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April 14, 2011 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Why We Should Look For Beauty

As I mentioned in my book review of A View From The Back Pew, I recently had an opportunity to visit Las Vegas.

This was a work related trip, as Vegas would not exactly be my first choice of places to go.

I am not a great traveller. I don’t mind flying itself, but the whole process of planning, packing, airports, security, customs and acclimatizing to a different climate is for me, a perfect recipe for anxiety. I know that I am not alone in this.

While I tend to relax immediately upon arrival, it is a lot to go through to get to a place I have no interest in being.

Non-the-less, I survived the trip and now I know for certain that I prefer to give Vegas a miss.

I am definitely not a big city person. I am not shopper, nor a gambler. I am also a big fan of peace and quiet, which is pretty much impossible to find anywhere in Las Vegas, unless you lock yourself up in your hotel room. Since my room turned out to be too far from the hotel router to get a wi-fi signal, there wasn’t too much to do there.

Las Vegas, is a nightmare to someone as environmentally conscious as I. The traffic, lights, decadent waste of precious water and complete dis-regard for the health of our Earth could easily be enough make anyone feel as though the situation is hopeless.

However,determined to make the most of the experience,  I did have a relatively good time. My travelling companions, my boss, and two of my new co-workers, were excellent company. We laughed a lot, ate some amazing food, but best of all, I saw the most amazing show of my life. Believe me, the irony of seeing such a show two weeks after I leave my theatre career is not lost.

There is  always something beautiful to be found, and in this case I found it in 90 minutes of breathtaking spectacle in the form of Cirque Du Soleil’s show; Love.

From the first moment the performers hit the stage, (some of them literally hitting the stage,) I was deeply moved by the beauty of human creation.

Having spent most of the last 16 years working in theatre, I was as blown away by the technicalities of the show as I was the artistry and brilliance of the performers. Stage Managers, who are more like air traffic controllers, costumes that almost made me ache, and technical effects that I could not understand , all set to the incredible music of The Beatles. These were original recordings of the music that has been part of my life since I was born, seamlessly combined with added strings and other effects.

The entire production seemed to defy the limits of imagination.

But of course, this would be because there are no limits to imagination.

I found myself wondering, as I have many times before, why we are not more committed to creating beauty in the world than we are to taking it?

It doesn’t matter if our hearts lead us to art, performance, music, or if we are drawn to science, engineering, law or any of probably thousands of passions that we could be drawn to, there is art and beauty to be found in any job well done. The key, is that the job be done for the benefit of the whole world. That we consider the impact of our choices first, and proceed only when, or in such a way that neither the Earth nor any of its inhabitants has to suffer as a result. This is the missing component in so much of what we are doing and how we are living, and it is the cause of so much suffering both individually and collectively.

As there are no limits to imagination, it must be possible for us to live in a much better way, and in doing so, we would create so much potential for true happiness, peace and joy for more than just our own selves and those we love. The art, and the beauty lie in the process of discovering how.  This is something we can only do when we are willing to commit.

Sadly, it seems to me, that even those who are aware of the serious crises that we face today, have resigned themselves to the belief that people will never change, so there is no point in trying to do anything. Besides, we are all very busy.

But the world is changing, constantly, and very, very quickly. Trends begin and take over, and the next thing we know we look back and marvel at what we were thinking in the past.

There was a time when no one had even thought of adding seat belts in cars. Parents smoked while holding their babies and teachers were allowed to physically abuse students in order to make them learn. Women in our own culture didn’t always have the right to acquire even a primary education. In each moment of our entire history you can find examples of how we changed our thinking and in doing so, changed the world. It is happening as I write this.

It is what happens when people stand up and speak out, become the change they want to see and set an example for others. Change, is not only possible it is inevitable. What is not inevitable, is that we will change for the better. That, can only happen when we are consciously determined.

Call me a dreamer, I won’t take it as an insult. I do not see how we will possibly be able to keep stripping this planet of its resources, filling it with garbage and polluting it with toxic chemicals and carbon-monoxide if we hope to survive, but I absolutely know that we have within us the potential to change. In doing so, our lives will become richer and our children will have a much brighter future.

