Self-Care Challenge Day 1: Finding Beauty
One of the things that I try to do regularly is to look out for beauty. If I find it right in front of me, that’s wonderful, but if I find it in unexpected places, like in the color combination of the food on my plate, or in the shadow on the pavement, even better. Here’s some beauty I found in some unexpected places today.
I love the colors, texture, and highlights here. It’s perfect. A door, who knew?
I really enjoy getting close up and almost making things abstract. Do you know what this is?
Sometimes the universe leaves us little presents of beauty to find. We just have to look.
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Where do you find beauty that others might not? Have you ever tried taking these kind of photos, even with your phone? Tell us about it in the comments.
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A huge slide that I would have been terrified to go down, but seeing my 2.5 year old son go down and laugh the entire way, made it seem better. The pic is amazing and playful, so how can I be afraid now?
Welcome to Maricle Counseling’s blog. Like Laura, you paint a wonderful picture with your words. Thank you for sharing. I was going to suggest that you all post the photos on Maricle Counseling’s webpage, and I see that you have pasted yours into the link you shared. Thank you! It’s a great image! What’s on your self-care agenda today?
This is a great reminder to always look for art in everyday life! Thanks! As part of an online workshop, I took shots similar to these. The one I remember the most was a shot of a porcelain sink. In the frame all you could see was the very center of the bowl. The drain was shiny metallic against the pearly white porcelain, almost iridescent-looking. The sink became something totally transformed for me. It reminded me of the shiny inside of a seashell or clamshell.
Laura – I’m so glad to have your voice here today. You describe your images so beautifully. Thank you for sharing that with us. I love when images transform this way. I agree, that’s the sense in the photos I took too. So what are you doing for self-care today? Be sure to check back and tell us about it!
As an artist, and writer I think I’m somewhat observant, and I find non-transitory beauty in people, and in nature in particular.
It has rained here every day within 10 miles, which means lots of dark clouds. When out and about and the clouds suddenly part and the warmth of sunlight is quickly felt , is a beautiful thing. Not just seeing and feeling the sunlight, but the beauty of the luminous light it reflects around the edges of the dark clouds.
As well, the clouds parted last night for a view of the moon which is now at its brightest. So bright, that there is a corona of white light around it.
Shyness, I believe, has made me more aware of certain things above and below.
Welcome to you! Geez, I am so humbled by everyone’s ability to take this challenge about finding beautiful images and translate it into words. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty you saw last night. I too find a lot of beauty in dark blue-black cloudy skies. What is on the self-care menu for today for you?
Just to clarify the rules a bit:
Each day this week is a new chance to enter, with a maximum of 7 chances. All you do is at least 5 minutes if self-care and then comment about it on that day’s post.
So do your self-care and then come on back and tell us about it. If you do an image if finding beauty, feel free to share it in Maricle Counseling’s Facebook page. You can do anything for self-care you wish, though.
All the best
It may sound silly, but I’m finding beauty in my pedicure today. Over the weekend I got my toes done in bright, bold orange, which I love. Each time I look at them I’m reminded of how relaxing it was to just sit for an hour and rest in a world that seems so chaotic sometimes with all the things that are going on. I’m reminded of how much care the manicurist took in doing this very simple job, making it such an elaborate treat and how we are all artist because we create something beautiful every day no matter where we work. I’m reminded of how blessed I am just to be able to stand each day and walk in good health (we take that for granted a lot, I think). So, I’m finding beauty in simple pleasures that go much deeper than they appear.
Hi Sandy: That doesn’t sound silly at all! It sounds to me like we are totally on the same page about what is great about finding beauty. If it makes us stop and appreciate and have gratitude and enjoy, then it’s doing it’s job perfectly. Your post is inspiring. Thank you for sharing it!
