And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life? ~from The Swan by Mary Oliver
Let’s Make #The5MostBeautifulThings Project Viral! The world needs this! Join us on Twitter @5MBTProject
Become an Active Beauty Seeker.
The other day I wanted to read a poem by Mary Oliver to my yoga class, as I am prone to do being a poetry addict and all, and I couldn’t find it. Wild Geese was the one. One of my favorites. So I said the first line:
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting
and then, much to my delight, I kept going. I knew the whole thing by heart. I guess I knew that I knew it. (Don’t we always know?)
That’s what we do with beautiful things. We tuck them away. We use them when we need them, in our bearlike way. We use them as fuel. We breathe them. We give them away. We remember them as long as we can.
Sometimes we miss them completely.
Words do it for me. They excite me, the way they roll around in my mouth, and the feel of them, the texture both shocking and comforting at the same time like a million smooth marbles. And if they are strung together just right, those little white Christmas lights of words make me close my eyes and wish them never to leave. That they would stay forever there on that tree lighting it up and that the moment would never darken and the tree would never die and I would never let the words escape from the safety of my mouth, whether they were spoken aloud or not.
They would light me from the inside out for the rest of my life.
That’s kind of how it is with certain words for me. Certain turns of phrase, and poems and sentences. They knock me out with weight and I want to keep them as if they belong to me and not to the world.
This is what beauty often does. We want to claim it and make it part of us.
Our lives need beauty. Relenteless, unremitting beauty.
I was driving this morning to a client to teach him yoga and I started to think about the five most beautiful things I saw at that very moment. I am not sure why because I was at a traffic light and it was grey and cold outside. I saw a dirty purple sign for Donuts! and a beautiful blonde teenager with a sign that said: Hungry. Please help.
These things struck me as beatiful right then in that moment. So I kept going, kept looking. What else could I find?
This is the challenge: Every hour stop what you are doing and write down the 5 most beautiful things to you right in that moment. Every hour or as often as you can! You can also post pics in addition to writing them down. Just connect in some way and find the beauty.
I can hear you already: But I am on the freeway. I am at work. There is nothing beuatiful. I am watching tv. I am in a bad mood, I can’t see anything beautiful. I don’t have my glasses on.
It’s there! Look! It’s right there. It’s here. Close your eyes and see it even if it is not right in front of you, even if you have to dig into the well of your imagination which might feel has run dry of beauty a long time ago.
Here’s a a line from a poem I wrote called “Speaking In Code”
Beauty, unremitting like this, so hard to come by-
And yet it is everywhere, this beauty.
You can’t ignore something so beautiful.
Make your list and keep filling it up and when there is no room get a new paper and keep going and going and going. You will amaze yourself. You will find that you are actively looking for beauty wherever you are. No matter what. And what else is the point? What is beauty for if not to lighten us up from the inside out and sometimes, from the outside in?
I asked my tribe on Facebook what the 5 most beautiful things were for them and here are some of their responses:
Kelly Eckert The sound of a robin singing in the rain occasionally punctuated by the sound of the wind in the trees. Breathing deeply. My husband’s typing. My son’s face. My daughter’s smile.
Paul Teodo my dad is retiring today after running hospitals and drug treatment centers for the past 35 years. He worked his ass off to try and make a difference in people’s lives, and provided my brother and I with a lot. Now he is finally taking some time for himself. He is 62 and in great health and spirits. I get to see him tomorrow in Nashville, TN.
Kira J Pullig The ocean. My parents 45 years of marriage. The human spirit’s capacity for healing. Flowers. Silence.
Christina Collazo Cathey The cloudless sky above me, my caffeine buzz, my daughter humming a tune, my creativity surging through my veins (oh wait is that caffeine?), and my heart beating in Love. 🙂
Alli Akard in this very moment… the sound of my kids playing, the smell of my lunch and its taste of pure nourishment, the site of the trees rustling in the breeze and the sunshine on my face. beautifully simple.
