VIDEO: “Beauty could save the world”
I read a Vanity Fair article yesterday about Julie Kent, a famous ballerina who is retiring after 30 years with American Ballet Theatre in NYC. The article coincided with the sad news of a terrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were killed in a church. What Julie Kent said made me think.
She said that before going onstage one night, she found a note on her dresser from the illustrious Natalia Makarova, a Russian prima ballerina who defected to the West in 1970 while dancing for the Kirov Ballet.
Someone once said that beauty could save the world, it read. What a great responsibility you have.
That poetic notion has stayed with Kent—that beauty lies in all that is good, and that she could be its courier through dance and through her life. “It’s beauty in humanity. There’s beauty in kindness. There’s beauty in motherhood, and beauty in forgiveness, and beauty in caring. There’s beauty in all sorts of things in life,” she said. “And it’s such a release and a reward for the soul to see it.”
I started thinking about what it takes to see beauty and what the ability to notice beauty has to do with the state of mind and soul. There’s a reason why you don’t see artists going around shooting people. You can only see beauty if you are present enough to stop and notice it. And you can only be present when you are in alignment with yourself. And when you are in touch with who you really are, you would never hurt a fly.
I am incredibly lucky to have a mom who sees beauty in everything around her and if there isn’t any, she creates it. I guess that’s how I function too. I love creating in all forms. Choreographing, taking photos, DIY projects…you name it. It’s how I make the world more beautiful for myself (and hopefully others).
Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. –Camille Pissarro
I feel blessed because oftentimes I suddenly notice something that touches me and really speaks to me. That’s what happened when Chris and I went to Budapest and he took me to the Kerepesi Cemetery, which he had fallen in love with years ago. There is a reason why we are in love and married. We’re two peas in a pot. That’s how I say it.
There is an overgrown, forgotten part of the cemetery that is filled with the most beautiful and intense sculptures of sad, vulnerable women. Each one of them grabbed me and I felt like I was looking at real women who were telling me their sad stories through their human and (oh so) feminine poses. The choreographer in me admired the delicate positions of their bodies and the human in me was mesmerized by the energy they were giving off. I loved them so much that we had to return the next day. I am lucky that my life is full of such visceral experiences. Chris’s dad Mike always says: You make your own luck.
I created a movie from the photos of these beautiful grieving women. I created it as a memorial of the people who were shot in Charleston and for their families. And to show you how I see the world. Even when it’s ugly I work hard to choose to see the beauty in it. That’s the only way you can hold on to hope when it’s hard and hope is what will always keep you going and help you get back on the right path.
Yesterday I had the incredible good fortune to meet (ever so briefly) Michelle Obama. She spoke to members of the Consulate community and said that she had been down—“a little depressed”—by what had happened in South Carolina. But then she started talking about hope and how we will only progress by following the positive path. To me, beauty is the positive path.
Beauty can save the world. No matter how hard it is sometimes, let’s look for it (and find it in everything).
What are some beautiful, unexpected things that have touched you? I would love to know; please share them with me. Together we will focus on the beautiful.
And that—truly!—is connecting dots of isolated beauty.
Have a weekend full of beauty and enjoy the video,
For the innocent people who died in South Carolina.