Thursday, 30 June 2011

Living in Beauty


With beauty may I walk

This last post in my Beauty series is also the first one I was inspired to write. It started with a photo, but came together through a news article and the shared words of friends and family. Here’s the photo:

This is Judith, she’s one of my internet friends. :-)

It’s a beautiful photo and it’s pretty clear to see that Judith is a beautiful woman. She really glows, doesn’t she? Her friends and family can all vouch for the fact that she’s just as beautiful in character too. Judith is my inspiration for a third reason too, but I’ll explain that further on. First I need to get back to that news article.

It was a fairly regular news item about the dangers of everyday things and how to avoid them in order to live longer. I’ve been sent dozens of things like that in emails too. You know the thing – don’t eat this, don’t expose your skin to that, watch for this, be aware of that… they make living start to sound like an ongoing battle against ageing and dying. And the fear doesn’t stop there - there’s also the other fears of being too fat or too old, not smart enough or not pretty enough. So much fear and so many people spend their lives worrying, or working frantically on staying alive, that they forget the far more important issue of making sure they LIVE while alive.

With beauty all around me may I walk

There’s a big difference between being alive and LIVING. Anyone breathing is alive, but probably only a handful of people remember to LIVE every moment they are breathing.

Do you? Do you remember to listen to the birds singing in the street as you dash to work worrying about tomorrow? Do you remember to taste the food and enjoy every joyful experience of eating instead of wasting it on guilt or worry about not eating healthy enough or getting fat? Do you still stop to feel the raindrops on your face or do you see rain as annoying? Do you pause to watch rainbows in oil puddles, stop and listen to the street musicians, talk to the person next to you on the bus or in the shop… or do you move quickly so that you’ll be on time for that important “something” that probably isn’t that important really? Do you see flowers or weeds growing between the paving slabs? Do you remember to live or are you just alive?

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk

It’s not just about quantity of time, it’s about quality of experience. To be here on Earth for a long life is only a blessing if it’s a life that is truly lived. Living in Beauty is choosing to live every moment completely, in joy and wonder, not simply trying to exist as long as possible.

For that reason I can think of no-one better to acknowledge as Living in Beauty than Judith because not only is she genuinely beautiful… she knows how important it is to LIVE while you’re alive.

I check her Facebook page every week, because she always has something uplifting to share about her life. Her comments are replies are full of smiles, love and gratitude. It’s not that her days are exceptionally wonderful, or that her life is that much better than yours or mine, it’s her attitude to living that makes the difference. In fact… Judith’s life is pretty complicated, but I’ll let her daughter explain that to you:

My mum, Judith, is 53 and was diagnosed with Bowel and secondary Liver cancer last Feb 2010. Since then she has had two major surgeries to the Bowel and Liver removing the tumours. After over 6 months chemo she was told the cancer had spread further to the Lungs and she now has 5 inoperable tumours over both lungs & one in her pelvic lymph gland. Her prognosis is that the cancer is now incurable... and she has been given a statistic of 2 years to live.

Now go look at that photo and tell me what you see…

I know what I see - I see the face of a mother, daughter, friend and wife, but mainly I see a woman most beautifully living while she is alive.

In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk

With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty

None of us truly know how long our lives will be. We might lengthen our time, make ourselves as healthy as possible, but none of us have the power to stay alive forever. What we do have though is the power to live each moment of our lives as fully as possible

…and that is what Walking in Beauty means to me.



  1. Powerful post, Michelle. So true that cherishing and finding the beauty in each moment we have is more important than having a long life full of days in which we are miserable. Your friend is indeed an inspiration.

  2. Thanks Daisy and yes, she is.

    It's also made me realise how much time I spend on "important things" that really aren't that important. I think every adult needs a four year as their personal assistant. That might keep us more balanced! ;-)

  3. Really enjoy re-reading this, its so accurate on many levels. We all need a reality check sometimes on whats important. I have my mum to give me that now.. and also others too, one of the only positives from her cancer I can find.. x

  4. LOVE this post and Judith is indeed a beautiful, radiating woman. THANKS for the reminder about walking in beauty...:-D

  5. Jessica
    It's really awful dealing with someone you love being ill and to find a positive in that? Really hard! I think your whole family are doing amazingly and I send you all my love and prayers. x



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