M’Le Leach At this moment, my dog who is sleeping next to me, my boyfriend(who I know must be having a rough day), My yoga practice, the love and support I get from my friends and family, and the sun shine that hasn’t been seen in a week. 🙂
Katie Chatzopoulos The smile on my nieces face
The roof over my head
The water in my cup
The clothes on my back
The peace in my heart that the storm is passed
Chrissy Santa Maria My tea cup, all my friends, my family, life, restaurants that deliver.
Daisy Lane 1.) My children eating corn on the cob! 2.) The leaves falling from the trees in my yard. 3.) The jazz music playing from the “Maxie with Moxie” playlist 4.) The Reese’s from the plastic pumpkin candy holder on the counter. 5.) The Boston Center for Adult Education catalogue I’m looking through-so many offerings!
Michelle Mendoza My autistic daughter making direct and penetrating eye contact with me and signing “I love you”. That’s pretty much 1-5 for me! 🙂
Liz Vartanian 5 most beautiful things RIGHT NOW: 1) my sweet 3 week old breastfeeding, 2) homemade vanilla extract & jam, 3) down-dogging dogs, 4) the beauty mid-80’s day out, and 5) the moment of meditation when all is quiet for two minutes in the house 🙂 <3 xo
Respect the Rays 1- how quiet it is in my house right now…i can hear my breath. 2- my 3 children 3- hearing the word BENIGN 4-seeing an upside down rainbow and capturing it on “film” 5- my gratitude i feel about getting to go to yoga today.
Rachel Pastiloff 1. My kids, 2. my new favorite book ‘life is a verb by Patti Digh, 3. The amazing colors of the fall trees in my backyard in Georgia, 4. The amazing clouds in the sky before a storm(the really big fluffy ones), 5. My fathers headstone (I know that seems strange but it is the most beautiful thing in the world to me)
Anna Sidoti just five? I could’ve found 500!!
What if we walked around looking for beauty instead of looking for things to be stressed about or offended by? What if we became beauty hunters? What if we told more beautiful stories? What if it was all we saw, even in the dirt? What if we trained our eyes and our hearts to tune into that which makes us cock our head to one side and close our eyes gently in an effort to memorize what we were looking at. What if it is all we got?
What if all we have is our 5 beautiful things?
I have heard my teacher Wayne Dyer tell this story so many times but it always makes me perk up out of my seat and listen as if my life depended on it. (Maybe it does?)
Wayne Dyer used the example of the Holocaust Survivor Victor Frankl who was able to mentally survive living in a concentration camp by finding beauty in a fish head floating in his soup. In a fish head, guys. You read that? A fish head!!
Share below what your 5 most beautiful things are right now and please share this post. Let’s make it viral. What’s your fish head?
My little boy sleeping, cherry red lip gloss, an afghan my grandmother crocheted many decades ago, the sound of the loons on the lake, the love and gratitude I feel for everything today. 😉
2. Jungle trees in the breeze.
3 . My boys faces in a photo.
4. My body ready for my morning yoga practice and meditation.
5. Stillness in my flat this early morning.
Hi Jenny jen. You coming to Hk on road to Bali? Love love xxx
Love the potential this has to make the world a so much softer place . You are so special. Xx
Right now that would be: The calm and beauty of the flowers in my garden under the blue sky, my two cats sleeping peacefully on my bed, the sound of my grandson’s voice age 5 with PWS calling me and saying “Hey Mom” and hanging up, my husband’s voice & kindness.
1. Charlie and his delightful exploding rocket sounds (my 4 year old pal)
2. The beautiful raspy voice of Suzanna Choffel (I’m listening on Spotify). She’s got folk swagger.
3. The basket of candy on the counter from last night’s trick or treating adventure
4. The light from the sun right now shining through the windows.
5. My dreams. They are unfolding right before my eyes.
The color pink (for breast cancer awareness), the phrase “thank you”, the array of colors the leaves turn in the fall, hearing a child’s desire to volunteer for a cause, the look of triumph on a cancer survivor’s face when he/she crosses the finish line after walking 60 miles in the 3-Day for the Cure walk.
