The Purpose of Living: Appreciating moments of great beauty

This morning I made myself a cup of tea and settled into the sofa to review some of the episodes on Charlie Rose last week.  I found an interview with Joan Didion, author of A Year of Magical Thinking and her new book Blue Nights.  As I watched their conversation unfold, Charlie asked this acclaimed writer a powerful question: “Joan, what do you live for?”  As I watched Didion take her time to thoughtfully consider his question, I waited for her response to such a loaded question.  The first words out of her mouth were:

“I live largely for certain small moments.  Moments of great beauty in the world…”

I took a deep breath, pressed pause, and stared at the television set.  Wow, I thought, that about sums it up for me.

To me, moments of great beauty can include an unexpected visit from a deer in the back yard, the eye-to-eye deep connection felt with a loved one, or the exquisite pain of sadness experienced while saying goodbye to something or someone I love.  These are the moments that stay with me, that touch me deeply.

Toward the end of the interview, Charlie asked another powerful question: “When you look back over this life, would you have done anything dramatically different?  Again, Didion carefully considered his question before she answered. “I would have spent more time appreciating those small things.”

What a way to start a Sunday – considering such questions.  So, I ask you:  What do you live for?  What are your moments of great beauty? And are you appreciating what you live for?

Take Action Challenge

Take a walk and consider the questions above. This week’s video is about the Darwinian theory of beauty – a fascinating talk. You can find it here.



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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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