When Georgia O’Keefe was a young girl, she became transfixed by the beauty of one of her
dolls and thought to herself: ‘Maybe I could make something beautiful.’ And, with that thought, she expressed something that was to become absolutely central to her life - the creation of beauty.
For more than seventy years, she painted relentlessly - cityscapes, landscapes, flowers, bones... - whatever was beautiful to her.
Well, as a child, Georgia had had discovered a great secret. Beauty is a doorway – a doorway to a transcendent world. “When you take a flower in your hand,” she said, “and really look at it, it's your world for the moment.”
But, it is no ordinary world.
Anyone who has had this experience knows the mystical nature of such a moment. In the presence of beauty, one’s mind goes still and, however briefly, one becomes fully present to the experience of that beauty. There is a feeling of an expansion and one is in what Blake described as “a World in a Grain of Sand, … Heaven in a Wild Flower, … Infinity in the palm of your hand.”
And, what allowed Blake and her to have such a depth of experience?
Her answer was clear: “Most people in the city rush around” she said “Nobody sees a flower.” “It takes time - we haven't time - and to [really] see takes time.” Knowing this, she left New York and moved to the to the American Southwest, settling at Ghost Ranch and later at Abiquiu. There, she wrote, it “was quiet … and I could work as I pleased.”
The quietness allowed Georgia's mind to settle and this enabled her to see – to really see. And, in the presence of this beauty, she was transformed.
But, for her, that was not enough. She wanted others to have this experience too. “I want them to see it,” she wrote and, in this sense, her art – like all good art – was offered as a transmission, as a gateway to the divine.
Now, we each have our own experience of beauty wherever that might be. It is to be found in nature, in music, in art, in the laughter of our children and in the smile of the one that we love. Beauty is everywhere if we only look for it. But, in order to see it, we have to take the time to be still - really still - so that we can be fully in its presence and so be transformed.
Bill Petrie is a Consciousness Coach with a particular interest in creativity. He loves helping artists and photographers to find their wellspring of creativity and to establish their own authentic voice.
Bill has decades of experience and training and works online with people as far afield as the USA, UK, Europe, South Africa and Australia. He also sees people face to face in his practice in Cape Town.