I live surrounded by beauty.
Yesterday morning, I had to drive to Canmore, a mountain town one hour west of the city, for an 8:30 meeting. As I drove westwards, the sun began its journey through the dark, bruising the sky with shades of purple and rose. Rose streaked clouds scurried across the sky, like children playing tag, dabbing the next closest cloud with colour and then the next as the ink black darkness softened into indigo then blue with the rising of the sun. The Rockies lumbered across the horizon in front of me, the serrated edges of their backs piercing upwards, touching the sky, looming closer and closer. Horses galloped across the rolling fields spread out around me, Canada Geese flew in formation through the morning drenched sky.
Beauty is all around. And yet, some days, my thoughts block my eyes from seeing the wonder of the world around me.
I finished my meetings around 2 pm and took a back road that led me up and over a mountain pass into a deep quiet valley before returning to meet the highway further to the east.
The air was cooler. Snow iced the peaks around me with a delicate filigree of white cutouts decorating the solid black mass of the mountains with the grace of lace tablecloth against mahogany. The gravel road skirted a mountain lake, it's gunmetal grey surface whipped up by the breeze blowing through the valley. When I reached the top of the pass I stopped and pulled into a lay-by and got out of my car. I walked along the lake's perimeter and sat upon a huge black boulder at the water's edge. Waves lapped at my feet. The peaks surrounded me, a protective amphitheatre, solid, immovable, permanent.
And yet, nothing is permanent. Time and weather wear against the mountains' mass. Snow, ice, avalanche, wind will tear away pieces of the rocks and change their solid presence. Nothing is permanent, yet to my eyes, nothing changed in that moment as I sat in silent wonder.
Sitting by a mountain lake, I felt the presence of the Divine, of God, of a universe deep with meaning. I melted into the awe and wonder of the world surrounding me as peacefulness and gratitude flowed through my spirit.
It isn't about the permanence of my surroundings. My journey is about my presence, about the value I create in everything around me, in every moment I breathe, in every step I take, thought I hold, or let escape. When I race through each moment, I miss the true value of what is around me, the true significance in each insignificant moment through which I pass. To walk in appreciation, to live with gratitude filling my heart, I must stop and look and listen to the world unfolding around me and settle into being 'at one' with all creation.
In the beauty of the mountains surrounding me yesterday, I felt the significance of that moment in time and breathed joyfully into the gratitude rising within me. I am alive. I am.
The question is: Do you see the significance of the backdrop of the world around you adding value in your life? Are you willing to stop and look and listen and feel its beauty unfold as you breathe into this moment, as you say a prayer of gratitude, I am alive. All is well in my world.