The Necessity of Beauty in Tough Times

My heart was a little heavy. I was deep in thought about those I love and inwardly trying to “solve the world’s problems” (what? you don’t do that?)  Anyway, I read the title of this article in Darling magazine: Why We Need Beauty When Times are Tough . (PLEASE take a minute to read the article).

Oh, my heart resonated with this.  The discipline of knowing what choices keep you grounded in rough times can be tricky. Instead of honesty, we demean ourselves for thinking off the beaten path of hardship. We chide ourselves for being dreamers and wonder why looking at something beautiful is worthy. Well, answer that question. Why is it worthy? Listen to the answer. We know that the tiny, incremental decisions are the ones that let light pierce through the darkness. It’s always been in the smallest of things that redemption and hope takes root.

Maybe it’s in noticing the way the light makes your skin glow at sunset, or the way the trees sway and swirl in the breeze, or the application of a red, “happy” lipstick even when your heart is heavy? Whatever the “beauty” that lifts your heart, embrace it. Embrace it fully. Redemption draweth nigh.

You know celebration and recognition of beauty brings heaven down to earth, don’t you? The gasp inside your heart when you view the snow-capped mountains from the opposite ridge, seeing the aspens blaze in fall, or the surge of happiness and thankfulness amidst utter exhaustion as you hold a newborn baby in your arms, you know the peace that love brings and the way it surrounds you like a warm blanket on the cold night as you gaze up to see a shooting star. Guard this art of seeing, recognizing and celebrating beauty. Let nothing steal this prize from you. It’s extravagance is like a goddess from some mystical shore, looking at you, waiting for acknowledgment. Some will say this goddess doesn’t exist. You know the truth.

Recognition of beauty changes everything, mainly ourselves.

 

The Nail Salon Dilemma

SNS Gel nails

I’ve just come from The Nail Salon.

What in the world? I have beautiful “SNS gel nails” now. I can say I am VERY pleased with the results, but the experience? I am a little baffled. I keep thinking, ‘nowhere in society is there a place where people talk ABOUT you, in FRONT of you, like the nail salon. How does this happen? Well, they know how to speak in a special code. You’re there. You hear the sounds, but you have no idea what is said. Giggles ensue, followed by high-pitched laughter. What is a person to think as they feel the side-ways gaze? I wonder if I’ve just been complimented or condemned? I know not.

I walk out with shiny aqua nails. (darling, I do believe). I’m tempted to think I’ve been laughed at, but I raise my head and smile. I choose to think I was complimented. Why not? I’d rather be complimented than condemned. Maybe there’s something more magical about the nail salon than the nails. 😉 hehehe

 

Am I Too Old for This? The Middle Age Conundrum

 

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Am I too old for this?”  I asked this question today. I bought some hair extensions Yep. I did. Despite working really hard to allow my hair a chance to grow long, it won’t cross this line. I think my hair is in defiance just like my ovaries. “Nope, nothing else to give ya darlin”, I imagine this said in a very strong brogue.  Well then, I’m stubborn and, by golly, there’s a way around this! Hence, the purchase.

I chose Pro Extensions (clip-in). Pretty interesting concept. Easy to “put in”.

IMG_5943 (1)

Stay tuned. I will do a separate review about the extensions in the next few days.

So, I am rounding the corner toward 50 and in the throws of menopause. Maybe I’m in a crisis? Maybe. But I’d like to think I am someone who thinks about age in terms of experience, like “the older you are the more opportunities you’ve explored” kind of person.

If you question, “whether or not you are too old” for something, well, that’s a normal conundrum, but then again, I hope your next thought is “so what?”? The more important question is, “does it make you happy, lift your spirits, encourage?”

Go for it. Sky dive. Start a company. Adventure. Take the trip. Dare. Do something new (maybe a new ‘do’). You’re not too old. (says the woman with long platinum extensions in her head). (wink, wink)

 

Menopause- The Unfamiliar Room in My Own House

Breaking apart as a mirror

People usually write posts when they have something they need to say or something beautiful to explore (that’s my fav), or maybe when they feel passionate about highlighting a cultural change or injustice that needs exploration. But I am posting today because I don’t have answers on this topic. It feels uncomfortable. In the midst of menopause I feel like I’m standing in a room of my own house, but with a quizzical gaze. I’m in shock that I had no clue this room even existed. How can this be true? How can you live in a house for years and not know about a room? But this is exactly what menopause hormones seem to create. They blindside you with strange, hidden parts of yourself. I’m tempted to close and dead-bolt the door to that room so I can’t find myself in there again, but there’s no doorknob, no dead-bolt, no lock.

This room is filled with remnants- items I’ve used in the past line the walls. I see books and a fully decorated Christmas tree from years gone by. I see stacks of photo albums and used furniture. I hear music and snippets of conversations from my past. It’s all familiar, but yet uncomfortable. I tear up looking around. I don’t recognize the room, but I recognize the items. Strong emotions are ignited.

The season leading up to menopause has introduced parts of myself, (albeit exaggerated), to the “front of the class”.  It’s like jr high school on steroids. This awkward version of me standing up there in the front of the classroom; almost unrecognizable. I know I must make sense of her, love her, cheer her on. I know she’ll get through this, but probably not without battle scars. It is the oddest of things not to recognize yourself. Even more odd to recognize something, like the eyes, but nothing else looks familiar.

