Sometimes my own writing tells me things about myself that I hadn't noticed. A few months ago the protagonist in one of my current novels-in-progress discovered that focusing on beauty helped heal his soul from the trauma of divorce. He walked the beach at all hours of the day, noticing the colors, smells and sounds. He filled his home with objects that he found beautiful. He took photographs of beautiful scenery and filled his apartment with the prints.
That subtext in the story sprang directly from my personal experience. Showering my heart and soul with beauty was the principal way I coped with the aftermath of my divorce. First, I focused on the natural beauty around me. For the first couple of years, sunrises were my obsession. I took hundreds of photos of sunrises and hung some of them on the walls of my apartment to enjoy even when the sun is not rising. I kept all of them on an online photo site, which I visited often during tearful nights. A secondary focus for a long time was birds. More recently, I've become fascinated with clouds, and specifically their reflections in the water.
Over time, appreciating beauty has become a habit. I find myself focusing on beautiful clothes other people may be wearing, or jewelry. I savor food that looks as good as it tastes. I have always loved glassware, and sometimes I find myself walking through the dishes aisle in stores simply enjoying the shapes and lines of the glassware, along with pitchers, bottles, and jars of all sizes, shapes and colors.
Other than taking photos of things I find beautiful, I don't desire to acquire the beautiful objects I enjoy. I just enjoy looking at them, and contemplating the talent and passion that brought them into being.
Maybe discovering beauty was a way of internally balancing my soul. Having spent most of my life studying the True and pursuing the Good, I guess it was about time I looked up from my books to notice and appreciate the Beautiful.