Today marks the end of the first week of my month of embracing beauty, my experiment to attempt to offer counter-programming to all of the ugliness that the world throws at us every time we turn on our laptops or devices. The week has been refreshing for me, and for my blog’s readers as well, I hope.
Rather than simply charging forward, I decided to take a day to catch my breath and review the beauty we focused upon this past week, highlighting my favorite bits, and adding a few new things for good measure.
By the way, I’ve noticed that not many people are sharing these examples of beauty with their friends. If you are at all inspired by what I’m doing, make sure to share, so that we can pass on the beauty! It’s amazing how people will share an ugly tweet by Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but not a bit of beauty.
And again, I want to reemphasize that I make nothing from this blog, and so this is not a plea to gain me hits for financial gain. It’s simply a plea to help me spread beauty. So what are you waiting for? Share these stories right now!
Day 1 • Hyeonseo Lee’s Escape from North Korea
It might seem strange that I began this month of beauty with the story of a North Korean defector, but if you took the time to watch Hyeonseo Lee tell her story, it should be pretty obvious why I made that decision.
Lee’s dedication to her family, her bravery to speak in public about North Korea, her optimism, and her indomitable spirit all add up to one of the most refreshing and beautiful personal stories that I’ve seen in a long time.
Especially in this time of the daily histrionics of the U.S. presidential election.
If you haven’t watched Lee’s Ted Talk, then go to Day 1 and give her fifteen minutes of your time. You won’t regret it.
Also, I do want to also point out that Lee has told her story in the New York Times bestseller, “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story.” Click on the book cover image to go to Amazon and see more details.
On the second day, we switched gears and I posted the story of a resilient educator working with a child who faces huge challenges in his learning. It was a beautiful story, and should inspire anyone who faces challenges in any kind of work.
I do want to point out that this story, told by a friend, is the sort of story that is repeated in classrooms of dedicated teachers all over the world every day. But you don’t hear those stories, because positive stories don’t get the clicks. No, unfortunately, it is the nature of the world that our focus will always be more on the classroom failures or setbacks than on the classroom successes. It’s a pity, isn’t it?
So, make sure to take the time to thank your children’s teacher, especially if they are doing a good job.
Day 3 • The Photography of Samuel Zeller
A week before I started this 31 Days of Embracing Beauty, I put the word out that anyone should feel free to share examples of beauty, and I would include them. This call is what brought me the teacher’s story from Day 2, and it also brought me the photography of Samuel Zeller on Day 3.
I appreciate that Zeller focuses his lens on atypical beauty – streets and metal fences and lines of architecture. As the quote of Day 3 said, and I paraphrase, beauty is everywhere, but not everyone can see it.
Zeller sees it.
If you haven’t take the time to explore Zeller’s work beyond the small gallery I posted, make sure you do so. You can see some amazing photography on his unsplash page.
Also, don’t forget to send me your own examples of beauty to share with the readers of the Thimblerig’s Ark blog! Email me at email@example.com with your examples.
Day 4 • The Top 100 Most Beautiful Songs According to Reddit
If you haven’t already, make sure you run over to Day 4, and let that Spotify list play in the background as you go about your day. The music selected by the users of Reddit have the potential to make even the worst day seem a little bit better.
But before you do that, make sure to listen to a song that should have been on that list, but because the average Reddit user is between 18 and 24, it was probably just too far out of their wheelhouse.
Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. One of the most beautiful songs of my lifetime.
Day 5 • The Animation of Glen Keane
If you watched Duet on Day 5, then you’ll agree that Glen Keane has an eye for beauty. Another place you can see Keane’s fingerprints is in the 2012 Academy Award winning short, Paperman. Keane helped with the character design on the character of Meg in this magical and beautiful short.
And the amazing hand-drawn/CGI animation is lifted up by the wonderful score by one of my favorite film composers, Christophe Beck. Look for more about Beck in the coming days of 31 Days of Embracing Beauty.
Day 6 • The Art of the Musée d’Orsay
And this brings us to Day 6, the amazing artwork found in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Make sure to go and give it a gander, and be floored that such examples of artistic beauty and genius are found under one stunning roof.
Did you know that the museum, which was originally a train station, was nearly demolished in the 1970’s to make way for a hotel complex? The station had become obsolete for trains in the 1930’s because the trains had become too long, was used as a mailing center during World War 2 for sending packages to troops, was the set for an Orson Welles movie, was the home of a theater company, and served as a massive storage unit for years.
In 1970, permission was given for the station to be demolished to make way for a hotel, but those efforts were fortunately stopped by Jacques Duhamel, Minister for Cultural Affairs, who put the space on a supplementary list of historical monuments. Not long after, the idea of turning the station into a museum was pitched, and by the mid 1980’s, the Musée d’Orsay was officially opened.
Stay tuned for more examples of embracing beauty, and please share this post with your friends! Let’s help spread beauty all over the internet.
Also, if you have an example of beauty that you want to share, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to include it!