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Can you see the beauty?


I love to visit Port Townsend, WA. I sit looking at the water, the driftwood on the beach, the birds on the driftwood. I can see trees on the hills and a light house on the sand in the distance. There are big steamship boats carrying cargo and passenger boats on the water. I can people watch – some walk with dogs on leashes, some just walking on the beach, and some doing what I’m doing, sitting, watching the scenery, admiring the beauty.

One of the most frustrating attributes of mental illness is the inability to see reality clearly. Our mind twists our thoughts and feelings until they no longer reflect the truth. Instead, it changes what is good and healthy into something destructive. There are moments, like now, when I can see the beauty. I can take it in. I can see God’s hand and I can see man’s. I can enjoy what I’m seeing, basking in the tranquility of it all. Why can’t it last?

I’ve seen counselors for years – some good, some bad. Most at one time or another tell me to take a walk, to breathe deep. I think what they’re really wanting me to do is see the beauty. To go for a walk not just to put one foot in front of the other but to look around, to be present in the moment. This is where it gets hard. This is where our altered brain wants to contort itself into something evil. As I walk past the skate park, do I get to see the joy on the youth’s faces as they learn or practice their skateboarding? Or do I get wrapped up in envy knowing that they have youth while mine is fading? As I see the young couple walking their dog on the beach do I see young love in action? Or do I wallow in my perceived loneliness? Can I see the beauty or just my own ugliness?

Some people naturally see the beauty and some never see it at all but for some of us, we want to see it. We ache to see it but we are sabotaged at every turn. We have to work to see the beauty. All I can say here is it’s worth the effort. It’s worth finding the energy to go for the walk when you’re so tired for no reason at all. It’s worth finding something beautiful and talking yourself into seeing it. Redefining your reality into something that reflects truth instead of depression.

Can you see the beauty? Can you find the time, the energy, and the willingness to try to see what is good in this world? I realize it may be a struggle. For some, the depression may be so severe it seems impossible but can you try? Because when we train ourselves to see the beauty around us we can then train ourselves to see the beauty within us. Instead of only looking out on the picturesque view we can look inward. We can choose to see the person willing to try instead of give up. Beautiful! We can feel our hearts swell as we look upon those we love. Beautiful! We can see our own value just as we see the value in those around us. Beautiful!!! Can we take the sadness and despair we feel and just put it aside for a moment? Can we simply see the beauty?

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