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Life is complicated and one day a couple months ago I became extra conflicted. I just didn’t know what to do and was almost paralyzed with insecurity and fear. What should I do? I had trouble figuring out what was good, what was right, and how to please everyone. Nothing seemed clear. Even when I found a task that seemed ok, I quit as soon as it seemed fun. Really? Now how dumb is that, to intentionally sabotage something good?

But then a new thought suddenly filled my mind. That day, instead of doing what seemed good or fun… a clear thought came to mind.
“Do what is beautiful.”

I posted it on my refrigerator and said it out loud. “Do what is beautiful.”
1 1 Do What is Beautiful

That day, as I looked through photos I took in Japan last year, I was struck how looking at a tree, really appreciating it, the leaves, the bark, is beautiful.
1 Japan tree Kyoto
2 Japan tree Kyoto
3 Japan tree Kyoto
4 Japan tree Kyoto
5 Japan tree Kyoto
6 Japan tree Tokyo
7 Japan tree Kyoto
8 Japan tree Tokyo

Enjoy the photos slow. Look close. Each pine needle, each curled leaf, each thirsty root.
Do what is beautiful.

I breathed in deep, remembering the smell of pine and forest.

And there, sitting at my computer looking at photos, breathing deep suddenly seemed beautiful.

Everything started to be beautiful!

Washing dishes is beautiful.

Strength is beautiful.

Resting is beautiful.

Sacrifice is beautiful.

Never giving up is beautiful.

The slate from my childhood hangs on my dining room wall. I had not written on it for over a year and it was time for a change. Writing new words on the slate is doing something beautiful.
I started with a pencil sketch.
2 Do What is Beautiful
I sketched out the words to make it all fit.
3 Do What is Beautiful
I erased and edited.

Do something beautiful.

Do something beautiful.


My sketch seemed off and I wasn’t happy with it. It took me a while to figure out that I wanted to do “what is beautiful” not just “something beautiful.” It was such a small change but it made a big difference to me. So I erased again and penciled in Do What is Beautiful.
Do What is Beautiful, the sketch for the chalkboard.

Do What is Beautiful, the sketch for the chalkboard.


The old organizer box still holds chalk bits that I used 45 years ago.

The old organizer box still holds chalk bits that I used 45 years ago.


I picked out a handful of chalk colors to make the drawing.
Colored bits of chalk

Colored bits of chalk


But I ended up using only neutral colors.
8 Do What is Beautiful
I’ve never minded the scritch and scratch of chalk on the board and even enjoy the dust on my fingertips.
Do What is Beautiful, written in chalk.

Do What is Beautiful, written in chalk.


Do you see the tally marks in the lower left corner. Count them… there are
37 tally marks. I made them as I worked on the chalk drawing. Each one of those tally marks is when I erased something on this chalkboard and had to do it over. 37 times I made mistakes or had to straighten a line, or erase or start over. I left the tally marks on the drawing because they represent what is beautiful.

The last part of the message is to Never, Never give up. Never giving up is beautiful.

If you’re at a loss of what to do, do what is beautiful. You will know. And never, never give up.

Do What is Beautiful and Never, Never give up.

Do What is Beautiful and Never, Never give up.

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