The Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland. The Christmas Markets in Edinburgh, Scotland. Big Ben from West Minister Station in London, England. The summit of Mt. Rigi and Lucerne in Switzerland. I think of these places when I need to be reminded that the world is beautiful. I hate winter, but today I considered moving to the countryside so that I could be near Mt. Rigi and Lucerne. There is no better way to see these places than with your own eyes. In all these places feelings of peace, stillness, and gratitude overwhelm me. I can’t help, but thank God that these places were created.
In my favorite poem, Desiderata, the author writes, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there maybe in silence.” In all these places, I’ve stood silently welcoming the sun to warm my face, the wind to chill my bones to reassure me that I’ve alive, and the rain to remind me that water is persistent and purifying. All of these beautiful places remind me that in stillness there is clarity and beauty. I desire to be nowhere else in those moments. Tears of unbridled joy fall from my eyes as I reflect on how blessed I am to have stood in these places and felt these emotions. These are feeling I hope to create wherever I am. I am willing to bet that they can be created anywhere in my life, even though it is something I’ve only felt in remote places.
As I prepared to leave for this trip, I hoped I would find a way to be more aware of what I feel, do, and think. I also wanted to be more aware of how I interact with others and how I treat myself. All of these things ultimately affect the relationships I have, the opportunities I pursue, and the work I will do in this world. Even now, as I listen to Ocean by John Butler, I can’t help but be at peace with what I’ve discovered while here. The things that I’ve desired for my life are simple – peace, service, spirituality, love, connection and discovery. All of these things have been part of my life in some way, shape or form, but have often fallen out of direct view for whatever reason. I am committed to living with these values as I look to the future with fresh eyes and clarity from these few short days. Life is beautiful.