Relational Beauty

“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. ” – Albert Einstein

Philosopher Eugene Gendlin states that we are not just engaged in interaction; we are “interaction.”  Bill Cunningham says “If you seek beauty you will find it.” I am seeking and finding beauty in interaction, including the more difficult states of interaction, when something ruptured is in a process of being repaired. In moments of “beauty-in-interaction,” we are most nurtured and connected in our interactions with others and nature.

Still, we sometimes experience hurtful, alienating moments, and beauty is deeply hidden from view. When we find ourselves in terrible situations, our feelings and experience must be attended to before anything else. Only then, often when another person helps us through, we may see beauty again. In relation to terrible situations and events, experiencing something beautiful is like finding water in a hot, dry dessert, or a light in a deep, dark closet. We need it to go on.

When a sense of relational-beauty is lost to us, we need more connection to thrive again. In a way similar to how oxygen nurtures our living-physical bodies, relational beauty nurtures our alive-human-beingness. When beauty-in-interaction meets our relational needs, we are more ready to move through to the next moment.

As people gathered for the “Beauty and Psychotherapy” workshop, I asked what brought them. A few people I knew and several I did not know well said that I had brought them; they had some sense of me and wanted to experience what I had to offer them. It was as if they were saying: “You are valuable, interesting and smart.” The participants reflected what they saw in me as just as I was wanting to give them the best of what I have. I was very touched; a glow of light illuminated something in me, allowing me to sense myself as beautiful. I wanted the participants to come away with a similar experience.

Simply being heard or welcomed by another person may bring a wonderful sense of  inclusion and connection. Perhaps it is the reflection of something beautiful inside of us that brings such a sense of being seen, present and alive.

What moments of “relational beauty” have touched you?

John and Mary (Oil Painting) © Janet Fish 11/2011

Portraits of Friends and Strangers (Pencil Drawings on Paper) © Robin Kappy 11/2011

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