BEAUTIFUL. I’ve written about it before, but I find that thoughts are ever evolving, so revisiting the idea and stepping in that footprint repeatedly is needed for it to stick. I’ve come to realize that this has long been a meme of mine. Growing up with everyone telling me how pretty and ‘hot’ my sister was, I labeled and put myself in the ‘smart/creative’ box. This was my conditioning, I always had a natural sympathy for looks, I despised the word ugly and can’t recollect ever using the term (nor fat for that matter either). In fifth grade I began my exploration into beauty, when I was placed in advanced art and assigned to do portraiture. I was hooked, hooked on the human form, mystified. I found that I was most taken to draw people with something unique a deciphering: glasses, a lop-sided smile, a distinctive nose, big doe eyes, and crinkles around the eyes from years of laughter. Things that some may point out to be flaws or signs of aging, but things that I took pleasure in. I began then to start looking for things that I found appealing. This was my first breakout from the conditionings of the world, where we look for the flaws. It’s like the scene from Mean Girls, where they stand in the mirror and say what they need to change and what is ‘wrong’ with their physical selves. It’s everywhere: on billboards, in magazines, on TV, everywhere is the ‘ideal’ image of that rail-thin or beautiful model that we’re supposed to live up to. I’ve felt these pressures, always fighting with, instead of embracing my body. Trying to hide with baggy clothes or hide myself in general being meek and quiet. I spend time with my friends and I hear the same things, this relentless spray of self-deprecating thoughts, waiting on someone to say something validating (you’re pretty or such), so we can momentarily feel better. This past week I began to delve further into this as I finished Being in Balance. I realized that I was sometimes having these negative thoughts about my own image still and so I set myself a challenge. It’s like what I’ve learned to do with people, instead of focusing on what drives me nuts or displeases me, I look for the things that I love about that individual. I set myself on the task then to look for what I loved about my physical self rather than to allow myself to have those negative connotations. If I found myself picking at a ‘flaw’ I would change the thought midstream, to something loving. It’s like Thoreau says: It is never too late to give up our prejudices. Beautiful things about me, Brittany:
o I start each morning first by placing my hand over my heart, envisioning it heart palpating in my chest cavity, the subtle rhythm of lub dub. Next I take a few deep breaths in, conscious of the rise and fall of my chest with each new breathe of life. A reassurance of the miracle of life. That my body already knows how to take care of itself, without me actively doing anything. A sign of my connection to the infinite source and being. I am alive, now how can I be better today.
o Next I start at the top; I feel the scar running along the shaved side of my head. It’s funny how scars represent lessons learned from memories. This one comes from a car accident when I was 6 years old. Every time I think about it, I get a visual of my mom telling me that things happen for a reason, that maybe this was a sign from god that me and my siblings needed to be nicer to one another. The everything happens part I have always firmly believed, but the niceness at the time I thought was a way that my mom was just trying to get us to behave. Now I see how utterly brilliant she is. Closeness to death or accidents (just like sickness and symptoms are signs) are examples that we should embrace life. To love more, to be kinder, to judge less, etc. If this scar isn’t enough I travel south to right above my left knee where I see two little twin scars where I had a pin through my leg, as another reminder to love more and stress less.
o More scars I look at the side of right hand and smile at a lesson learned in anger. I learned by slamming my fist (which consequently landed on the teeth of aluminum foil) that reacting to anger with more anger and frustration, feeds the cycle. Fear and hatred cannot survive in the presence of love.
o The last scar is fresh on my left hand, sliced upon a butchering lesson with my father. A sign of self-sufficiency and proper nourishment for this sacred body.
o Next I go to the obvious facial features. My amazing blue eyes often reflect back the image of shocking white hair: my grandpa and my first taste of judgment. I learned from his passing that everyone has memes and demons that they have to deal with (for him he used alcohol as a self-medication). I used to just write him off as an alcoholic, so I wouldn’t have to deal with him. Seeing him vulnerable in the hospital after his accident, I realized that he was a human-being. And a magnificent one at that. When he wasn’t drinking he was enigmatic. He never met a stranger and spent his life humming and singing for all. He was beautiful, not some stupid label I put on him and when I look at my eyes I see him; hum a tune to myself and smile as I feel a little part of him with me.
o Next up that nose of my mine. The only feature I have that mirrors my fathers, and a good one at that. A running joke is the incessant growing of my father’s nose, how it seems to get bigger with age. It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally grown to love it. It’s actually quite representative of our relationship. Him being a large meme in my life, until I finally let go and we are able to just be now (instead of trying). My nose is there, it serves it’s purpose and is a distinctive part of my face (as my father is a definitive part of my life).
o Smile, the one uniting factor of my siblings. We all have the same smile and gums. And I have to say it’s pretty infectious, my brother can’t laugh or smile without me joining in. a toothy grin, brings us together in our growing together and of our happy memories past. We’ve had our ups and downs like all families, but are ultimately rock solid when it comes down to it.
o Body, definitely represents that of a woman. Blessed with a large bust line (regardless of weight loss they’re always there), hips and gluts; a pure representation of hour glass proportions. It’s the body I have now and it is beautiful, so I need to treat it as such. Give my digestive system the nutrients that it needs so that everything else will work in its mysterious balanced state of checks and balances that can’t be tricked. Practice healthy lifestyle choices by reducing stress (there’s no such thing as stress; there are only people thinking stressful thoughts), practicing mindfulness and meditation, doing just enough exercise to be beneficial without overdoing anything, and SLEEP (something whose powers I feel are truly underestimated).
Each day I add to the list and I discover more things that I find beautiful. You can’t find beauty in others if you do not first see it in yourself; just like you cannot love others if you do not have love to give out (same thing with kindness and happiness). So instead of picking yourself to pieces, look instead with appraising awe. Like Dyer says:
Shift to a state of awe and bewilderment as you appreciate the beauty that’s in all people and all things. Stop your habitual way of noticing what you don’t like and instead look hard and deliberately for what you find pleasing. If you change your thoughts to what you love rather than what you label as wrong, you’ve just changed your entire relationship.
Don’t buy into the commercial beauty and who you think you should be or how you should look. Dr. Tank has challenged me to a week without makeup. Although I’ve cut down the amount I wear and like the natural look, go completely natural made me at first apprehensive. It’s like a crutch. A crutch that I needed to knock down, to really test my confidence and assurance to be true to myself and radiate outward. Yet another harmful little challenge to test my spiritual journey. Can you do it?
See Beauty, accept beauty, be beautiful. You are what you think!
BE, Love, Illuminate