An Instagram experiment in stepping out of the darkness. #BeautyBesideYou

What is your go-to solution when you find yourself in a dark, anxious, sad funk?

There’s a time and place for being with your pain and fully presencing (that’s not a word, I know. Just go with it.) the dark. But I also believe that there has to come a point where we decide enough is enough.

I’ve had enough sadness.
I’ve had enough self-doubt.
I’ve had enough worry.
I’ve had enough of being afraid (of everything).

And when your courage swells and you’re clear that you are ready to be DONE with the darkness (at least for now), what do you actually do? How do you make that happen?

I don’t mean what you might do, eat, listen to, or watch, to distract you from the blues. Distraction just parks the pain for a later date. I’m talking about the thing that lifts you UP and gives you the strength and perspective shift that guides you THROUGH the gunk, to the other side.

Not a curtain of mist to temporarily cover up the darkness, but something that pulls you forward into the light. The difficult circumstance might be exactly the same, but you are now approaching it fueled with Light, instead of heaving under the fumes of more Darkness.

There’s a simple practice that helps me do this, and I’ve decided to devote myself to it every day to see what deepening into the Light feels like. And I’d like to share that with you. I hope you’ll join me.

I call it #BeautyBesideYou.

It is what it sounds like: Acknowledging + honoring the beauty beside you.

If you want to join me, there are 3 simple steps:

STEP 1: Set an alarm in your phone to ring at the same time every day. Anytime you like.

STEP 2: Every time that alarm goes off, open your camera app and take a picture of something near you that is beautiful. Anything at all.

(My first #beautybesideyou pics were a closeup of a pot of homemade cranberry sauce, the open beam ceiling of my childhood home and a floor lamp. Nothing fancy or hard to find. And yet, wholly beautiful.)

Don’t strain or frantically search for Monet reprints or rare, exotic flowers. It could be those things, but it’s probably something a lot more commonplace and simple.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMIn your immediate vicinity, what is beautiful?

 
Maybe it’s the shadow of light on your desk. The texture of the buttons on your car radio. Your broken fingernail. Anything at all.

STEP 3: Share your picture on social media with the hashtag #beautybesideyou. Sing your beauty from the rooftops of your heart and the digital interwebs.

I’ll post most of my pics on Instagram. Search for the hashtag so we can all see each other’s pics there.
 

Why are we doing this?

If I were a super sciencey girl, this is where I’d link to all the studies that show shifting your focus from worry and to-do list obsessions to an object or person that represents beauty to you, will change your brain chemistry and alter your physiology and… But I’m not that girl, so just take my word for it. Studies exist. They’re real things.

The point is:

1. Joy, Love, Gratitude, Beauty isn’t some far off place to get to. They’re within you, beside you, all the time. Even right now.

2. A dark room will stay dark until we turn the light on. (The dark room in this metaphor is… you. Me. Us.)

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMSeeing how close beauty is to you, means you’re seeing how close the Divine is to you.

 
When you’re in the funkiest of the funks, the spirals of more fear and more worry and more insecurity will only keep increasing until you interrupt the pattern.

Until you break the habit and start generating a new kind of momentum. That’s what #beautybesideyou is all about: interrupting our loop of mental grumbling and refreshing the soundtrack.

I’m going to do my damndest to post a new photo every day. Because I want the beauty. I want the love. I want light, light, light.

And you’re here, so I think you do, too.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMBeing awed by the things around you = saying a holy Hello to Life.

 
Use the hashtag #beautybesideyou so I can find your beauty pics and we can swoon at the gorg-fest together. xo

Love,
Annika