day 16: make space for beauty

This post is day 16. New to the series? Start here. Thanks to all of you who have shared these posts and commented, I so appreciate it. Do say hello if you’ve been reading or are new. It would be lovely to meet you. If you want hundreds of other great 31 Days topics, you can find them here.
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It was a bunch of lavender cut from her garden, wrapped in purple tissue, not a crinkle or crease in the paper. She handed it to me with a smile on her face, A bit of beauty to brighten your week, she said. The packers would come in five days, the physical makings of our life in Stockholm dismantled and put into boxes. Chaos would reign, we knew this, we have moved before.

But there it was all week, the sprigs of lavender in a short glass bottle, muted fragrance swirling around, purple beauty to behold. It was our humble centerpiece for the last Saturday morning pancake breakfast. It was there when the movers filled our living room with packing materials. When everything was in a box in the kitchen, the sun caught the glass and sparkled through the lone bottle standing at the sink.

lavender table

Small? Yes. Some might even say a speck of nothing in a sea of grief, upheaval and chaos. But every time my eyes saw that glass bottle with the lavender poking out, my soul’s rhythm changed, I knew that I was loved and seen by people who love me.

This is the work of beauty. It helps our souls to breathe. We can rest in its presence. When we embrace beauty around us and in us, it frees us to be ourselves, and I have found time and time again that simple markers of beauty unleash this soul freedom in me. On normal days it is my turquoise bowl from Afghanistan, the white window panes, my giant mug. But in the chaos of moving week, these things are not always around to provide comfort.

But the purple lavender spoke peace to my heart and my senses, a resolute monument to the truth that in the middle of the ugliness that moving can be, I can still choose beauty. When there is chaos around, I can choose rest. Freedom is available to me, I do not have to be in control. Beauty is here, I can let go. 

Now it’s your turn: How can you create small moments of beauty in the middle of your busy life today (transition or not)? Is there someone who needs beauty from you today? What can you do for them?

I’m linking up with The Grove, part of the Velvet Ashes community today. 


 Velvet Ashes: encouragement for women serving overseas

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7 thoughts on “day 16: make space for beauty”

  1. I’m so enjoying moving through 31 Days with you. You’re capturing some of my own griefs and changes so well.

    I am grateful our paths have crossed, friend … and look forward to getting to know you better.

  2. Thank you Devi for your wonderful post. Love the picture of your little boy amid the packing boxes, and the beautiful lavender. Moments of beauty for me, amid the rush and busy of a city of 20 million, include my child’s hug, a smile, the beautiful red sunset (pollution induced but still amazing!), and the gentle presence of my Father. Great to be reminded of this beauty. Thank you!

    • Welcome, Joanna, it’s great to have you here. I spent my teen years in Manila, Philippines, so YES to the pollution-induced sunsets. We always thought it was a beautiful picture of redemption, the bad being turned into something good. Grace to you as you live life overseas!

  3. What a fantastic series you’re doing! So glad to find it.

    Just the other day I almost decided against buying a small candle. We’re moving again in two months, and back overseas in 7 months. Trying to stay as clutter-free as we can, because as you know, packing is killer. But my soul needed the beauty and calm of a candle.

    I never thought about the connection between beauty and authenticity. I love how you say that beauty unleashes freedom.

    Your words and your photography are gorgeous. So glad you linked up at Velvet Ashes!

    • I’m so glad you got the candle. There’s something to me about the beauty, warmth and scent that is so soothing about a candle. Thanks for stopping by Danielle. It’s been so fun to connect more with velvet ashes, I grew up as an MK and there was NOTHING like this back then, what a huge need you’re meeting.

  4. “in the middle of the ugliness that moving can be, I can still choose beauty”

    Thank you for this thought! We are moving…sort of…that is, we are expecting to come back here to the same apartment – but it’ll be awhile before we can…so we are packing up and trying to decide what to take, what to leave and there’s always the “what if” questions – and packing up our flat to make room for someone else while we’re gone….and that feeling that nothing matters but making these decisions (and making them correctly!) – and having everything packed, arranged, etc. before the flight…how do you have – and embrace – beauty in the midst of the chaos – and yes, the pain. Thank you, Devi, for this post and the reminder to embrace it anyway…


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