This morning I pulled some.beautiful, hand-picked blackberries out of my freezer and admired them. The beauty is in the love that went into picking them, the delicious taste every time I make a smoothie during the year, and the glorious color of deep purple. My adult son picks berries for me each summer; it is a sweet tradition he started several years ago. I will post a photo to FB and thank him. I am amazed how our relationship has grown and changed over the past 26 years… That is a thing of beauty, too. I am grateful that he is able to live in a secure environment after experiencing some struggle in that area recently. Life is filled with beauty, and miracles. My plan for self-soothing is to meet with a dear group of friends this morning, and share my heart. We have created a beautiful, trusting environment with authenticity and support. I am blessed. Thanks for this opportunity to share, Amy. Best wishes to all of the other participants… I will enjoy reading your posts as well.
Oh, Patricia, what a gift you have shared with us this morning. Your comment is lovely. I am grateful for you and everyone else who so “gets” what this post is about – slowing down to find beauty and gratitude for it. Your words about the blackberries and the connection to your evolving relationship with your son are moving. Thank you. Your gathering of friends sounds lovely! I will have to copy that somehow. 🙂
All the best to you,
Because of the challenge, I decided to take a few minutes this morning to walk our property. We have a long, winding drive lined with trees I drive down every day. It’s the time of year for bailing hay so the pasture beside the drive is full of fresh bales. I think of my sons and husband working hard for the family. This is the harvest, the time for celebrating. Most mornings I am occupied with thoughts of the day. I pay no attention. Today I reflect on the life we have built together and the love we share. I feel ready to face the day.
I am so pleased to hear that the challenge has prompted you to slow down and take things in today. Reading your comment is inspiring me to slow down in the same way today! I knew that this challenge would be fun if it caught on, but I did not expect people to bring so much meaning and give me as much as they have. Thank you. I’m so glad that we are sharing this together – and over the distance. It’s the beauty of the internet! I hope to see you back on the other days too.
I was grocery shopping with my daughter and snapped a close-up shot of a wood panel used to mark the end of one of the aisles. I captured an outline in the wood that was like a leaf and a teardrop at the same time. It really is beautiful. I was thankful to notice such a cool detail that I never would have noticed if I haven’t zoomed in. So fun!
This is a great example of slowing down and finding beauty simply because you are in search of it. I wonder if you would consider posting it on the FB page? If not, we will have to keep it in our imagination. Either way, the image is rich.
Today I squeezed in a three mile run even though I was feeling pretty spent. I was so glad that I got it in because I have been having trouble logging weekday miles! Although most of my route was in an industrial area, I did soak up some of the beauty during the tree lined segment of the run 🙂
I also spent some time at a playground with my daughter today and so enjoyed the beautiful moments of observing toddler interactions!
Thanks so much for dropping by and letting us in on a wonderful self-care break full of treats for your body, heart and soul. Your dedication to your running goals and your determination is impressive, and undoubtedly helps you take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing.
I take close up pictures of my cat’s paws….a lot! I will try to find things to photograph beyond the paws 😉
I love it! Paw closeups. If you feel up to it, head on over to Maricle Counseling’s Facebook page and share your photo on the wall. It would be great to have a collection of the photos that everyone took today. I’m intrigued to see those kitty feet!
All weekend I had been meaning to reach out and call my parents…because of how far away they are I only see them once a year and I am often homesick for them. They recently sent me a very sweet care package and I wanted to thank them, but wanted to do so in a non-hurried manner and to make sure it was personal (not in text). I just hadn’t made the time to slow down enough for that conversation. It just so happens that I work in a bit of a stress-filled environment (a bit more than has been manageable lately…so this self-care challenge timing couldn’t be better)…and I rarely take a break.
So today, I decided to “take my Dad for a walk”…I called my Dad and talked with him while I walked along balancing on the empty train tracks behind my office. He happened to be walking in a field in WY collecting little brass fittings, and the call caught him by surprise. We joked about his shiny recycling and my not-so-graceful balancing skills. As usual, he gave me wonderful perspective on work stress and some much-appreciated advice. It was so relaxing and yet really fun to laugh with Dad, and I realized how beautiful it is to just simply be in the moment of conversation with him. It was like an unexpected hug, one that I didn’t realize I needed so badly.
