At Milwaukee Irish Fest we saw Kevin Burke perform. He's a talented, effortless-looking fiddler (who tells wonderful stories). Yet part of me resisted his music--fiddle, unaccompanied. Gradually I sunk into the bare-bones beauty of his playing. Why did I resist? Because I'm used to embellishment.
By the end of Kevin's performance, I was entranced. I wholly enjoyed and appreciated the experience. This got me thinking about all the ways I crave embellishment; the ways I box in my happiness.
Some of my preferences: for a meal to be delicious, it must have the right blend of flavors; for a book to be interesting, its telling must rivet me; for a movie to be appreciated, it must include strong acting, photography, and story. Preferences are natural. But when I link these preferences to my happiness, I create a box--a very small box. Because life isn't filled with my preferences (sigh). Life is filled with many moments of ordinary beauty. Beauty that requires a shift in perspective or a slow pause, but beauty nonetheless.
It's human nature to crave; to want something different. And this craving causes suffering--always wanting something different from what is. I find contentment when I notice bare-bones beauty; when I sink into the moment, as is. Sometimes I resist and sometimes I remember. When I remember, it's beautiful.