I used to worry about beauty all the time. I never felt marginally attractive, let alone beautiful. I grew from being a gangly tom-boy into a very tall, rather plain-looking woman—this in a culture fixated on beauty. More and more, through the years, I felt bombarded by examples of what I was not.
I worked hard to stay fit and trim, two things I actually had some control over. At one point I had a massive home gym that took up one entire room in my house. I exercised seven days a week and dieted all the time. Still I wasn’t satisfied with my appearance.
But along the way something rather remarkable happened: I quit thinking about it. There came a point in my life, rather recently, when there were simply too many other things that needed tending to. I got very busy with the business of living.
And I came to Truchas, a little village in the mountains of northern New Mexico, where time seems to have stood still. It is a slow, gentle life here. There are no billboards announcing the way I should look. I don’t have TV. I take no magazines. The values in the village focus more on heart and ability; family, community. Little by little I lost sight of what the culture “out there” tried to impose.
And another unimaginable thing has happened: I have come to feel beautiful. I’ll be turning 62 this month and for the first time in my life I feel attractive—pretty even. This has nothing to do with what I see when I look in the mirror (I like to say I’m in my Georgia O’Keeffe phase with all the new wrinkles—character I call it now). I believe this new sense of self springs from living my truth—what Joseph Campbell would call “following your bliss.” The superficial has forever lost its hold on me. I am immersed in the act of creating a life. It is not always easy but more and more I am dwelling in the heart, guided by soul.
Each and every one of us is stunning. We all have something that is uniquely ours to bring into this world. How we look has so little bearing on what we do that I am amazed, now, by how much time I spent worrying about what I am not. Finally, I am very much engaged with what I am. And I find THAT beautiful!
I wish it for all of us.
Love to you all,