You all amaze me. I sponsored this challenge to inspire people to take time to take care of themselves, and today in particular is about finding beauty. And what has happened? You all are inspiring me! Thank you for this lovely narrative about how slowing down is part of what creates beauty, connection, and happiness. Thank goodness for that and for your dad.
What a blessing to find this 7day challenge in my email today! I’m on it!
Master in Psychotherapy
Art Therapy Specialization
I am psyched to see what you come up with! I love the energy. Bring the comments here and the pics to Maricle Counseling’s Facebook page if you wish.
Almost everyday, I take the train to go to a little town near my village. It’s the same 20 minutes ride since I was 12, I went to school, college, and now work, or to see friends, or to go shopping. But when I’m aware, I take this time to observe and admire the beauty of the country, the nature, fields, forrest and villages. It rained a lot this summer but this evening there was a little sun, and a lot of flowers everywhere, in the gardens, wild flowers in the fields and even near the factories. For me it’s a reminder that if the nature is stronger than all what we do, the life in me is also so strong!
I love thinking about that too! When I see a flower or grass busting through the pavement it’s such a strong statement of survival. Thank you for sharing your moment with us.
Today while at the park, one of my daughters noticed the exoskeleton of a cicada clinging to the bark of a pine tree. She and her sisters took time away from play to observe, touch and wonder about such a cool insect. And then we listened intently to hear the sounds of cicadas buzzing all around us.
I love all the curiosity and attentiveness involved in that moment, and I can imagine you there with the girls, all looking and listening in wonder. That is beautiful.
Thank you for sharing it.
Today began as one of those bleary eyed early mornings with my 2 year old son. We snuggled and watched some Charlotte’s Web, decorated a make your own planter, and played with trains and more trains. Once I accepted this was today’s reality, I found greater appreciation for these unplanned moments with my boy. I made up some whole wheat french toast with vanilla and cinnamon – the delicious smells lingered long after our morning time. I know I’ll crave morning interruptions like today’s in the future.
I find the same – when I shift my focus to the temporary nature of the time I get with the people in my life, it shifts my perspective, and I savor it instead of wishing it away. Thanks for this poignant reminder!
My daughter and I walked a river trail today that has flooded several times in the last year. Where a pond flows into the Poudre River, the splash from the spillway was creating a beautiful contrast to broken concrete that had moss growing on it. The textures and contrasts were beautiful.
I have to admit that I had to look up to see where the Poudre River was (in Colorado, right?). It sounds very beautiful. I am so glad that you shared a bit of it with us. Thank you so much.
Today I’m trying to find beauty in a place I often fail to recognize it, in my own mirror. I’m challenging myself to go out in public without wearing any make up. As a person generally insecure with my physical appearance, I am trying to find beauty in my natural state and to not only accept but rather appreciate the details of the way God has created me.
The way you phrased your comment is so moving to me. I love the radical acceptance, but beyond that, love and appreciation for being who you are. For those of us who at times struggle to recognize our own beauty, whether inner or outer, this is such a powerful reframe. Thank you.
Eating lunch with my husband today (a summer time tradition I treasure, especially as my return to school is in a few short days), I noticed a women in line with a male companion. The thing I felt was beautiful was her obvious delight with him as she occasionally laughed out loud. Her happy mood was contagious for me!
I can envision the scene before me, and I am equally delighted at her love for him. Thanks for spreading it around.
1 day recorded in the phone camera, and a poem
the cicada’s metamorphosis
rescued from feline
barn-board and fencing
in an old quiet place
sun on the water
over leaves in a stream
Thank you for adding your voice to this blog post. I really like the emergence – rescue connection. Thank you for sharing your art with us.
I took a walk to the garden on campus where I work to take in the beauty of nature.
