How often have you walked down a street or into a shopping center and been oblivious to what’s going on around you? To the people, the sculpted structures, or the snippets of nature that you pass unseen? I find myself doing it all the time. And when I realize it’s happening again, I intentionally correct my vision in order to appreciate the beauty and grace that surrounds me … that surrounds us all … every day. I look into the face of the homeless man standing on the street corner with his cardboard sign asking for help, and see his eyes light up with each person who stops for a moment and not only offers him a dollar or two, but also looks him in the eye and speaks to him with kindness. I drive down streets littered with trash and broken dreams, layers of graffiti decorating nearly every surface, and then I stop and look up at the majesty of the buildings’ architecture … and I smile. I look at the people bustling around a shopping mall, and I envision them as young children playing in a field of wildflowers … laughing, running, talking excitedly, making daisy chains and new friends … so totally in the moment … and I know those laughing children are still there, deep inside those adult bodies, looking for an opportunity to visit that wildflower field again. My point is this … there is the obvious beauty in the world (sunsets, nature walks, babies of all species), and then there is the hidden beauty around us that requires a willingness to look beyond the shabby or stilted exteriors to see its inherent grace and dignity. When all appears dark and dismal, one only needs to choose to look for something different and uplifting. For it is all there … always … but you have to choose to look for it. Don’t allow yourself to lapse into a reactionary state. Stay focused, stay present, and vigilantly seek that beauty that reminds us all how lucky we are to be alive.