One refuge is to consider the beauty of nature.
Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It's geometrically perfect. It's tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard-or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks, or in the clouds above skyscrapers.
A few nights ago, my eight-year-old daughter burst into my office. She was very excited to show me a video, Pendulum Waves, which shows extraordinary patterns created by the simple pendulum.
Watching the video, I was struck, for the millionth time, by the beauty of nature. I often remind myself of one of my favorite quotations, from Boethius, "Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things." Or I remind myself to "Consider the elephant"-wonder why? Because of this passage from Eugene Delacroix's fascinating Journal.
Do you find that when you're caught in the troubles of your own experience-whether those are grave problems, or petty annoyances-that contemplating nature is helpful?
The extent and stability of the heavens! In a shell, in an elephant, in the clouds, in a rock formation, in the action of a pendulum.
Years ago, my brilliant friend Kim Malone Scott wrote a novel, Virtual Love, about love and life at Google, but I never got to read it, because she didn't publish it. I was so happy to learn that at last she has published it, and I've ordered my copy of Virtual Love. You can read a rave discussion of it in a Wired article by Steven Levy, The Lost Google Novel that Takes a Better Look at Tech Culture than The Circle.