By Stephanie Capilongo

“Go Outside… amidst the simple beauty of nature… and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” -Anne Frank.

The outdoors, it appears, is complicated. But it’s not. It can free your mind and give you a new appreciation for beauty. It brings things and people together, whether it’s your best friend, significant other or your cat. The people you go with mean everything. And no matter who you are or what you do, you can find joy.

While in the outdoors, I reflected on “imperfections”. Just like a tree, branches are bound to break, but the foundation (aka the trunk) will always stand tall. They only grow stronger, and I’ve taken that metaphor and applied it to myself. I know I have branches that will break, but my values and beliefs will stay strong.

Imperfect still has the word “perfect” in it.

We don’t need a mirror to see our own beauty. Let the things you love be the mirror to your beauty. Those things that make you happy, will give you more benefits than looking through an actual mirror.

My mirror is the outdoors. There’s an aspect of “unknowing”. Though there will always be an unknown, it’s an unknown that I am not scared of. It’s taught me the value of simplicity. I pay attention to the wind through the trees, and the darkness of the night. It gives me a sense of mindfulness. It allows me to appreciate everything and everyone. It’s given me the desire to see more.

We spend our lives making up excuses as to why we can’t rather than can. But the biggest burden, is the excuses. When we look beyond our screens, we can see that feeling small in a big world is the most invigorating feeling.

So whether you find joy in hiking, biking, running or sitting outside, find the sensation of simplicity and make that your mirror.