a free monthly conversation about this and other caregiving issues. Click here to learn more


Feel free to share your thoughts


comments powered by Disqus