We just don’t have time for beauty anymore…….

Many (men) would agree that we don’t have a problem spending hours in front of a mirror, in a clothes store, at a spa, in the gym etc. working on our own beauty. But making time to notice the beauty that happens around us all day, every day is a different story.

I am not talking about attending a concert, visiting an art collection, playing with our kids, going for a hike in the woods, or traveling to the Grand Canyon. No, I am talking about admiring the beauty that happens while we rush past it on our way to one of our endless commitments. It’s not really that we make a conscious decision to ignore it, it just seems to me that unless someone clubs us over the head, we don’t even recognize it anymore. It is as if we’ve taken beauty and organized it away into a drawer that we only open when we are looking for it.

For example, Metro stations during rush hour wouldn’t be the place we’d expect to see or hear anything beautiful or worth pausing for, would we?

A few years back Bob Dylan sat himself down on the floor of one of London’s Tube stations, unpacked his guitar and sang a few songs. Nobody recognized him. Now while not everybody might find Dylan’s music and voice beautiful, some of you might be familiar with classical music talent Joshua Bell. He’s one of the great violinists of today. Like Dylan did in England, Bell decided to play at D.C.’s L’enfant plaza station for three quarters of an hour. From over a 1000 people that passed less then 10 stopped to listen for a moment. And for a guy who at time makes $1’000 per minute, he earned a mere $32 in 43 minutes. Now most probably the acustics were nowhere near as good as they would have been in a concert hall. Still, obviously nobody expected to see/hear a master violinist in the busy subway station, therefore the quality of music he was playing went unnoticed as well.

Click on below link to read the great article by Gene Weingarten who shares more details and some interesting interpretations of this event. It’s a bit long but definitely worth it. And of course there are many (other) conclusions that we can draw from this. I am certainly not saying that we should notice a celebrity over a local busker. What I do wonder though is how we’ve gotten so busy that beauty doesn’t stop us dead in our tracks , makes us appreciate and smile anymore.

So next time you’re rushing somewhere, see whether you can spot at least one beautiful thing, hear one beautiful sound or pick up a beautiful scent. I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many there are.



~ by spasmicallyperfect on April 11, 2007.

3 Responses to “We just don’t have time for beauty anymore…….”

  1. its why i carry a camera with me everywhere ~ a reminder to pay attention and notice all that great beauty 🙂

    thanks for sharing this thoughtful post …

    Hchm, that is probably one of my most spoken sentences ever “this would make a great shot”. I think I am actually pretty good at noticing it, just really bad on capturing it on camera. Even if I do lugg around my camera, I am often scared i might miss some beauty trying to figure out perfect apertures and shutterspead. But I get your point, it’s a great one. thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Love love Joshua Bell. I think that the whole “people pay attention to those we are told are famous” is absolutely true. A bit ridiculous, but true.

    Hello Lauren, thanks for leaving your comment. Yes, that’s another scary part. Someone decideds something is great or worth knowing, it gets a bit of media attention and then we are dutifully follow suit. But only if it’s labelled properly.

  3. You’re right. We don’t stop and notice. It all rushes past in a blur because we are preoccupied with our lives such as they are.

    I actually take the ‘scenic’ route to and from work because I want to notice the trees and the mountains and the cute little neighborhoods I drive through. It does something good for my soul.

    Hm, yes, the very few times when I drive to work, I prefer the same. I missed a class one day and had to go downtown for the Saturday morning repeat class. I left way too early, but drove along the lake, then stopped and got out to take a little stroll. That whole day turned out amazing and I am sure it was because of the energy I got that morning.

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