Tuesday, July 31, 2012

month of beauty: a beautiful life

I went to the doctor today. He was very thorough; somehow in our half hour appointment, he managed to assess my flu, give me a script for antibiotics, chat to me about herbal medicine vs drugs, give me a referral to an eye doctor, and assess my mental health. He wrote on my revised and renewed mental health plan: “Doing marvelously.”

In my head I saw a big exclamation mark at the end of that sentence! And he bulk-billed the entire thing, so the government footed the bill. Nice. 

I drove home along the freeway, listening to the radio. It was Coldplay, the new one with Rihanna, the kind of pop song with that indefinable hook, where you can't help but sing along. 

I felt so happy, so clear. And just like that, the world began moving in slow motion.

Because I had a sudden, vivid flashback to late November last year. 

I remember driving to the doctors then, along the same freeway, crying. I remember feeling hopeless. Beyond hopeless. For a fleeting, unbearable second, I thought of doing something stupid there on the road, with my car and the freeway walls. I remember talking to the doctor ten minutes later. I remember the terrible weight of being seriously clinically depressed.

I remember.

I got through that day last November and many more, always loving my kids, smiling at friends, but feeling so lost sometimes in my time alone I couldn’t see my way out or through. 

And just as I thought I’d never get out, I’d never be free,

something changed. 

I reached out my arms for help. Hands came, and saved me. 

And in early January, wellness began. And grew. And grew.

7 months later, here I am. Driving along the freeway, hope in my heart, Coldplay crooning in my ears, sun shining like crazy, singing along with my flu-cracked voice.

And the gratitude came up in a shining wave and I cried.

How clear the hills were—all rumpled greens and shadows. 
How crisp the notes, lifting up.
How calm my hands felt, resting on the steering wheel.
How bright and clean the sun.

How lucky I am.
How alive I am.

How beautiful, achingly beautiful life is.

I get to live it, and,
for as long as I am here,
I get to look for the beauty, every single day,
and find the joy.

I am so grateful. 

I have loved my month of beauty. I swear, it's so clear now—it’s like beauty sings to me every day.

I began this month, on "day one," with a tribute to Jennifer. I continued the month of beauty, because she inspired me. 

Jenn looked for beauty all the time. We talked about, and she wrote about, and we connected deeply about the beauty of positivity, the beauty of looking for and finding the joy, the beauty of family and friends, and the beauty of giving love. She "beautified" her days in small and simple ways, often just by noticing good, small moments, simple elegant things, and being grateful for them. Jennifer lived so fully, so lovingly, so givingly. I am so glad I knew her. 

This month was for honouring and celebrating a life of beauty.

Thank you so much, for coming along with me on this special ride. 


  1. Helena, thank you for sharing your beauty here with us, sitting in our own homes, seeking our own sense of joy, and smiling along with yours.

  2. wow wow wow - what an amazing talented, perceptive, caring, joyfilled, childlike being you are!!! (yes 3 exclamations)

    You have reminded me every day this month that "life is achingly beautiful" - Thank you. I am challenged to make August a month where I notice/write the delicious beauty of this existence.xx gt

  3. Helena thank you so much for your beautiful words, pointing out the beauty of the everyday. You have come a long way indeed, my friend and I have enjoyed every day of of July because of your posts! Keep on being beautiful!

  4. What a difference 7 months can make indeed. This post just made me happy and I am sitting here smiling for you. I have so loved your Month of Beauty. Your words have inspired me, made me cry and made me laugh. Love you sweet Helena.

  5. Helena, this is a beautiful post, and this has been a beautiful series! I have loved reading it all!! I make it a point to find the beauty and all of the bits to be grateful for in the everyday...I know how challenging it can be some days, and how rewarding the process is. I am so grateful for your words, and that you have come such a long way in 7 months!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.