Aesthetic can be defined simply as something pleasurable to look at. An aesthetically-pleasing piece of art or scene from nature ignites our sense of sight and all of our senses respond with pleasure and happiness. Endorphins increase. Awareness raises. Oftentimes, aesthetic pursuits such as making art or walking in nature, are seen as privileges or trivialities. Lucius Seneca once said, “All of art is an imitation of nature.” He meant that nature is the original aesthetically pleasing energy, as nature is what we turned to before we began making art, before television, and before the Internet. To be immersed in aesthetic beauty is not a privilege, but rather a necessity for mental, physical, and emotional health. You need only turn to the word itself to know that the opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic. Anesthetics are usually thought of as substances to limit pain, but in fact, they limit all feeling. To be anesthetized is to lose the capacity to feel pleasure, to feel alive in the simple and profound beauty of nature. How do we get in touch with the essential aesthetic beauty of the natural world?
Getting outside in nature is the simplest way to start to open up our senses and begin to feel the essential beauty of the world around us again. When we practice being fully present in our natural environments, we start to open ourselves to its beauty and thus, we feel happier, more alive, and more ourselves. The writer E.O. Wilson wrote, “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, and even spiritual satisfaction.” When we get out in nature and make ourselves available to its beautiful, aesthetically-pleasing offerings, we opt out of an anaesthetic existence. Recognizing beauty as an essential element of a satisfying and full life is a huge step towards improving our mental, physical, emotional, and intellectual lives. We find that when we open ourselves to the beauty in one thing, we open ourselves to the beauty in all things, and we experience the world as a masterpiece, rather than a disaster.
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. We focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery offers an experience like no other through a proven, 12-step, adventure-based wilderness program. For more information, call us today: 801-921-8488.