Changing the face of beauty and the memory that haunts me

 

Why do some moments make it to the memory bank? and others so easily become forgettable? This is a topic that absolutely fascinates me and my own theory is that every memory holds a gem. A lesson, that will ultimately help guide our journey through life.

 

After starting this blog I have been amazed at how many memories have come flooding back to me. The moments that have shaped who I am as a woman, wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter. Every time they appear in the forefront of my minds eye, it is as if they are inviting me to witness them in detail and search for the wisdom contained within.

 

A memory that keeps popping to mind recently and demanding my attention has everything to do with the passage of age and the evolution of beauty.

 

As a woman one of the big challenges I face, and am constantly working through, is how much I allow my appearance to define who I am. Like many other women, I love to look and feel beautiful and be desired. There is a certain power that comes with beauty and there is no denying that it can be intoxicating. I fear the loss of beauty and I have misguided myself to believe that age will eventually steal it from me.

 

This fear undoubtedly stems from popular culture and the widely accepted notion that beauty is exclusively linked with youth. If we don’t look like a fresh faced (and heavily airbrushed) 20 something year old, then we are not truly beautiful. Any slight hint of age, and we immediately start looking for ways to mask it and create an illusion of youth. This obsession is what has bolstered the billion dollar Botox phenomena and not to mention the entire cosmetic surgery industry (which I should add is not all bad and everyone has the right to do whatever they wish to their body).

 

So what is the memory and why does it haunt me?

 

Quite some time ago my husband and I were entertaining an international business colleague and his wife at our home, we will call him Mr. X. Both Mr. X and his wife are highly accomplished individuals in their late sixties. As we enjoyed an elaborate array of cakes and exotic tea we listened to their tales of travel, career success and life experiences. We then came to the wonderful story of how they met.

 

Mr. X unfortunately began the story with “When she was younger she was truly beautiful”. Beyond that statement I zoned out. I was angry. Here sat a woman who was still beautiful, a woman in her sixties who had a great sense of style and flaunted heels that captured my heart the moment she walked into the room. She was striking and despite her age, in my eyes she was beautiful.

 

She did not flinch at his hurtful comment but I could not help but think it must of upset her. Had he not been an important business associate I perhaps would of spoken my mind. I would of stood up for her and all other women who feel they are no longer beautiful because they are in their later stages of life.

 

I have already warned my husband never to say anything even remotely like that and perhaps that is the answer. Each of us as women need influence the collective mind and rewrite the definition of beauty. We need first to believe in the notion, that beauty is a state of being as opposed to a specific set of appearances; Not simply pay it lip service but actually embody it as truth. In doing so we inspire younger generations to face the inevitable passage of time with confidence rather than fear. This is why I believe women like Linda Rodin, Iris Apfel and Sarah Jane Adams have captured so much attention (if you don’t know them, look them up and follow them immediately).

 

These women (mentioned above) make me excited to grow older, wiser and more courageous. They unashamedly defy the notion that the ‘young have all the fun’ and in my opinion they are beautiful. Another wonderful woman who has influenced me is the Grandmother of my dear friend Kathryn Eisman. Nana Anna as she was lovingly known, was one of the most elegant and graceful women I have ever encountered. The last time I saw Nana Anna she was 93 and looking as exquisite as ever. Always meticulously put together in great fashion, she had a certain joy and enthusiasm for life that shined bright right up until her last days. I know her mere presence had an impact on many, as she was a perfect example of a woman who had a beauty that was ageless.

 

Nana Anna radiated beauty from within and it was her inner world that shaped her external appearance. If we aspire to live in a world where the individual is celebrated and beauty is a state of being as opposed to an unrealistic ideal, we first need to be that within our own being. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, though I am almost certain he was not referring to the world of appearances, I do believe being your own kind of beautiful does have a positive impact. When you are your own kind of beautiful you give other women (and men) permission to be the same.

 

I am grateful the memory popped into my mind as I truly do believe it held a lesson I need to remind myself of daily. As Deepak Chopra says “Use your memories, don’t let your memories use you”.