The unstable thoughts that hurl so quickly makes me ponder this phenomenon. Where did it even come from? What awfulness has happened to cause this? Paranoia, insecurity and lack of confidence seem magnified into unreal proportions. I keep saying “this isn’t really me”, all the while knowing that I must make friends with this awkward stranger in the mirror. The most unsettling thing is not how I “look”, but how I “feel”.

As a society we seem comfortable laughing at “hot flash jokes” (we gotta laugh so we don’t cry, right?) and have come to terms with a little “menopause crazy” (even I find this crazy a little funny at times). But… paranoia, anxiety and depression? No, we don’t like to talk about that. And I get it. It’s complicated, not so easy to fix and we feel too vulnerable to say those thoughts aloud.  I guess I should say, I feel vulnerable about that. I admire strength and tenacity, perseverance and hope. This feels like the opposite and so I breathe deeply, trying not to admit this force is something I have to deal with. I try to cry silently, rage quietly, pray fervently, desire honorably…but I’ll tell you, it’s been awfully hard.

So today, I’m trying a new and honest approach with menopause as I write about it “out loud”, not because I have answers but because I have questions. Feeling isolated is not a feeling you want to feed. So, I’m attempting to starve that awful feeling and send it shrinking in darkness. I am bringing something to “light” because don’t think I was designed for this (is that a problem? I don’t know) and yet I’m here, doing what I know to do—taking supplements and rubbing cremes, asking forgiveness, praying for patience and crying a bit more than I think a grown woman “should”.

So, there it is. Maybe you’ve felt alone in this hormone abyss. I hope you take some comfort that the mirrors are all lined up along the edge of the room and a there’s a bunch of us standing in shock not recognizing what we see before us. You’re not alone. Maybe writing it out loud will help someone be ready when it happens to them? I hope. People tell me this will pass. They said that phrase in pregnancy too. They were right. They said that about the children growing and going. They were right. They say there is another glorious side to this place. (patience is required). I hope they’re right.

The Gasp of Cluelessness

I marvel at the poignancy of uncertainty. Have you ever thought you had something “figured out”, categorized, written off into “never question again” territory , only to realize in a “grand-scale-kind-of-way” that you were clueless? You might even gasp upon realization that facts were missing from your analysis? (It’s a beautiful gasp, I might add) Maybe spirit was missing? heart was missing? Something major was undetected; obscured from your understanding and view? Yeah, me too.

It might be that you had taken some option off of the table.  Pragmatic choice.  Ease of life decision. Understandable. Until it’s not. Some would site this categorization as laziness. Some, security. I tend to think that until we are drawn in, awakened by an ‘aha- moment”,  that “we meant well”. The good news is, I believe there’s grace for this moment. I am so grateful for that.

But…

when the dawning comes, what will you do? Pretend? Act like you’re still “sure” even if you’re not? Is honesty something to be ashamed of?  I think not. Honesty is crucial. Humility hangs here in this space- Humility is a resource for growth.

I don’t know it all. Even in my epiphanies, I am so limited. Maybe that is the most valuable understanding in life. The goal isn’t knowledge (contrary to popular opinion). It’s so much deeper. When we’re tempted to make judgments about others in their decisions, that’s probably a BIG clue. We’re probably WAAAAAAY off-base. Yep, grand gestures of “sure-ness” are sure to humble us. Judgments are futile.

Stop.

Just stop.

You are not designed to instruct the world. Give it a rest. You are designed for something much greater.

I know, this can be discouraging. If the goal is superiority, surety, loftiness, this will definitely feel like failure. uggghhhh. BUT, If the goal is growth, love, connection… a smile just crossed your lips. The gavel dropped from your hand. You crossed into new territory. (SMILE) The relief you feel is real. (deep breath). Welcome to a new way of living. I know, the colors are magical, are they not? Take it all in.

Can I just say, there is something more sure than promises and hopes, pressures and expectations  passed from human to human? You’ve been told this by those who NEED to believe it’s true. You know there is more. There is something more powerful and fulfilling- a SPIRIT alive within you. Do not be afraid of it. There is a love, peace, hope and joy written upon your soul. Look at it. Cry. Savor it . Sure, some may ridicule you to scorn for listening to the stillness within.  Let them. It is the only path to peace. It is all that will matter eventually. Those that REALLY love you will cheer you on.

Freedom recognizes freedom.

Freedom recognizes freedom,

yes, freedom recognizes freedom!!!!!!

You were born for this. Know it. Trust it. Search for it.

#beautynearme

#beautyinyou

Sun and Moon Love

If asked to describe the sun, I would talk about her warmth. I would highlight the gracefulness of her movements. I would ramble about the way the sun draws me close every 12 hours or so, to bask, watch and marvel. I would have to point out her predictability and her life-giving power. The plants turn to find her for good reason.

If asked to describe the moon, I would have to close my eyes in contemplation. A moment to ponder might yield some words, but maybe not. The moon seems to understand silence, moods, nuances, glances and innuendos. Words are secondary. The moon has the effervescent glow of stardom wrapped around her shoulders. She knows the value of the present. Her presence in the moment is everything. She has no inhibitions, No reservations. She’s honest. Daring. Humble.

The relationship between the two lights ignites longing. They highlight the possibility in relationships. They cause us to look at one, but at the same time reminded of the other. This essence bears witness that love is confident giving that needs nothing in return; fully fortified with being whole and then emptied. Over and over again.

Is it any wonder we are drawn in consistently to look up and “circle ’round” with the stars, looking and listening for the wisdom of the ages?

#beautynearme