Tonight at the health food store where I work, I had a random conversation with a stranger about chocolate (imagine me, imagine that). Her eyes were beautiful, her cheek bones piercing. She couldn’t have been more than 80lbs. She physically ran to the store, which meant she was limited with what she could purchase because she had to be able to carry it back home. Through our conversation, it was evident that she was struggling with a number of things in life, yet she hung on my every inch of chocolate wisdom. She complemented me on my hair and then she said, sighing, “You are so pretty – you make me feel so ugly. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for listening to me.” Speechless and somewhat shocked by her words, all I could do was give her a hug as we parted ways in gentle tears. I found myself thinking back to looking in the mirror that morning; I had joked to myself that my thunder thighs might actually start to make lighting bolts as I dance across the living room floor. I had noticed every imperfection in my body; my puffy eyes, swollen ankles, jeans too tight… in those moments, I felt like shit, to be honest. I felt so stupid for not feeling what I preach to so many, and I got so frustrated with myself and mad at society. It seems like this quest for acceptance and beauty is perhaps the desire to finally be loved. But we have it backwards, don’t we? We so often look outward instead inward, we look to others instead of our own heart. All of this made me think back to a post I wrote in the summer of 2013, called Questioning Beauty, while on a runway in San Francisco, searching for something, for freedom, for love.
So today, recognize that beauty is the wild is your eyes, and the wild in your eyes is your perch to from which to fly. You are beautiful, right now, exactly as you are. Don’t change a damn thing.
If a women, is said in a Tantra, abandons herself often enough to the dreams that spring from her heart, the mood that arises will color her whole person. Is it not one of the most common of commonplaces in conversation that in moments of intellectual or emotional excitement the features of the plainest person assume an aspect of exquisite beauty?
-Mulk Raj Anand and Krishna Nehru Hutheesing
I have been struggling lately with the definition of beauty. It doesn’t matter whether we are male, female, young or old, we are all attracted and strive for beauty in some way, shape or form. If you do the research you will find that this obsession with beauty has gone on since the beginning of human existence. No civilization has existed without some standard of beauty and dress, even though these standards are radically different. The history of art and culture is a testament to the universal draw of beauty and the quest for perfection.
BUT- what is Beauty?
The truth is, I believe, that there is no such thing as perfection or balance. It’s all a myth and a figment of your ego’s imagination. If you live your day with the intention to make passion the plotline, everything starts to fall into place, without all of the effort, the proving and and the dressing up. True beauty is SO much more than a pretty face, the perfect body, hair, clothes, job, financial situation, and the perfect… forget it.
BEAUTY is an awareness and understanding that you are already PERFECT. Everything in your life is already perfect, each breath, experience and moment. There is nothing that you need to change. There is nothing that you need to do. The stories that we live, the shit we go through and the things that make us feel the most unbeautiful are actually the essence of how we step into our true, raw, real, beautiful self.
Whether your expectation of beauty and perfection is something that you cultivate and strive for within yourself or whether it is what someone else has cultivated and expected of you, beauty is giving up of all expectations. True beauty is an expression of your own essence in its purest and most natural state.
Beauty is Bliss in Motion.
Beauty is a state of harmony that we are able to perceive, and beauty is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. The most important thing we must come to realize is that beauty is a feeling, not an external goal based on our lipstick shade and pants size.
For me, beauty is an opening and awakening of the heart’s truest desire. It is an awareness of my true self in relationship to all things. It is stepping into my power and letting myself dance in the radiance of every experience-good, bad and in between. So…
After a long, interesting and beautiful week (okay month. .. okay 10 years)- full of ups and downs in conversations, experiences, thoughts, dances and meditations with myself and others, my words of wisdom on beauty are what follows:
Beauty is the sap of life- rasa. The yearning for more than you thought that you could ever become. It is the scent of jasmine lingering in the air after a yoga practice invoking Ganesh. It is abundance flowing to you in honoring the voluptuousness of Lakshmi, and more chocolate than you care to admit to consuming.
Beauty is attention, openness, and being willing to wonder. Beauty is the unknown. It is loving yourself first- no matter what. Beauty is food for the soul, kindling your inner fire and dancing in the wildness of you. This wildness is your essence, your spark. It is your willingness to be completely vulnerable, perfect and imperfect in exactly the same moment. Beauty is finding balance through the simple pleasures of a warm bath, quiet walk, conversation, and space to breathe. Beauty is beyond the senses of the soul. Beauty is purity and the roots of vitality that are so deeply ingrained in the earth’s core that it becomes you.
Trust, my friends, in your beauty, in the moment, in this breath. Take time to enjoy something sinful, something off limits and savor the experience of how it makes you feel. Let it be pleasurable, let it be real. Taste what it feels like to be Wildly Beautiful.