 

With love and magic

 

 

Carlii xxx

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A Spiritual Practice inspired by Vanity

 

 

Ever heard the expression ‘it is written all over your face’, well I would like to suggest that ugly thoughts create an ugly face. No amount of expensive designer face cream, Botox or whatever else is available, will hide thoughts of self-loathing, shame and anger (to name a few). Last week my thoughts were the ugliest they have been for a very long time and the mirror did not lie.

 

I sunk to my lowest of lows. I had been feeling flat for a few months and it felt as though I hit my emotional rock bottom. Nothing in particular triggered the downward spiral, it was a combination of unmet expectations, several missed opportunities work wise and a sudden realisation I am aging like the best of us (I truly wanted to believe I was immortal and convinced myself I would remain fresh faced and young forever).

 

I am the first to admit I was suffering from first world problems but what I felt was real. Aside from feeling physically low and emotionally out of sorts, every time I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw. I stared into the eyes of pure anger, regret, shame, hurt, sadness and pain. On this occasion the feelings were a direct result of the ugly thoughts looping inside my head.

 

I have dedicated much of my adult life to self-study and even in my lowest of moments; I attempt to remain aware of everything I am thinking and how it impacts me on all levels of my being. The few days I spent battling with my demons and looking worse for wear, there were five distinct and extremely ugly thoughts circling in my mind repetitively. Here they are in black and white-

 

 

  1. I am nothing
  2. I am worthless
  3. I am ugly
  4. I am old
  5. I ruin everything

 

As you can imagine, these horrible thoughts had a direct impact on my appearance. The usual sparkle in my eyes was no longer there, my face was the colour grey, the edge of my lips dipped down, the frown lines on my forehead became prominent and everything seemed to droop. Even my husband commented afterward that the gloomy energy literally made me look like a different person.

 

Several heartfelt pep talks, inspirational reading, prayer, meditation, yoga and time spent in nature (a haircut, manicure, pedicure and a little shopping) brought me back to light. I am no Robinson Crusoe; we all journey through ups and downs. I realised on this recent trip to the dark side that it actually has allot to offer. Wisdom, compassion, empathy and gratitude are only a few of the souvenirs I brought back with me. Not to mention inspiration for this blog.

 

We live in a society obsessed with appearances spending billions of dollars attempting to create a holy grail of youth. I am not afraid to accept my vanity and I sincerely believe there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your very best at all times. The point I am trying to make here is if you are truly dedicated to looking your best, you need to think your best. You either control your mind or it controls you. Last week I lost all control and my mind went on a wild and dangerous rampage. I did not exercise my ability to step outside of myself and recognise I was focusing on all of the wrong things.

 

You have the power to decide what you think and how you speak to yourself. I would also like to add, that angry, hateful and nasty thoughts directed at others have much the same effect on your physicality. Reason being on a soul level, whether you accept it consciously or not, we are all one. What you say and do to others, you are essentially saying and doing to yourself.

 

Aside from wanting to feel good, another incentive for thinking positive, soulful and loving thoughts about yourself, others and life in general is that it makes you look good. It is important here to note that the benchmark should be your personal best, not an airbrushed illusion of perfection.

 

One of my much loved go to books is Louise Hay’s ‘You can Heal your Life’. In the book there is a dedicated section listing the ways our thoughts affect our body, and how we can train our mind to ensure it is in a positive way. Here are some of the affirmations I love most-

 

  1. I love and approve of myself
  2. I am worthwhile
  3. I forgive myself and love myself
  4. I give myself permission to be all that I can be
  5. I am at home in my body

 

 

Imagine if every morning, as part of our beauty routine, after we have showered, put on our face and done our hair, we took a few minutes to intentionally direct our thoughts to self-love and gratitude. I would go as far as saying it is the most important part of our beauty routine, without the inner beauty, there can be no external beauty.

 

They say all road leads to Rome, well if Vanity Highway takes us to the higher ground of our being, then so be it. Once it becomes a habit and you experience the energetic benefits of thinking loving thoughts, looking good will only be the cherry on the big, beautiful and delicious cake of your life.

 

If the inevitable lines on our face were to be regarded as the map of our past, lets ensure it tells a story of love, joy and peace. Fill your mind with beautiful thoughts and your face will reflect the beauty within.

 

 

Love and Magic

Carlii xx