Right this second, 5 of the most beautiful things I see: My daughter and Josh. The light and the power. (in all aspects) And my friend, Jennifer Pastiloff, who has an amazing vision to bring this post to as many people as possible so they too, can see the beauty. Bless you for having the gift and sharing it so globally. xoxoxo ~S
5 BEAUTIFUL THINGS RIGHT NOW… sunset over the rocky mountains outside my window, picture of Max the wonder dog (in heaven) birthday card for my friend on the east coast, ipod with great energy music, water… drinking a glass of life giving water
First thing I noticed was the way two beautiful girls were laughing & talking outside sharing time for coffee. Then the sounds os disparately different birds chirping, squawking & cawing. Next, as I looked upwards past the gulls was the feathery delight in the shapes of the clouds & the way they’re filter this afternoon’s light. And finally I noticed how noticing the beauty of what’s around me is what I’ve always done but for a while had stopped doing & by looking around I realized it’s what I love most doing: seeing the beauty in things.
that is why you are such a gifted artist/writer!
ta, you beautiful you
What an amazing exercise!! Thank you <3
1. the sunlight dancing through my blinds
2. the ceiling fan in our bedroom – it reminds me of Thailand (even though I've never been)
3. my cat Apollo who is hunting flies right now
4. the hand carved jewelry box that was a gift fr my belovED
5. and!!! this handwritten blessing for my baby that arrived with a colorful bead attached… "May the rainbow of life always shine upon you!"
heart soft – eyes open.
a never-fail recipe for getting the most from life
and giving the most to it
no matter what.
You inspire me….. I see the beauty in the uplifting posts I am reading right now, I see the beauty of feeling alive, happy and at peace, I see the beauty in my Galileo Thermometer, the hand blown glass, with beautiful colored floaters which my daughter-in-law bought me, I see the beauty in the woods behind my house where the animals are playing, I see the beauty of my kitchen where many meals have been prepared for family and friends.
1, My daughter’s curly brown hair on her head which is bent over another text that must be referenced for her nursing degree!
2, The smell of my horse’s mane when I cry into it.
3, The greying whiskers on my mate’s chin.
4, Spaniel ears and chins.
5, Anything which serves as a vehicle for getting butter to your mouth without having it drip on the furniture!
My usband, my three angels asleep & my future…Bless
Makaleha from my front porch… Yes I’m in Hawaii and there is so much beauty all around me I dont think I can name just five. Stunning flowers on the table, a very sweet dog, my good friend cooking some amazing food. Oh and some sweet sweet birds. The beauty is all around!
Beauty for me in this moment: my husband’s clean shaven face. With his shock of think chestnut hair, he looks like the boy I fell in love with in college 30 years ago.
1 My daughter (definitely NOT) asleep in the next bed.
2 My freezing cold toes being warmed by my husband.
3 The unbelievable natural beauty of EVERYTHING in Vermont.
4 The horses outside and the dog and bunny inside.
5 The steam my breath makes in the cold Vermont air.
My sleeping daughter laying across my lap.
My son curled up under a blanket asleep near me.
My first sewing project, a pillowcase made with Dora fabric, to remind me of my kids.
The beautifully formed pumpkin I picked out at the patch two days ago.
The darkness in my room letting me know that soon I will be getting some sleep.
1- the family that my husband & I have created, 2- our home, 3- power back after hurricane, 4- our health, 5- the memories hanging on our walls. Thank you for this exercise….
What I especially love about this inivtation and exercise is that it simply exemplifies how God is ever present and ever available in infinite forms…and it’s always up to us whether or not…we experience it.
the good man next to me who loves me. the good puppy next to me growing. the good book beckoning from the table. my tired muscles all happily exercised. my heart all warmed up from noticing this beauty.
