“Keep something beautiful in your mind.” – Blaise Pascal
Too often, over the past week and the past few weeks, I strove only for productivity. I taught classes and created lesson plans and graded tests and papers; I read books to review them; I did daily chores: I took out the garbage and helped with the dishes and folded laundry. We all have myriad tasks which fill our days, some that we like, some that we don’t.
But, I found myself, even during moments of rest thinking: What can I do next?
So today, I became unproductive. I watched football. I listened to a podcast. I played guitar. I paid attention to the wind in the tree outside my window, and the cerulean reservoir beyond it. It was beautiful.
John O’Donahue, an Irish poet, reminds us that beauty makes us feel more alive in its presence.
Too often, I do not see its presence. This is because, in the hustle of productivity, there is little room for beauty. Beauty is aesthetic. It brings us to the foot of Imagination and Wonder — two very unproductive activities.
Too often, I do not feel alive.
Yet today, I was reminded of this need for beauty, from a view I have seen hundreds or thousands of times. I was reminded of this need for life. And, for a few moments at least, I paid attention to it.