I am fascinated with my dog Sita’s contributions to our family life. Yesterday my daughter and I took her to the park where we played with her, watched her cavort with other dogs, and generally enjoyed her company. That’s her above running toward me during our time together.

The New York Times had this piece in Sunday’s paper by Ferris Jabr, How Beauty is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution. This was one of my favorite passages:

“It’s not enough to consider how an animal’s habitat and lifestyle determine the size and keenness of its eyes or the number and complexity of its neural circuits; we must also question how an animal’s eyes and brain shape its perceptions of reality and how its unique way of experiencing the world can, over time, profoundly alter both its physical form and its behavior. There are really two environments governing the evolution of sentient creatures: an external one, which they inhabit, and an internal one, which they construct. To solve the enigma of beauty, to fully understand evolution, we must uncover the hidden links between those two worlds.”

Sita’s inner world is sometimes apparent, as when she shifts from her guard dog stance barking at a passing UPS carrier to her family member stance playing gently with my daughter.

Isn’t the same true for each of us, reconciling the outer world with our inner constructed world of perception and changing our behavior accordingly? What role does beauty have in the day-to-day? Perhaps it is the tie we choose, the nail color, a special pin worn on the lapel, a smile offered to raise a spirit, or a special pair of shoes chosen because it makes us feel a certain way.

As you journey into the week ahead, I invite you to give some thought to how you create beauty and allow yourself to indulge.

In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
– Navajo prayer