What a great bonus – to have beautiful gardens where you work. I work above a flower shop, and so I also made time to take in their outdoor blooms, and the bees doing their work. I like the image of you doing the same today, and so many of us all joining together today to find beauty.
After enjoying an iced latte far later than I should have last night, which resulted in me still looking at the clock long after 1am, I spent the day feeling exhausted to say the least and not too motivated/hopeful that I would find anything beautiful aside from my bed this evening. Despite this, a colleague encouraged me to take a walk through a beautiful zinnia garden at work after lunch, and with my iPad in hand, I thought I would snap a few pictures, engage in self care and somehow feel better….well, my pictures looked as tired as I felt and although I found a lot of beauty, I didn’t feel better, so I quickly refuted that I had engaged in self care and went on with my tired day. When I thought all hope was lost in finding beauty today, I shared a random thought with the same colleague and due to her unexpected response, I instantly began to roar in the most awesome laugh that brought tears to my eyes. It could have been due to sleep deprivation, but I felt beauty in that very moment in an otherwise mundane, sleep-walking sort of day. I don’t think today’s laugh would have meant as much if the intention to find beauty hadn’t been set. Thanks!!
HA! I love the humor here, and your honesty and failing to find any beauty in your sleepy state. I especially love though the way that you talk about how setting an intention changed how you perceived your experiences today. Isn’t funny how creating an intention can “color” what we experience? A good laugh is the best, isn’t it? I know it’s good when I can’t breathe, I snort, cry, or start getting punchy. That’s the best. Thanks for the reminder and the smile. What a fabulous community we are creating!
Today we spent the day at the beach, so it was easy to see all the beauty around. The sky was bright blue with perfect white fluffy cotton ball clouds and the sun was reflecting off the ocean waves in a magical way. It was a gorgeous day to be outside and enjoying nature. What was even better was spending the time with my two beautiful girls (and my mom, sister in law, and nephew) without worrying about what time it was, if the laundry was done or not, or what we were having for dinner. Rosie (my 3 year old) and I built a pretty great castle in the mud. It was fun and refreshing to just be in the moment with her. Awesome day 🙂
There is SO much beauty in letting go of tasks to be in the moment. I was so glad too that you shared your photo on the FB page. It’s lovely. Your reminders to stay in the moment are much needed.
This morning I spent time in nature. I smiled at my dog ignoring a mother deer and her fawn walking across a dirt road. I looked up in awe at the white oak tree that has been in my front yard for at least 100’years old. Thanks for the inspiration to look up and around in nature.
I too find that my pets show me so much humor and slow me down. You all remind ME today to slow down and take in the beauty of nature. Thank you. I’m so glad you could join us today.
I know this was only supposed to be a 5-minute exercise but I found myself looking for beauty all day! How refreshing! One instance was when I baked a blueberry pie and it didn’t exactly turn out the way I had expected. Rather than feel upset and disappointed, I decided that it was wonderful that I had the chance to bake today and share a treat with my family. After all, they didn’t seem to be put off by it! When I look at the pie now, I remember the fun weekend we had blueberry picking with friends.
If this challenge inspired you to continue looking for beauty all day, then I am thrilled! The reframe about the pie reminds me a little bit of Chibi appreciating the beauty of the flowers which we might call weeds. I can smell your blueberry pie and the love that went into it.
I spotted some tiny white flowers growing near the corner of our fence. They might be weeds, but just the way the sun hit them made them lovely.
Thanks for participating in the #selfcarechallenge! I love how you allowed something that we might pass by to become valuable and beautiful. Thanks for sharing that vision.
Today at work I stepped outside for a moment to enjoy the sun and great view of the ocean and city. Too often I work straight through the day and forget how lucky I am to work in a place surrounded by such natural beauty!
What a great reminder about stopping to appreciate what is around us. I know that when I worked in the South End, the days that I was attentive and was able to appreciate the brick sidewalks, old buildings, and cozy little shops work definitely felt less stressful!