The key, I believe is to turn our attention to what beauty we can find and create and it all starts when we decide to try our best today, love ourselves even when we fail, and strive to do better tomorrow.

Some more beautiful things I found in Vegas

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10 Comments

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  1. Patricia / Apr 14 2011 6:04 pm

    Oh that Cirque Du Soleil is amazing and it does key up the imagination to new levels indeed. I have not seen a show in Vegas, nor could I go out in the sun during the 2 conferences I attended there. I was relieved to discover that they are not so wasteful of water – as a matter of fact they are very creative about recycling water and reusing – almost a model program….

    My motel room too smelled of so much smoke I was sickened and had to pay for a non-smoking room.

    You really captured some beauty here and I am so glad to have come by and been energized by your words and ideas. Thank you

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Apr 16 2011 9:07 am

      Hi Patricia!
      I’m sorry it took so long to respond to your comment.
      It really was a treat to see Cirque in a theatre built just for them. It was amazing.
      Sadly, while I realize that they do recycle water etc. it is not nearly enough. What passes for conservation in our minds won’t do much to change things in time.
      As always, thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words.

  2. brittany220 / Apr 14 2011 7:50 pm

    Great post, there are a lot of things to think about from what you’ve written. I agree that it’s important that we try to change things for the better, especially our own habits. One quote that I came across when I was searching for a senior quote several months ago was:

    “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
    ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

    I’m a dreamer too, so I’ve thought many of the same thoughts you have shared here about the environment. It’s important that we not only dream but also “do” too and often times what we do can influence others to want to do the same. When my friend went around picking up scattered garbage strangers left around campus during lunch one day, I got up and helped her because I thought it was really good of her to do that when she didn’t have to and could have just been eating lunch.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Apr 16 2011 9:09 am

      What a fabulous quote Brittany!
      Thank you so much for leaving that. (It will be added to my quote book!)
      I love your friend’s idea.
      It just goes to show how setting an example can change things. When one person does something, (your friend) and you step in to help and another, and another… That’s the way to get things done! Way to go!

  3. Joan / Apr 16 2011 7:56 am

    Just lovely, Jenny.
    You just added a bit of beauty to my day.

  4. Greg / Apr 16 2011 9:53 pm

    Someone who just returned form Las Vegas was telling me about his trip. He also mentioned the Beetle’s Cirque show and was highly impressed. His family had seats near the stage but recommended getting seats further back to see all the action.

    He also noticed the smoke and lack of non-smoking laws. He said his wife took a few days to recover.

    As per the tenant of your post, I think this is good advice. In this messed up world we tend to judge things too harshly instead of appreciating them for what they are. A gratitude journal is a great way to build the skill of looking optimistically at our lives. Very practical, gratitude is. Think of the money and effort saved by not keeping up to the Jones’ in the ever ending quest of finding greener grass that often never exists.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Apr 17 2011 11:28 am

      Hi Greg,
      You bring up some really good points, (just in time for my next blog post :))
      Gratitude is possibly one of the most important things we can do to live great lives. Without it, we will never have enough to be happy and it just becomes this never-ending cycle of needing more and more, which of course, cannot continue if we want to have a planet to live on.
      I was fortunate enough to have seats to the show near the back, but the theatre is really brilliantly designed and I can see where most seats would be excellent. The whole thing about Cirque is that you can’t take it all in! It is simply too mind blowing and each thing that is happening is fascinating so while you focus on one amazing feat, you might be missing another. Yet another opportunity to practice gratitude and be in the moment.

  5. Ollin / Apr 17 2011 10:28 pm

    Great post Jenny!

    I believe that love is unconquerable, and that if humanity moves in the direction of love, we too will be unconquerable. We still have a responsibility as a community to make the choice between shadow and light. There is still hope, I believe that we will chose light, but I am anxious that more people become aware of what you and I know. We need to open our eyes and act in love at all times.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Apr 18 2011 7:41 am

      What a beautiful way of phrasing that Ollin!
      I also agree with everything you are saying, (surprise!)
      I suspect the problem is really one of ignorance. Sadly, so many just don’t realize the seriousness of our situation, nor that we have the ability to choose love and turn it around. I guess the key is for those of us who really get it, to live it, and try with all of our hearts to spread it around.
      Much peace to you my dear Ollin!

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