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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Beauty & Wonder: Ancient Medicine for the Modern Soul

Sep 30, 2023 11:00AM ● By Deb Beroset
Way back when humans were a relatively new thing, there was a lightning strike somewhere, and lo and behold, fire became…a thing. Gradually, we figured out how to make fire where and when we wanted it, and we started gathering around fires at night. Beneath the moon and stars and illuminated by firelight, we told stories. We sang songs. We danced. We created shared meaning.
It’s safe to say we—our ancestors, that is—experienced beauty, wonder and the kind of transcendence that only happens when we allow ourselves to be transported by a profoundly moving shared experience. Those who walked the earth long before us embodied a wisdom that we may have lost touch with a bit over the eons.
There is now an entire subfield of neuroscience and psychology dedicated to pinpointing the neural mechanisms that contribute to a state of flourishing and thriving—in other words, a rich and meaningful existence. It turns out, beauty and wonder are significant ingredients in that recipe.
The beauty and wonder that our ancestors experienced around the fire back in the day are essential medicine for our modern souls as well.

The health benefits of beauty and wonder
Science gradually catches up with what our instincts and intuition already know. You’ve always known you feel better when you stick your nose in a flower and inhale deeply. Or dance out that frustration and stress with your favorite tunes blasting. Or take a moment to gaze up through the trees overhead.
Much research backs you up on that, pointing to the healing effect of beauty—and the fact that sometimes, even brief exposure makes a remarkable difference in our health and well-being.
Nature, for one, has an extraordinary capacity to nourish us. In fact, some say what makes us sick is our distance from nature—that sometimes our low moods and energy are caused by our separation from the wisdom, living soul and nourishing support that it represents.
A series of studies on children, for instance, found that those who had more exposure to green spaces and nature were far more capable of facing stressful situations and had longer attention spans.
And then there’s music. Did you know that one of music’s original main functions was to heal and evoke the divine? There was a group of Benedictine monks who became mysteriously ill back in the 1960s, and no one could figure out why—until they realized that doing away with most of their daily chanting was the problem. When the monks got back to their group singing, they returned to health.
Music has been proven to bring spectacular health and well-being results, to the point where hospitals use music to calm newborns, decrease patient anxiety and improve moods. Music has even been proven to stimulate and strengthen the immune system.

The importance of self-expression
Of course, there are many, many forms of beauty and wonder in the world, and a good place to start is by engaging and delighting your five senses in your everyday life in a way that expresses what you love and who you are.
As the curator of your one wild and precious life, you can seamlessly integrate beauty in a myriad of ways. One good way is through the sense of smell. You can use fragrance, incense and even choose to cook something solely because of how the house will smell as it simmers. Lest you be tempted to discount the power of this: It has been proven that smell informs as much as 75 percent of our emotions.
Create environments and experiences that reflect your aesthetics and spirit and unique perspective on the world. What fabrics feel beautiful to you? What colors make your heart do cartwheels? What flowers make you happy? Seek those out on the regular.
Art making is another important way to take the very best care of yourself. Why? Because it’s a special kind of conversation with yourself. Whether you’re making a collage or doodling or creating a mojo shrine with found objects, you’re not only reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and releasing endorphins, but you’re also connecting your mind, body and spirit and tapping into other ways of being and knowing.
At its best, art making not only brings a sense of peace and oneness that can be hard to come by with all the demands of modern life tugging at us, but it also serves as a way of accessing non-ordinary reality and the inner wisdom that sometimes needs an invitation to speak.

The joy and alchemy of collective effervescence 
And now we come to what may be the greatest form of beauty and wonder: collective effervescence.
I have a vivid memory of rehearsing Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5 in D Minor back in my early 20s when I was a French horn performance major at the University of Michigan and playing in their orchestra. Every single time we came to a particular passage—the brass would make a grand, heroic, harmonious entrance—I would get goosebumps. Every. Single. Time.
Later, I’d learn that was collective effervescence—the feeling of high-vibe oneness when people are engaged in a shared purpose. It’s that heart-swelling eruption of joie de vivre that manifests when you’re unabashedly dancing in a happy crowd, for instance, or in a group singing in unison.
You’ve likely heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which has at its pinnacle the goal of self-actualization. Turns out Maslow was inspired by Blackfoot (Siksika) Nation, who considered that the top of Maslow’s mountain is just the beginning, and that community actualization is the ultimate in thriving. That happens by moving beyond one’s Self to share in a collective experience.
What does that mean for you? Well, you might just want to seek such things out. Your endorphins will thank you for the opportunity to come out and play. Your sense of well-being will skyrocket. And your sense of your Self will expand to the point where it includes all of it—oneness.
You are a beautiful and wondrous creature, a one-of-a-kind treasure. A conscious commitment to getting your minimum daily requirement of beauty and wonder will make for a beautiful and wondrous life. You deserve nothing less.

Deb Beroset is a creative muse, shamanic coach, soul guide and catalyst of collective effervescence. She is the founder of It’s Time For Moxie LLC, which offers coaching, programs, retreat and a community, Club Moxie, for women interested in unapologetic, unabashed and unleashed living. Her work taps into creativity and innovation principles, neuroscience, aesthetic shamanism and imagination as a means of enlightenment. To connect and learn more about SoulFire, Moxie’s upcoming retreat in Tucson—with plenty of beauty, wonder and collective effervescence—visit See ad, page 12.

Its Time For Moxie LLC - NA Marietta GA

It's Time For Moxie LLC - NA, Marietta, GA

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