“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
― John Lennon.
Do you know what a mandala is? It’s an intricate design made with colored sand created by TibetanMonks. Each one holds a different meaning and at the end of a certain period of time, the monk who created it(taking hours and days) destroys it. Why?(here)What is the lesson we can draw from it?It is one of the impermanence of our existence. Although short, it’s important to make something as beautiful as you can before it is wiped away. This speaks to the temporal state of life and is wholly encouraging. Because, since things are generally temporary, this also means there is no way you can be stuck in bad circumstances forever. In fact,it is assuring to know that there is an end. One can draw an admirable parallel, that despite these monks knowing their creation will eventually be destroyed, they painstakingly create it anyway. As easy as it would be to make one in a hurry or be lazy about it, they choose to break their backs(and maybe cross their eyes) over the intricate design of a mandala. These humans don’t simply give up orbecome laissez-faire about it but rather, the opposite! No endeavor is neglected in spite of its impermanence. In the midst of struggle this creation and symbolic destruction of a mandala brings hope. It points to focusing on the positive, creatingsomething beautiful while you can, and the eventualend toa bad situation. In that vein I’d encourage you to “ Make something beautiful while your here, because it’s temporary.”Use thebright colorsthat dwell in yourheart to make a beautiful patternwith your life.
“Everything hasitsbeauty, but not everyone sees it.” -Confucius.
What value does being pretty really have? Is it financially gainful?In somecases, yes. Is it morally upright?Does it validate your existence?It would appear that in many societies it does. Especially if you’re of the female persuasion. There was a time, when I felt validated only by my pretty face. Coming to the conclusion that if nothing else, at least I was pretty. However, I’d much rather have a functioning left arm thanbig pretty eyes! Another important question, “What reallymatters?” I found myself resigned to awheelchair, a cane,bulky(heavy)braces, and at one point the ugliest shoes I have ever seen in my life. Where there was oncefreedom of movement, cute littleshoes, and fashionable clothes I found myself stuck with the opposite at the time.Being in these unwanted and unfavorable circumstances made me question my self worth and evensexuality as aWoman. Ino longer felt attractive. In turn this effected how I felt and perceived the world around me. It brought with it the questionof, for many other Women who are(or have become) disabled, how do they feel? Because, until certain aspects of your “normal,”life experiencechange, there are so many nuances you don’t realize or perceive. Sure, it’s quite nice to be told how pretty you are. But really, in the big scheme of things, what does it matter? I remember one comment I receivedin particular(though funny at the time) was quite telling of ourgeneral attitude towards physical appearance. “Well, at least it didn’t mess up your face!” In regards to the stroke, although I’ll readily admit I’m thankful it didn’t. However, what if it did!?Would I find myself relegated to the forgottenintheworld’s population?What a sadtruth this is for oursociety. We place valueon things where there isn’t a whole lot and no value on things where there is much. In fact for some time I had to be stopped from giving away all mybelongings, because after what I went through, the valueof them dropped!At one point in time where I would spendfrivilously, I now carefully(and delibrately) saved. We all know beauty is only skin deep, but how often do we act on that truth? If we actually did, the cosmetics industry would plummet, bank accountbalances would rise, and eating disorders would be arcane. Therefore, take care of your physicalhealth and appreciate the body you have. Especially since it’s on loan and you can’t take it with you!
“You can’t get rid of fear, it’s likeMother Nature.You can’t beat it or outrun it, but you can get through it, and find out what you’re made of.”– the good dinosaur(Pixar)
Whether your influence is of the dark or of the light, both really matter. Because likein bumper cars, sometimes life hits usandwe getsent in all sorts of directions, but after the initial impact we can usually choose in which direction we’regoing to go. We all deal with things differently, and over time like butterflies, we experience a metamorphosis. Where one person can turna bad circumstance into good, others mistakenly follow or choosea darker path. The world expertly presents us with things that are“good,”but areactually cloaked in darkness. For example, all that yummy processed food that will eventually kill you, or the allure of tarot cards and the occult.This was pointed out to me in a dream recently.No matter whatyour trialis you have a choice in how to deal with it. Oftentimes our trialschangeus,like water running over rocks and changing their shapes and textures. Not only do trials and time change us, but they also show us what we’re made of.Some of us will be pleasantly surprised by our resilience, while others bitterly disappointed by our brokenness. The fact is, we all have the potential to be either built up or broken down. That’s why it’s so important to choose the paths that lead you intothe light of happiness, faith, love, and hope. Rather thanthe darkness of negativity,hopelessness, and depression.Whatever your going through there are many positive resources available to you, you just have to do some foot work! Not only that, but pay attention to and remind yourself of all the things thatgive life beauty. Whether it be in nature or in human kindness(like the video below )
Florence and the Machine sing to and for a young girl with cancer in Her hospital room that couldn’t attend their concert.
