Stop. Take a moment, pause whatever you’re doing, and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds in the room. Feel your breath. What do you hear?
Open your eyes. Look around the room as if for the first time. Visually investigate each piece of furniture — the small seams on the couch; the worn spots on the chair cushion; the bits of dust on the floor. Absorb.
Like Marina Abramovic’s lesson in how to drink water mindfully, learning the art of observation is another rewarding exercise in practicing mindfulness with our sense of sight — as well as our bodily presence in life during our daily routines.
Many of my friends — and people around the world — have recently been in awe of some incredible photographs that remind us of the beauty that awaits our eyes, and hearts, in unexpected places all over the world, especially throughout nature.
In a similar vein to Masaru Emoto’s stunning water crystal photography work, these new astounding images feature macrophotography work of snowflakes that reveal the wonder of water, in one of its myriad forms. Moscow-based photographer Alexey Kljatov has used his creative talent to show us the unbelievable, symmetrical details that shape snowflakes.
Impressively, the photographer is happy to share his homemade technique with anyone who has the desire to make similar images of their own. This transparency is appreciated, as these images at times appear almost too perfect to believe!
Much as Emoto’s work represents the beauty that lies beneath the surface of frozen water crystals, Kljatov’s imagery points to the truth of each snowflake’s unique composition. The parallel often drawn between this old adage is with the beautiful diversity inherent in humanity: we are all uniquely beautiful inside — if we only take the time to look, and feel for it.
The art of observation consists of exploring the world with not only fresh eyes, but being thoroughly present in our bodies. This enables us to more readily recognize the beauty in the mundane by using our body intelligence to understand, and experience it.
Pina Bausch, one my all-time favorite choreographers, eloquently and passionately demonstrates the relationship between our bodies and water through the art of dance. Her powerful vision is realized onstage by likeminded dancers who embody the essence of vitality and freedom through their connection with water in this performative context.
Through simply observing this inspired dance, feelings of awe are generated, and hope is felt. Imagine what playing in this water — expressing ourselves physically with play; relishing this delicious moment of light — might actually feel like.
Being in our bodies means inhabiting our physical selves at least as much as we inhabit our mental and emotional selves. Western society, unfortunately, frequently overlooks the importance of body intelligence in favor of more cerebral activities.
Still, even something as simple as breathing into our tummies can create small wonders: with every breath drawn, we connect deeper with our body — our one true home that carries us through adventures, wanderings, ups and downs, loves and losses, illness and health.
Without question, it provides shelter, warmth, and protection from the barrage of outside forces that constantly surround us: our corporeal homes are as much our armor as they are our gateway to sensitivity, touch, and vulnerability. Our bodies are beauty.
Everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it.