1. The dazzling gold glare of the bus stop ticker flickering across the windows of the bus.
2. The girl with green hair’s stretched ear lobes
3. City lights shining on really tall palm trees
4. My hands
5. The couple laughing and smiling several seats ahead
1 My dog sleeping as close to me as he can.
2 The “I love you” tx from my beautiful daughter.
3 The night breeze coming through my open bedroom window.
4 The dahlia’s I put to rest in their winter homes.
5 The freckles on my skin.
Right now… the view of the city from my balcony, the delicious pumpkin smoothie I’m having for breakfast, this blog post, my boyfriend, my friends both near and far. <3
1. My laptop
2. The fog flowing through the tree tops
3. My sweet dog, Cody
4. A picture of my kids on Santa’s lap
5. The words, “Spirituality and Health” on the cover of a magazine.
I am grateful to you for spreading the message, the only message, we all have to share and that is LOVE.
1. The sun starting to shine through the window as it rises up the wall of the parking structure outside my work
2. the quiet stillness of a yoga studio in the early mornings
3. My blue heart fuzzy slippers that warm my toes…and the fact that I get to wear slippers at work 🙂
4. An organic pink lady apple
5. the smell of hairspray that lingers in my hair from last night’s show…celebrating another opening of another play (and spending 10 extra minutes in bed to forego the 5 AM shower 🙂
1. The view from my west-facing window, where I can see snow-capped mountains on a clear day.
2. The pretty mug I treated myself to and the hot coffee inside it.
3. A photo of my beautiful, healthy, happy son.
4. The luxurious hand cream I keep on my desk (whipped wild mint lime!).
5. The feeling of being at the beginning of job that I can see staying in for a long time.
1) My daughter crawling into my arms so we could watch the sunrise in bed together
2) My son singing to himself while he races trucks across the living room floor
3) Hot coffee in my favorite mug
4) My phoenix necklace–because beauty always rises from the ashes
5) A deep breath with the dog in my lap, one stolen moment of peace before the craziness sets in again (in 5, 4, 3, 2…)
1. My two children who make me laugh so much and keep me guessing all the time.
2.Moments of silence when everyone is asleep and I can just sit on my yoga mat and breathe and surrender to my practice.
3.Ever changing colors of this beautiful fall.
4.Sipping coffee with my husband.
5. Sharing yoga with others.
1. The feeling of peace, and hope.
2. The crisp weather.
3. The smell/scent of my hair and lotion.
4. My words.
5. A moment of reflection and meditation. Thank you.
My teenage son Alex, the beautiful picture my son Nicholas gave to me, Sonny, my collie; Ginger our Lhasa Apso, and the rough draft of my novels,
2. The silver light fixture in my dining room. I think it’s lived some past lives.
3. My rescue dog, Clancy. He has an anxiety disorder and meditates with me everyday.
4. The smell between my husband’s shoulder blades. His smell. The one I’ve loved for 35 years.
5. How wonderful I feel at age 52!
1) One year of clean and sober thinking.
2) A perfectly cooked slice of bacon.
3) The breeze between my balcony and my front door.
4) A legal pad filled with notes.
5) Peace and quiet.
1) dragonflies playing in the breeze
2) this blog full of beautiful things
3) so many wonderful, wise books on this desk
4) especially Clarissa Pinkola Estés. what a beautiful soul + teacher.
5) the warmth and solitude of the Arizona desert
What a wonderful and inspiring project. I just had to jump in here:
1. The last remaining yellow leaf hanging on a tree.
2. The deep grey skies.
3. The sweet smell of my dog’s fur.
4. A never-ending list of ever-changing thoughts.
5. My long slow deep breath.
This is just the most marvelous thing. Thank you!!
#1 my son’s faded but still visible Harry Potter scar from Halloween
#2 the hand-written note my daughter left on my desk saying “I LOVE YOU”!!
#3 Mary Oliver’s poetry
#4 the smell of just-out-of-the-dryer laundry
#5 the local library
Sitting in the dark while my 2.5 year falls asleep.
Peace with myself
Thinking of a great friend
Anticipation of a guided meditation while the entire family is fast asleep
This is an amazing project and what a wonderful thing to bring awareness to all that is good.
My incredible husband, my beautiful children, who teach me something new every single day, my Mama, even though her health is failing her, my yoga, and the amazing new people I’m connecting with in this moment.
