• Nance Harding, MAHS-LPC

Don't Forget the Collateral Beauty


In the 2016 film, Collateral Beauty, there is a scene where an old woman at a hospital tells Naomie Harris' character to notice the collateral beauty in things of life. I watch this film whenever life starts to feel dried up. Until I saw this film, I'd never heard the word collateral combined with the word beauty. It is usually used with the word damage as in the collateral damage of war where innocent people die.


During the pandemic, each and everyone one of us has suffered personal losses. Some of us have lost more than one family member to covid and other diseases. This is when the arts become essential to healing. I often recommend films and literature to clients as a way to begin to access the unconscious where the inner healing energy is hidden among the losses and the deaths.


Turning to Nature, we find that the birth and death cycles are the same for us. It is here where I look for collateral beauty. I live in New Orleans where climate change is showing up as unusual mega-storms and active hurricane seasons. A beloved gardenia bush began to show signs of fungal infestation, forcing me to decide to have it removed.


Then this morning . . . collateral beauty emerged from what appeared to be the dead rotting limbs. The blossom pictured above revealed new life where I saw none. I hope you'll notice the collateral beauty existing alongside the sadness and grief as we individually and collectively reorient to the new normal. It is the only way I know how to thrive within the chaos of life.