What is beauty? Some say it’s in the eye of the beholder, the structure of your face, the placement of each inherited character trait. Some find beauty in the shape of the eyes, the color of skin, fullness of lips, texture of hair but what are our eyes really seeing? Surface level beauty, we are so much more than the outer exterior that the world judges with the filtered eye. We have been shaded, cropped, filtered, and enhanced to meet what society deems “beautiful”. I saw beauty sitting in the ruins of the Acropolis, Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Olympia hundreds, maybe thousands of years old. I experienced beauty in the spirit warming sunrises and sunsets coupled with stunning views in Nafplio and Delphi .
Seeing brothers and sisters from all continents, religions, speaking multiple languages, embody the energy of wonder, I witnessed beauty. Not once did I hear this is old, ugly, worn down, torn up, tarnished, destroyed, or unfiltered. I saw everyone in awe, captivated, proud, excited, and filled with appreciation for the culture and artifacts that remain of the ancient Greeks. I observed people taking pictures, videos, and life risking selfies. Many travelers were wheelchair bound or needed walker and wheelchair assistance, some were attached to oxygen tanks, some using sign language. A range of ages, toddlers, teens, young adults, and seniors in all stages, their eyes captivated by sites, smells and sounds. Never did I hear anyone complain about a lack of beauty amid the ruins, unpleasant smells, crowds or the droves of tourists with big cameras, loud voices and the inability to respect personal space. People were patient, kind, offered to take group pictures. I saw a man in a wheelchair being carried up an area where a lift wasn’t accessible. I witnessed kindness in its purest form, from beautiful humans, amid beautiful scenery focused on the things that make us more alike than different.
Why are we so quick to place the value of real beauty solely on external factors? In many situations those are the lies we tell ourselves that subtract from who we are at heart. Like the ruins, every scar is significant, every wrinkle holds wisdom, of a life lived, a trauma survived and every collective experience that has made us who we are. Your heart is beautiful, try in simple ways to make life better for others, strive to be a better person every day, teach your children to love themselves and they will love others. That is the true definition of beauty that continues to have the greatest impact in the world.
As we began our white knuckle journey down the mountains, I decided to sit in front and face my fear of heights. It was with complete clarity I realized that despite what I have ever been told about myself, however I may have been fractured by life experiences, flawed physically, and broken internally, a rare real beauty lies within me. Its my responsibility to take charge of the opportunities in my life and honor the gift God has given me.
Traveling awakens that internal beauty for me and my prayer is that you can find what sets your soul ablaze and and awakens beauty within you.
Blessings and may you recognize beauty through your travel adventures~ Ny