Thanks for sharing,
Thanks again for doing this- as an expressive arts therapist, I feel strongly that self care is something that everyone needs and that we all need more tools about how to do it.
The simple directive of slowing down to see the beauty all around us is so profound, yet easy enough to do all the time.
I definitely take pictures like this – one of my favorites is of my curtains being blown by the wind into my sunny bedroom. I loved the contrast of shadow and light on the fabric, and the beautiful spectrum of light dark within the folds, ridges and valleys.
Today I remembered to slow down and appreciate the details of my home and my hometown during my commute- the tile, the old wood, the dogs in the street, the clouds…
Welcome to the #selfcarechallenge! I love hearing everyone’s taking time to slow down and see things differently. How lovely. Your description of the photo of the curtains sounds so beautiful. I wonder if you will post it on Maricle Counseling’s Facebook page?
Cheers and thanks for sharing,
it doesn’t matter how bad it’s the storm, there’s always something beautiful at the end like a double rainbow.. when life goes bad be positive God send us beautiful things!!!
HI Andy: Welcome to Maricle Counseling’s blog and the #selfcarechallenge! I know I have certainly seen some amazing things come out of hard times in my life. It didn’t always make them less hard, but it did seems to give them more meaning. What was your self-care activity today? What did you do to relax or appreciate beauty?
I took some time for myself and I was just driving around and watching the rain, I love the rainy days so it was a perfect day, and I was really calmed and enjoying the beauty of the weather!!!
I couldn’t help but find the beauty in my son today when picking him up from daycare. For whatever reason, he recently developed a huge love for soccer balls. Of course we have about 10 other different kind of balls around the house but no soccer balls. So during my lunch break, I made my way over to Five Below and picked one up. As I opened the car door after picking him up, he saw the ball–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger smile on his face, or this kid laugh and scream so hard in delight. Its these moments that remind me how the smallest gestures can mean so much for one little person – and at the same time a reminder to appreciate these little things… he won’t be this small for long! Thanks for sharing this Amy. Its something I kept in the back of my mind all day yesterday! 🙂
HI Allison! I am so psyched that you kept this in mind all day! That is exactly what I had been hoping for. Like Joanna and Jill who commented here, you took the challenge and sort of created an intention for the day. I find it amazing how suggesting to yourself that you spend 5 minutes on self-care to find beauty then so easily spills over into the whole day and makes many experiences more meaningful. I can see and hear your son’s joy. Thank YOU so much for sharing it with us. What fun.
I try to capture a photo a day . . . an image of something special to me. Yesterday’s was a photo of my son holding onto my hand as we spun around to some favorite tunes on Toddler Pandora. It’s beautiful twofold: (1) the beauty of the moment itself — the abandonment and joy of a toddler dancing and dancing with and like a toddler, and (2) just the aesthetics of an imperfect image — iphone photo, everything is blurred, but so much movement and such good memories. I’ll post it on FB for you.
Your images are so lovely, I can picture what you captured with your son in my minds eye and it seems to fun and lovely. I too love letting go with some imperfect images in my art – I find it loosens me up a bit and helps me get some better work in the end.
I live in the southern Appalachians and am routinely breathless at the beauty all around me. Right now I am struggling with words to describe the gratitude I feel to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has been raining for several days here and my mood has been low. For a few hours the sun came out this afternoon and I took the opportunity to photograph the small wildflowers that were popping up in my yard.
I feel grateful just getting to hear about where you live. I am so glad too that you are able to take it in regularly. If you feel so moved, share the photo on Maricle Counseling’s Facebook page.
I saw a faded fire hydrant in the grocery store parking lot that had some peeling paint and a touch of rust. The combination was beautiful and I just had to get some pictures. Later I realized another reason I was drawn to it was that it was comforting knowing it’s been there all along and will be if needed but that it has been a really long time and nothing bad has happened- no fires in the area.
This is such a lovely vision Amy, thank you so much for sharing!