I am inviting you to be a part of my most recent life project.
Project: Let it Be Beautiful / #LetItBeBeautiful
Photo: Emma Watson photographed by Vincent Peters for Glamour UK, October 2012
If you are anything like me, you probably think on a constant basis. Your brain works overtime to identify, define, direct, categorize, label. This doesn’t just stop at “the big things,” like relationships, events at work, or life decisions. Nope. This happens with coffee (was it good or bad?), performances (was that modern, contemporary or neoclassical?), strangers (who is this person? What do they want?), music (really not wanting to hear that right now), books (I don’t like that cover), and so on.
Every single day our day (thus our life) is shaped by these “brain thinks” that often times can kill a beautiful thing before we even realize it’s beautiful. These “brain thinks” change our direction, decide the characters in our life, and write our life story without us realizing what is even happening.
It has been a personal goal of mine since August to let it be beautiful. What does this mean? What exactly are the “rules” to this project?
First some definitions:
“Let” means to not prevent or forbid; allow. Focus your attention on “allow” and “not prevent.”
“It” can be anything. Literally anything. Something as simple as coffee to something as complicated as moving cities and starting a new life, or moving through grief.
“Be” simply means exist.
“Beautiful” can be anything. You get to define this word for yourself. You set the temperature, the look, the design of this.
There really are no rules to this project. For me, the hardest part is overriding my prevent-prevent-prevent alarm. But here are some guidelines I focus on:
1. Stand back. In a complicated world, bring simplicity. While everyone is talking, just listen. We spend so much energy “setting boundaries” or “making it clear to others who we are,” that we completely miss who they are, or worse, who we could be. We only give someone so much to work with, and we only grant them so much space to be alive in. We establish, before we even know what there is to establish. Take a pause on that. #LetItBeBeautiful
2. Actively listen to your thoughts, and then let calmness in. If you start feeling rushed or like you need answers now, that’s the exact moment to let calmness in. Why do you feel like you need answers? Why now? What answer are you looking for? Shhh… calm. Life has a funny way of giving us answers, if we’d stop obsessing over timing. #LetItBeBeautiful
3. Figure out your brain thinks. When you feel yourself wanting to categorize something, dive deep into those categories. Why is that category a thing? Is it fair? What will the results be of placing someone or something into that category? Once you start thinking about this, you’ll realize maybe it isn’t fair or time or even right to do that to someone or something. Maybe it’s just you being controlling or silly or needing something you think will bring you answers. Figure out your brain thinks before you make a decision. #LetItBeBeautiful
4. Remember what you’re creating here. This is your life. This is your community, your future, your daily intake and output. Remember things like kindness is a language, categories can hurt, and jumping to conclusions can be, well, wrong. #LetItBeBeautiful
5. Give space and time. To people, ideas, moments, experiences, consequences, punishments, pain, happiness. There is a whole lot of living to be done, and it doesn’t have to be done right here and right now. #LetItBeBeautiful
6. Be aware of your energy. You are responsible for what you bring into the room. #LetItBeBeautiful
7. Be curious, but don’t judge. Judging is what leads us to categorize and jump to conclusions and demand answers. You can be curious without being judgmental. #LetItBeBeautiful
8. Expand who you are. If previously you were only “OK” with this, try to discover more. Do what you need to do, but actively try and make an effort to expand your thought horizons. Maybe you’ve never thought something before, because you’ve never allowed it? Maybe you always shut something down, but don’t know why? #LetItBeBeautiful
9. Be willing to walk through new doors. Go places you’ve never been, see things, hear things. Have a conversation with someone you’ve never imagined. “Doors” are everywhere in our life (new people, groups, events, classes). All of those things you say “no, thank you” to or don’t make time for, those are doors you turned down. But they are doors. Why not walk through one? #LetItBeBeautiful
We’ve all been hurt before (I can see it in your eyes). That is why we have our internally wired system of overriding potentially beautiful things and people. We shut it down. We categorize. We jump to conclusions. We worry, and want answers.
Try, just maybe for one day, to override that internal system and let it be beautiful.
Tweet me your efforts to #LetItBeBeautiful @SheenaJeffers