1. My sweet seventeen year old cat sleeping on my lap
2. The beautiful mug made by my daughter, full of hot tea
3. The fire blazing in the wood stove
4. The gorgeous quilt so lovingly made by a long-time friend
5. The lovely watercolour painting of river otters hanging on the wall
1) When awaken to another day, it’s another chance for a “do over”
2) My son prospering and being self-sufficient and happy with life!
3) Loving and living the life that I want to live by my rules
4) Having so much passion for health and fitness and changing lives!
5) Living in LA and appreciating every minute of it!!
1. A piece of my son’s artwork hanging on the wall in front of me
2. This gorgeous fall day
3. Picture of my soul mate doggie that passed on staring back at me from the bookcase
4. The silence in my apartment right now
5. My adorable little houseplants sitting in the window
1) love of family & friends despite geographical location 2) resiliency 3) health & well being 4) ability to create and move wherever & whenever 5) freedom
my waistband being a little too tight right now from a wonderful family lunch
the fall becuse it’s cuddle season
nothing that has to be done yet so much that needs to be done in this moment
as a victim of Hurricane Sandy…the 5 beautiful things
1) my life
2) my family & loved ones
3) my home
5) the love of the world coming to help NYC recover
my daughter, music, the sunshine, painting, love
My husband, My boys, the roof over my head, the food on my table and coffee. First thing in the morning here …. coffee is a wee priority at this point in time :).
At this moment, right here, right now; photographs of my closest friends’ children,whom I adore, (watching a programme about Fredom Riders,) a deep love of the deep South and the dream of going back soon, a models of a house in Charleston, SC this summer and a jazz musiic in New Orleans last summer and the memories they trigger, fireworks exploding outside (it’s Guy Fawke’s Day on Mon) and yjhe new Matraca Berg CD which is in my CD player.
Right now, my five most beautiful things are: warmth, hot coffee, an Internet connection, a comfy seat and silence. Thanks for making me notice Jennifer!
My 5 beautiful grandchildren
My husband and daughter
People, including my own, ability to overcome
Connections with others
That even when I feel flat broke I still have the resources to make ends meet
Here is my submission, fearless one! Cheers!!
Hands down right now, I am grateful for the beauty of my creativity/apple computer, my 5D Camera, my joy, my creative partner – Bryant and Jen’s Pastiloff’s inspiration 🙂 Wooohooo!!!!
Jen, this is wonderful. Just wonderful.
I found you through Lindsey at A Design So Vast, and would love to connect others to you through WomenHeal…
Thank you! Off to tweet…
1 – Dawn
2 – the faces of my beloveds
4- open hearts and minds
5- my dog’s tail
My fisher space pen that can write upside down, underwater, even the astronauts us them in space! They write so so well, I love pens, space pens are my fav. Knowing I am about to sit down and write and study. My boyfriend still sleeping in bed and how all night in his sleep he cuddles me and if I move he pulls me back to him. And when I tell him he does this he vehemently denies; he says that’s impossible. But every night I feel loved and important and validated. The new friends I have made from yoga teacher training are brilliant and real.
And the silence required to make anything meaningful. The binary code, the zeroes, the space between the music, heart in between beats. Those spaces allow the beauty.
The cloud that I saw this morning which looked like a wing all alone in the sky and the feeling that it was a sign from God;
Words from my wife that pulled me out of my frustration this morning and reminded me of how deeply she knows me;
The distant, non-descript sounds of work (trucks backing up, machines operating, people walking, etc.)–people trying to moving our world forward;
My 5-year old’s expression of gratitude for being able to spend Thanksgiving with his Pop-Pop;
The packages of cookies with grocery store gift cards stuck to the bottom that my neighbor left for me and my family every week while I was out of work.
[…] on recalling how happy I had been just one short day earlier. And then I remembered: The 5 Most Beautiful Things Project. Earlier this month, my friend and mentor, Jen Pastiloff, started the 5 Most Beautiful Things […]
[…] came across beauty hunting earlier this year via Jen Pastiloff’s amazing site, The Manifestation. In 2012 Jen started The 5 Most Beautiful Things Project and is increasingly spreading this […]