The healing power of beauty

By Caitlin Kelly

We need beauty as much as we need food, water and air, whether it’s visual or auditory. Ignoring that fundamental need parches us.

In a time when so many people spend their lives staring at a screen, encountering beauty in real life — a flower, a bird, a sky filled with stars, a painting or piece of music — can be transformative.

We’re lucky to live in a small town — pop. 10,000 — 25 miles north of Manhattan, named one of the nation’s 10 prettiest by Forbes magazine. If you’ve seen the films Mona Lisa Smile, The Preacher’s Wife orΒ  The Good Shepherd, (one of my favorites), you’ve glimpsed our handsome main street in each of these, filled with Victorian-era shops and homes.

Our apartment has great views of the Hudson River, tree-tops, acres of sky and clouds. We savor spectacular sunsets and birdsong, butterflies and fireflies in the cool, green dusk.

In New York city, we have access to museums and art galleries and parks, grateful for every bit of it.


Here are some of the things I find beautiful, that nurture and calm me…


IMG_20160619_122748558 (1)Beautiful architecture — this is Union Station in D.C.


IMG_20160616_133549584_HDRColor, design, elegant neo-classical murals — part of the Library of Congress, in D.C.


IMG_20160412_165237000Every patch of earth, if you kneel down and really look closely, is a tapestry of color, texture, growth and decay


IMG_20151202_130507813More neo-classical fabulousness — this, a corner of Bryant Park, midtown Manhattan



I’m crazy about textiles — the purple floral is now curtains in our sitting room


IMG_20160316_204755470_HDRPattern is everywhere! This is in Soho, Manhattan — glass inserts to allow light into a basement of an early building there


L1010182ANothing unusual — lawn furniture in autumn — but I love the symmetry of it from above; this at Hovey Manor, Quebec


This plant was outside our Donegal cottage




I love this painted tin wall, one of the shops on our main street in Tarrytown, NY


Looking down the stairs at Fortnum & Mason, London



Beauty is everywhere — like this Paris cafe




I love this view — Bucks County, Pennsylvania — out the window of a 1905 farmhouse a friend used to rent



Every year I wait with bated breath for this lilac tree near us to bloom. Swoon!



Nicaragua is the second-poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti — but its wooden houses are amazingly colored and cared for


A lamp on the campus of Pratt Institute, a private college in Brooklyn


Where in your daily life does beauty manifest itself?


Simple but lovely — cut glass, silver plate, curves — and cool water!

19 thoughts on “The healing power of beauty

  1. I 100% believe in beauty therapy, whether that’s a walk in a lovely park, browsing intriguingly design shop space, galleries and museums, exhibits or expos of items or concepts you appreciate, or a long wander to look at architecture. It does wonders for a fried brain or overtired emotional state.

      1. esorenneiluj25

        Yes. It’s calming, peaceful and serene.
        Your photos are awesome too. You captured the beauty of those things that other people would deem irrelevant. Loved it!

      2. Thanks! Very kind of you…

        There is SO much beauty all around us every day if we just look for it — as I wrote in my last post, if we simply slow down and pay attention to it all.

    1. Thanks!

      Lucky shot — taken from our room’s balcony at a Quebec resort we love.

      Often, it’s just seeing things from a different point of view…like those tiny green shoots, which, without the sunlight backlighting them, I would easily have missed.

  2. Lovely and serene! I like the scene of the autumnal table and chairs. πŸ™‚

    The rural area where I grew up had lots of those cotton wool-like plants (known as common cottongrass). So soft and pretty — they like to grow in boggy ground where there is plenty of rain.

  3. Love the post–this is so true. I lived for almost two years in a rental property that I hated while waiting for our house to be built. I told myself id be happier in a place that was aesthetically pleasing (I wanted to believe that I wast telling myself a lie). And I wasn’t! I love love the place we live now and feel energized and peaceful because of these surroundings!

  4. i think that an appreciation for beauty is what makes us human. nice choices you’ve made, and for me it’s – grandchildren’s smiles, flowers, architectural details, glass, water, dance, and animals in their natural setting.

  5. Pingback: The Richest Woman in Africa:β€œI Was Selling Chicken Eggs When I Was 6” Meet Isabel dos Santos, – Oprawills

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s