Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Walking in Beauty

With me there is beauty
In me there is beauty
From me beauty radiates
 ~Navaho prayer

There is a fundamental harmony in the universe that is perfect and beautiful. The Navaho embrace this concept in their notion of “hozho,” a term that recently crossed my path and captured my imagination. I am no expert in Navaho language or culture (I’m no expert in anything for that matter), but I understand this untranslatable term to mean something like “walking in beauty.”

This concept is at the center of Navaho life, representing the universe as a whole as well as our place in it. When we are in harmony with the universe, we walk in beauty. A life lived in harmony is one of well being, integrity, peace, wisdom, gratitude, and joy.

When we lose this harmony for whatever reason, we seek to restore it. The Navaho have specific rituals for this, including one called the Blessing Way. Isn’t that lovely?

Reading about this reminds me of the teachings of the Tao Te Ching. A life lived in harmony with Tao is one of effortlessness, wonder, resilience, acceptance, and serenity. When we struggle against what is, when we grasp desire, when we react in fear, we lose our way.

Perhaps we can borrow the idea of a ritual to restore us to wholeness when our harmony has been disrupted. We can create our own Blessing Way. What might that look like? It could be anything that would be meaningful to you.

For me, the first thing I thought of was a literal walk in beauty, like a walk in the woods at my cabin.

Sometimes, when something is troubling me, I write a letter to it, seeking understanding and guidance. Then I burn the letter in the fireplace. This represents two things – releasing the issue from my control, and carrying my prayer to heaven.

Sometimes I seek to restore harmony through practices like qigong or meditation, or even something as simple as breathing exercises.

What kind of ritual Blessing Way might you use to restore harmony and walk in beauty?

But the beauty is in the walking. We are betrayed by destinations. ~Gwen Thomas

10 thoughts on “Walking in Beauty”

  1. I loved visiting the Navaho reservation a few year ago. We stopped on a Sunday to eat at the small community of Window Rock and then walked through their weekly market. As we wandered through their world I began to realize that they cover themselves with a blanket of safety by keeping separate. Two different people asked me who I was and where was I from. I was not one of them. Each time I answered truthfully…"I am here from Oregon and I came to see you and your beautiful Window Rock." I had the most delightful conversations with both people. I bought bread from a man that live in the Acoma Pueblo and a blanket that I love so much.

  2. Thanks, Barbara, for your comment. I'm so glad to learn more from someone who has been there. I loved the term hozho and what I read about it, but I have no real cultural context for it. I just wrote about my own thoughts about it. But how great to hear from you about a first hand experience.

  3. I don't know, but I sure could use one today. My choice around 11:45 would have been "beat some poor undeserving schmoe senseless" and I hate that. Right now, I'm more in the "Lord just hit me with lightning" mode. Oh, how much easier our lives would be taught this from the start! So many deep ruts dug in now. I keep praying, God, grab some cement and fill the ruts!" and He keeps answering, "You'll have to climb out first…"

  4. When I'm feeling I've "lost the beauty," my first impulse is to pray about the situation, asking God to set me on His straight paths, not my crooked ones of my own design and desire. It doesn't hurt, either, to sit during these times on our deck, and simply breathe in the nature all around me.
    Blessings, Galen!

  5. There are two activities that, when engaged in them, I lose track of time and they seemingly remove all conscious thought of worries, frustrations, etc.

    One is walking on the beach, picking up shells and the other is working in my yard and flowers. If it is a good shelling day, I will find I've walked miles down the beach and sometimes I don't know where I am. "Diggin" in the dirt also alters how I feel and when I do quit for the day, I love seeing the results of my effort. Both things are really mindless activities but seem to take all my concentration and remove me from everyday concerns.

  6. CW, sounds like you are going through a rough time. I hope you can find a way to take some deep breaths and open up to allow beauty and guidance in. Sending good wishes your way.

  7. Prayer is always a good "blessing way" ritual to restore beauty. Praying while sitting on the deck doubles the blessing power! Thanks for commenting, Martha.

  8. Polly, I love your description of getting lost as you walk down the beach looking for shells. Your use of the term "mindless activity" caught my attention. We often belittle what we describe as mindless, but in a way, it is the most mind-full because we are totally present and engaged, rather than lost in our thought hamster wheels. Mindless, if it means not lost in our thinking mind, is exactly where we want to be! Thanks for commenting.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this one. I loved the things that you do as a blessing way. I have always been interested in Native American culture since those are the descendants from the The Book of Mormon. I love their stories and rituals.
    When I find myself out of harmony, it is usually because I have stopped doing things that make me happy such as reading the scriptures daily, making sure that I do pray consistently, eating good and exercising. Service is also a big one. When I am serving others even my husband or children I am happier. If I do these things I feel closer to my Heavenly Father and feel the spirit more in my life.
    I too love to walk in nature and I feel deep gratitude for God's creations. Feeling gratitude is also something that helps me be more in harmony.
    Blessings and hugs for this one!

  10. LeAnn, I didn't know that connection between Native Americans and The Book of Mormon. Fascinating! And yes, gratitude is always a quick and easy Blessing Way! Thanks for your comment.

Comments are closed.