“In difficult times you should always keep something beautiful in your heart.”
Trauma can often obliterate the beautiful and it is very difficult in difficult times to hold onto the beautiful. But what I understand John Donohue to be saying is that there is usually something beautiful that can remind us that the trauma or difficult time is not everything. Sometimes the thread of beauty is very tenuous and as a therapist I have to work very hard with my client to find something of beauty for her to hold on to.
It is more difficult to be depressed in a beautiful place than it is in an ugly place. So, if it is too difficult to find a beautiful thing to hold in the heart, then I recommend putting yourself into a beautiful place – whatever touches you most, be it mountain, beach or garden. Somehow being surrounded by beauty has the effect of putting beauty into the heart. I worry for people who have to live and work in ugly places and know that they have to work so much harder to be alive to the possibilities that beauty brings. I also know that the beauty that comes out of ugliness has a quality that is quite extraordinary.
I love seeing how people ‘renovate’ their lives and bring beauty out of pain. So too the renovation of homes can be reminders of this wonderful propensity that people have for creating beauty inside and outside ourselves.