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Text by: Jacque Crosswell Watene

Dear Polite Society Reader,

Recently I came across a journal entry, from years ago, in which I expressed my great desire to experience more beauty in my life. This was well before I had begun keeping a journal of gratitude (please see Polite Society Magazine's second issue Love and Gratitude), and I had experienced frequent bouts of unwelcome depression. In this particular entry, I write of how the ambiance of beauty has literally lifted my soul out of the darkness of that depression.

May 21, 2005

Today Aaron took me to the Huntington Library. I was feeling down for several days, and couldn't even pin-point what was bothering me, except that I just needed to see the world as beautiful, welcoming, and loving again. I'm tired of being fast-paced and stressed-out all the time. I have to say that the Huntington always lifts me- the beauty and history of the art, the library filled with decades and centuries of knowledge! And always, the gardens. For me, this is the dearest part of the Huntington Library. Just to walk among the flowers, listening to the birds sing, watching the turtles and fish swim carelessly in the ponds… How could I be anything but uplifted?

Today I remembered who "Jacque" is- what she loves and how she dreams of one day living her life. Thank you, Beauty! Thank you for wrapping me in your bounty and compassion and joy! I am reminded that I need to actively create more beauty in my life. I am once again renewed through you.

Beauty can be many things to many people. An antique tea table will literally send me into a swoon, whereas modern art might just very well be the cat's meow to you. Our preferences for beauty are as individual and diverse as our looks and personalities, thank the Heavens (for there are only so many antique tea tables left in this world!).

In this issue of Polite Society Magazine, we look at beauty both as an outward expression to be admired, and more importantly, as an inward quality of character to be cultivated. Come and spend the next few moments with us as we share our ideas and insights about the glory and splendor of beauty, and how to cultivate it in our lives.