“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.”
This song has been haunting me, echoing through my mind like a voice down an empty hallway. We have all been “lost boys,” at one point or another. Whether we’re lonely, trying to find our way, or just plain old mischievous and freeofobligations. The funny thing is, the lost boys actually had a large group of friends, yet were still considered lost.
Perhaps you too have been part of a crowd but still felt like you didn’t quite belong. I first heard the song wafting over theradio airwaves on a dark night time drive, and again at abeautiful dance recital that was punctuated with thefeeling of endings(a last dance for High School Senior students. I love music because it has a way of expressing andrelating nearly everyemotion throughit’ssonic landscape. Ialways said when I died I wanted to become a music note. As amusical note I could weave in and out of space and be emitted overwaves of sound. As well as touch people’s hearts. When you’re a music note youressentially immortal and always a part of something beautiful. Of course we can’t talk about Peter Pan withoutmentioning Captain Hook. What is yourpersonal Captain Hook? Because we all have one. He comes in the form ofopposition, negativity, and hardships. When we’re looking to find our way and having hope for a future each of us becomes a “lost boy.” Then, we grow up much to our chagrin and the tribe of lost boys scatters. No longer do you have that adolescent camaraderie and sense of adventure. As the world becomes less new and your feetchange sizes, so does our reality and the people in it. Suddenly adult obligations or responsibilities begin to seep into and take apartthe tribe of lost boys.However, the invisible thread that at once connected us is always there. We may grow and change but our hearts and spiritsremain largely the same. Sometimes the wind will carry a tune to my ear or a familiar smell to my nose andgently remind me of my tribe. Although they’re scattered about I know that their stillthere. Having a stroke has displaced me as a lone tribe member looking for the path to our hideout in the woods. As I wander I keep an eye out for it to emerge once again from the shrouded trees. Dear friend, may We all discover that path and find our way back to belonging.
“‘The rhino is now more or less extinct, and it’s not because of global warming or shrinking habitats. It’s because of Beyonce’s handbags.”
-Steven Patrick Morrissey.
I have spent many a day inside of a Sephora, and pride myself on being quite the product aficionado. I even applied for a job to be a cast member(see here) at one in Times Square out of sheer desperation, for the discount, and because why not? While perhaps thankfully I didn’t get the job, I don’t mind dishing out my knowledge for free. However, the discount would’ve been nice. Not to mention adding more unnecessary pretty things to my makeup arsenal. Sadly I mostly bought it all because I’m a sucker for well designed packaging and pretty colors(kinda like a kid in the sugar cereal aisle. These days, I have gone either bare or for the “no makeup, makeup.” That being said, without further ado.. here are my must haves all spilling out ofthis bag.
“All little girls should be told they are pretty,even if they aren’t.” -Marilyn Monroe.
We all know them,beautiful celebrities,and internet beauties.Men want them and some women want to be them.I used to look at photos of women I found to be beautiful,but I stopped.Why would I avoid this you may ask? Well, I realized that taking in another’s physical beauty made me forget and value less my own.It’s no secret that ladies fall into the comparison trap.How could you not when television,magazines,and some facets of social media are dominated by gossip and the admiration of beautiful women.Unfortunately that’s our culture,but I choose to avoid it.Because it only serves to bring you down and glaze over your own lovely attributes.Not too long ago I heard an interesting idea, that by reveling or envying another woman’s beauty you can forget your own and in a way disallow Her to express Hers.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.However, what if it’s in the mind? Do you feel prettiest in a physical sense(i.e dress,features,a body)or do you feel it the most internally? Some people feel prettiest when they get a certain look from a significant other,when their having a good hair day,when they help a stranger,or when they look good in clothes.I would be lying if I said physical appearance doesn’t matter to us.Indeed it’s as much in the mind as it is in a physical expression.I find the more I avoid the comparison trap,the more I see my particular brand of beauty.This is why We should all try to avoid these negative sources.It is wonderful how much better you’ll feel when you allow yourself to be built up,rather then torn down.We have all heard over and over the problems and complexities of raising a new generation of girls to be strong and value themselves.That’s wonderful but what about the grownup girls too!? Change occurs from the top down,so if we want a better future for females then said females need a good board to jump off of.This begins by everyone feeling pretty(awww)whether it’s on the inside or out for you it doesn’t matter.As long as you find it and I can promise you it’s there! I don’t like to make promises often,but this one is easy.I know that feminism can be a dirty word, but that shouldn’t make self confidence one! Therefore go out there and fear no mirror! Instead look back at yourself as you imagine a person who adores you would.Find your favorite features,think about what makes you happy.If nothing else start avoiding the comparison trap and see yourself with fresh unbiased eyes.