Most people have heard of practicing random acts of kindness but fewer people have heard of practicing random acts of beauty. What might that mean? A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people. The phrase may have been coined by Anne Herbert, who claims to have written “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat at a Sausalito restaurant in 1982 or 1983.
So random and senseless acts of beauty is in the same vein. All around us are pockets of beauty. Nature is always creating beauty, in the flowers, the trees, spider webs and birds nests for example. Random acts of beauty are enhancements that we make through our own small acts of creativity. We don’t have to be an artist to do them.
A Random act of beauty is like a gift that someone finds that they weren’t expecting. It could be something you created in nature out of things found there. Think of it like natural graffiti, making your mark on your surroundings and leaving it behind for someone else to find. We have all done it at the beach when we created a sand castle and left it standing when we walked away. In this instance a random act of beauty can be anything from a heart made out of stones, a mud sculpture or figure made out of twigs. It can be a spiral of sticks or stone or a flow picture. Any small creation that would make someone smile when they discovered it on their walk through the woods, along the beauty or on the sidewalk.
One of my favorite random beauty makers and the best-known names associated with natural art-making is Andy Goldsworthy. If you aren’t familiar with his work take a moment to visit his website to find out more about his work and philosophy. You are in for a treat! He makes monumental creations, that take many hours to create, knowing that they are not permanent works of art. Here is his explanation of what he does:
“At its most successful, my ‘touch’ looks into the heart of nature; most days I don’t even get close. These things are all part of the transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient—only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process complete.”
You will see in his videos all the time, effort and thought that goes into each piece that he creates. The photo directly above is one of his creations out in nature. Most of them are more complicated than this one.
Another way to do random acts of beauty is to leave a bouquet of flowers on someone’s door step, or a beauty poem or wonderful picture with an anonymous note. A smile to a stranger can be a random act of beauty. I was the recipient of a Random Act of Beauty last winter. When I went out in the more to clear the snow from my car windows there in the middle of my back window was a heart traced in the snow. I never knew who did it but it sure was a day maker for me.
Here is another idea called Operation Beautiful, that I found out exploring the net. Click on the link to read an article about them, it’s awesome! How would you feel if you saw the following note posted in a public space (i.e. restroom mirror, coffee shop bulletin board, etc.): “you are beautiful just the way you are!”
This is a quote from the homepage: “The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find. The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough… just the way you are!”
Here is Operation Beautiful’s website. Check out their page called “Changing the Way You See”.
Imagine the possibilities if we all started practicing Random Acts of Beauty.