The Transformative Power Of Beauty with J. Ruth Gendler

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What is beauty? Is your child beautiful? Your loved one? What about that neighbor who antagonizes you on a regular basis? Beauty is a quality that defies definition. You know it when you see it, but may not know why one object looks beautiful while another does not. J. Ruth Gendler looks beyond definitions to explore the feeling of beauty, and the wisdom that makes it possible to transform the world to a place that's more beautiful than we imagined it could be. She says, "We have identified beauty with the most superficial aspect of looks. But we all know that when we are in a place of harmony, whether it comes from music or nature or food, or the right colors and the right texture, when we think of beauty as harmony it has a profound ability to bring us into a truer alignment with ourselves." In this inspiriting conversation, Ms. Gendler will open your eyes so that the beauty in your world is not just a visual event, but a transformation of your heart. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


J. Ruth Gendler is an artist and a writer, and has been a teacher of writing and art for more than twenty years. She leads workshops in writing and creativity throughout the United States, and has been an artist in residence with California Poets in the Schools and Young Audiences of the Bay Area. She has worked with elementary, middle school and high school students teaching through California Poets in the Schools, and writes about the transformative power of art. In October 2007 the Lineage Dance Company presented a theater piece based on her book The Book of Qualities (Harper Perennial 1988), now in its 52nd printing.

J. Ruth Gendler's books include:

To learn more about the work of J. Ruth Gendler go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How beauty can help you heal
  • How walking can help you see
  • How you can transform something ugly into something beautiful
  • How beauty is connected to wisdom
  • What the real difference is between a mirror and a window

Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 12/6/2007     Program Number: 3232