Getting real; staying clear


Beauty is truth, truth beauty ,—that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.~ John Keats

A very tiny, exquisite bird egg found its way to my flower planter yesterday. It was love at first sight, and I gasped and thought,

Did it fall there, or was it placed in that clump of dirt to shield it from danger?

The planter is actually a hollowed out old metal air compressor that my friend Christi created, and it’s really cool. It’s chained to the building façade, so nobody steals it. We call our neighborhood the “renaissance district”, but my friends call it the “hood”. I’ve loved living here, even amidst the daily sirens and the stray bullets that have grazed my car. Christi reconstitutes things, and this old plumbing building is no exception. She’s taught me so much about living simply and appreciating quality, because she does it beautifully. Before I met her, or my real self for that matter, I lived in a world that couldn’t tolerate imperfection. I couldn’t tolerate it in myself then either.  We painted over it, scrubbed it clean, or moved to places where we couldn’t see it.  Christi and I live here deliberately, and the neighborhood has changed, in a very good way. We’ve never been hurt, and I’ve actually helped wounded people who have wandered into my place, seeking shelter from the dangers of the street.

I’ve lived in some really beautiful places too. Marquette, Michigan is a natural wonder, and Lake Superior feeds and cleanses the atmosphere there. The area is full of virgin natural beauty, and it often felt like no one had ever walked the beach that I was walking when I took my morning strolls. I’ve lived in nice homes, full of nice things. But, those beautiful places or things didn’t move or feed me back them, because I couldn’t receive them like I do today. I thought their presence in my life meant that I was happy, but I still felt empty.

Most of us that have recovered from alcoholism and addiction have seen the stark and brutal rough edges of damage. To our bodies, our relationships, our cars and our self-esteem. I went to treatment  at Renaissance West, in a really rough part of the urban core of Kansas City.  The named intrigued me, and I welcomed the idea of transformation. It was hard stuff I saw there; about myself, and the other women I shared quarters with. One day I began to journal in a Spirituality class and something amazing happened. I received this message,

Connect to me; to the place that has never been defiled. You are, as you always were, Spirit filled, pure and holy. From this place you will heal; shine. Look beyond all appearances and feel me. The beauty comes through you, radiate it.

I captured that inspiration like I was dancing with a butterfly. Swiftly, and with awe. I had been really hurting, felt really ugly, and very ashamed. That message was an invitation to a great mystery, and I accepted it. That is the reason that beauty moves me, because the dance wasn’t really with the butterfly, it was with God. God is beauty.

To see beauty in the tiny spontaneous offerings of life has literally healed me. And, I don’t need so much stuff, so long as I take in beauty, every day.

So, it really doesn’t matter how that exquisite little egg got into the planter. I am just so happy that Christi and I created something lovely together that it rests upon, and that I can see.


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