Finding my Way on the Beauty Path

This new Earthskin Design fabric is easy to read. It’s just a giant version of an apple green leaf, its veins appearing clear and traceable. It’s the leaf of a big fig tree that has been happily inhabiting my office for some years now. And because the photograph has been mirrored, new graphic designs appear in the spaces between leaves, where they hadn’t existed in the original photo.

In the process of designing fabrics, there is always the element of surprise. I upload a photo to the software provided by Spoonflower Company, not knowing whether the photo will make a worthy design or not. When I mirror the photo, I hold my breath, waiting to see the design that unfolds like a section of a kaleidoscope. Sometimes it’s a disappointment, so I let that design idea go. Other times, like with this design I’m naming The Beauty Path, a smile and a “Wow!” come over me. It’s the delight of being an agent for creation of something new.

When I am bathed in this process, all other parts of “reality” disappear. I am carried to the land where we are artists of life, trying different experiments, delighting in it all. This is such medicine for me during these turbulent, terribly painful times, that I call creativity my saving grace.

Of course I am not the first to discover this. The Dine or Navajo people have long spoken of the Beauty Way, and their prayer to experience Beauty above, below, behind and around has been powerful and lasting. The Dine certainly have experienced turbulent, terrible times, and yet this is their prayer. What a worthy example for the rest of us.

I find that all I have to do is ask to see Beauty in any situation, and something shows up. I’m not talking about a bright green fig leaf now, or a Hallmark card, or the path of denial. I’m talking about the habit of looking for God, or the bright side, or the Life Force, or the Beauty in the situation. A bit of mercy, or grace. Sometimes it’s really hard to find, and I even resist seeing it.

Take the current climate crisis. When I want to curl up in a ball of despair, fearing that we humans may not make it out of this one, that we are wantonly destroying our Mother and that the excuse is the drive for profit—at those moments of rage, grief and helplessness, it is hard to see any hint of Beauty. But then a little spot of light appears, and I remember that one consequence of this crisis is the awakening of young people crying out in behalf of the earth. That is truly Beautiful. Not totally comforting and not a complete answer, but Beautiful.

So, given the choice of where to put my energy and my efforts, do I choose the ball of despair, or could I choose the Beauty Path?  Well, I know the right answer, but am not sure what to do, which way to turn onto that path.

I look at the bright green leaf printed now on fabric, being made into scarves, kimonos, pillow covers, tote bags and place mats. At the base of the leaf, where it is attached to the branch, the largest vein extends into the leaf. I’ll follow that path. I’ll pretend I’m an ant, since ants are much more attuned to nature and how to survive there than I.  Following that little road on the leaf, there are a number of turnoffs. Each one leads to more branches. So there are many choices on the Beauty Path. Many routes in this micro universe of green. All of them real. All of them true. All of them beautiful. I think I’ll choose this path. It will require discipline, but it is probably the route to experiencing heaven on earth.

As a matter of fact, I think I’ll wrap myself in that Beauty, just as Mother Earth has. I’ll follow her lead. Honor her. Listen to her. Take a stand in her behalf. And maintain a full heart, full of gratitude for this wild journey here on earth. Will you join me?

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