Taking a Beauty Break

By Rev. Bruce G. Epperly, Ph.D.

My friend and fellow theologian and member of the Medicare generation Patricia Adams Farmer talks about taking a “beauty break.” Amid the various activities of the day, we can pause and notice the wonder of life around us. We can as poet Mary Oliver says, “Pay attention” and “Be astonished” at the amazing world in which we live and the wonder of our own lives, “awesomely and wonderfully made.”

A North African monastic once asserted that “the monk is all eye.” I would expand this to affirm that we can be “all sense.” While some of our senses change as we grow older, the perception of beauty is a matter of perspective and choice as well as perception. We can make beauty a priority both as a creator and receiver.

painting asian mature female

We can be beauty creators in a world caught up in incivility that few of us like but many of us perpetuate or receive from social media and politicians. A beauty creator follows Mother (Saint) Teresa’s counsel, “Do something beautiful for God.” Doing something beautiful for God can be almost anything done with love and joy. Let me suggest some ready to hand ways you can add to the beauty of creation and contribute to Divine Beauty:

  • Speak words of love to those closest to you.
  • Be of help and anticipate need with good cheer.
  • Write a poem, take a photo, paint, or draw.
  • Rejoice in the beauty all around you.
  • Say “thank you.”
  • Volunteer as a tutor to a child or young person.
  • Share you professional skill with another in an open-spirited and non-attached manner.
  • Share your wisdom in a faith formation or adult education program.
  • Say “thanks” and praise others’ gifts.
  • Work for justice and peace.
  • Praying as you watch the news.
  • Posting positive memes and events on social media.
  • Singing and dancing and playing.

Every moment can be a sacrament in which you add to the beauty and wonder of life, and invite others to experience themselves and the world as beautiful.

You can receive beauty in a multitude of ways. Each moment can be an invitation to wonder, even challenging moments.

  • Taking a walk.
  • Opening your eyes and senses and embracing life.
  • Gazing at a friend’s or life companions face in gratitude.
  • Watching programs that highlight the wonder of the world around us and our own lives.
  • Listening to music
  • Savoring food or drink.
  • Touch, massage, energy work.
  • Tai Chi.
  • Breathing with your prayers.
  • Living gratefully.
  • Considering the lilies and birds of the air.
  • Reading good literature.

Rabbi Abraham Heschel says that the primary religious experience is radical amazement. So take time for beauty, be amazed, and share it.

Let me conclude with a prayer for the Navajo (Dine) Blessing Way, giving thanks, praying for justice, and healing among the First Americans:

Beauty in front of me, Beauty behind me,
Beauty Above me, Beauty below me,
Beauty all around me,
I walk in Beauty.....
In the house of long life, there I wander.
In the house of happiness, there I wander.
Beauty before me,
Beauty behind me,
Beauty above me ,
Beauty below me,
Beauty all around me,
In old age traveling, with it I wander.
On the beautiful trail I am, with it I wander.
In beauty, it is begun,
In beauty, it is finished.

Bruce in wind and water Cape Breton 1
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, pastor, and author of over eighty books, including “The Jubilee Years: Embracing Clergy Retirement,” “101 Soul Seeds for a Joyful Retirement,” and “Jesus: Mystic, Healer, and Prophet.” He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..