So I am spending a lot of time on a beach in California. Which means that I am revisiting some old, unkind parts of myself. Parts that say 'you should be more this, less that.'
And I am used to these parts. I am happy to welcome them, listen to them, be with them. And, and, the usual and.... I am having to reassess and integrate my concept of beauty all over again. I am so grateful to all the women who look like they are actually on a magazine cover while they saunter along across the sand because they create a reaction in me that forces me to deepen my understanding and to recommit to loving myself more fully.
And yesterday, as I was sitting on the beach trying to feel grateful for my wobbly tummy for all that it has done - for providing my two beyond-beautiful children - and kind of, half, feeling that, a teenage girl wandered down into the waves right in front of me. She had a look of sheer delight in her eyes and it took me a few moments to notice that she had no hands. She would never have a conventional body and oh how the beauty poured out of her and straight into my heart. And I watched how she delighted in her method of picking up stones in the waves and how her eyes sparkled harder than the sun on the water as she stood quietly, peacefully watching the other children playing in the ocean. It was as if she were drinking them in - taking them deep inside her.
And then I shifted my gaze onto my children, who were shrieking with such wild abandon at the joy of being in the water. Jumping over the waves seems to be the most exciting thing they have ever done. And the deep beauty of that hit me too. That unadulterated presence and uninhibited enjoyment.
How on earth could my old idea of beauty be upheld? How in any way could I say that I am not wholly, completely beautiful too when I am reminded in such an all-encompassing, overwhelming way that our beauty has absolutely nothing to do with the world, the ideas the media sells us or how well our body image aligns with the airbrushed cover of Vogue?
But I have to be honest about the fact that I need these reminders - I need to reset myself, to look for Real Beauty, in order to get back to this integrated, connected place. To stop comparing myself, to stop being taken out by old ideas, concepts, ways of beating myself up. Because I am alive today, in these times, and this stuff is deep-seated and in my bones. It has been taken in during times of my life when I did not understand the nature of true beauty - when I felt so far from Enough.
And, as if I needed any more deepening, I got dive-bombed by a pair of hummingbirds as I walked along the road. And then a dolphin came swimming right towards our terrace as we watched him swim. I could feel the purity of his beauty - the concept-less, wordless, at-one-with-everything-ness of his gracefulness as he showed that same uninhibited joy of being in the waves.
And so I am going to dedicate the next few days to Keeping My Eye on True Beauty. And I will share my findings here. Because, honestly, we all know when we really get still, what Real, True Beauty is but it is so necessary sometimes to revisit this, to look for it, to integrate it more deeply into our awareness and our bodily experience. And to allow the miraculous shifts to colour the way we see ourselves - to allow a deeper level of self-love and self-appreciation.
True beauty has nothing to do with the world or how we are perceived and everything to do with our soul - our authentic Self, our ability to perceive beauty around us, sometimes in the most surprising of places and people and moments. And to take it in, knowing that it is a reflection of the deep beauty of who we really are.
Maybe, just maybe, our bodies will never satisfy us. Maybe we will never quite be able to perceive our own beauty but maybe, just maybe, by putting our attention on the soul beauty around us we might make great strides in seeing ourselves as we really are - in understanding even in the slightest how our angels perceive us.
If you have any insights, experiences or pictures to share, I would love for us to join on this one.