How you can see all of life in one still image

Photo from Pixabay

Have you ever seen a photograph in which the content is something devastating, or horrific, or intense, or dark? Perhaps a scene after some form of disaster. Injured people are crying in the wreckage, their faces dirty and bloody and stricken with grief over their current situation. Have you ever been drawn into that content, and had your heart break in solidarity for what was depicted?

But, in a different way, have you been able to draw yourself away from the content and truly appreciate the absolute beauty of the photograph itself? The colors, the light, the faces, the focus, the artistry of capturing the image at that precise moment in time. Have you ever been so grateful that a photograph like that existed — to show you a captured instant in this ever changing, exotic and chaotic thing we call life, that you otherwise may never have had the opportunity to see and witness?

For whatever reason, it feels safe to feel both things for that photo — horror and pain for the content, and also beauty and gratitude for the image.

Honestly, that’s how I feel about most of actual life. In one moment I can be lost in the content, being emotionally dragged this way or that by what appears to be going on — but I can also pull my face away from the frame, step out of the action, and take in the whole of the work of art.

It is in this that I find an ever present underlying peace to life, even when the content looks chaotic, even when I’m lost in feeling that chaos.

It seems to me that at it’s core, at it’s essence, at it’s source, life is always beautiful, and that beauty is always free. The trick is you have to look past the surface level of your human emotions, past the content. Because the content indeed can often feel ugly. But below that it is constant magnificence, and an infinite number of ways in which to be awed.

Transformation coach, writer, story teller. Hanging out in the space between what is me and what is not me. Visit me at

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