Why you should stop trying to belong and simply be who you are

Remember the popular group at school? 

There are only two possible memories you can have, you were either in the group or not. I was to some extent in the ‘in’ crowd, however, I never really felt I was where I belonged. I went on to leave school early and for much of my adult life, the same dynamic would play out time and time again.

Even throughout my career as an international celebrity publicist, part of the job was to be in the ‘in’ crowd, connect with the trendsetters and literally make the news. I was invited to parties, runway shows, and concerts. I traveled all over the world and had the opportunity to meet so many incredible individuals. I loved every moment of my role, however, I have to be honest and say once again, much of the time I questioned if I belonged.

Was there something wrong with me or was I trying to fit into the wrong place? I now realise that rather than trying to belong, the key is to become clear about what belongs in your life, to begin with.

This whole idea of belonging came up for me only the other day after I spent a precious hour of my life mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed. As I sat there unashamedly peering into the lives of friends, colleagues and complete strangers, I discovered a wonderful change that had taken place within me. It revealed itself after I saw a picture of a friend out at a bar with a group of girlfriends.

Let me put it into context, I don’t drink alcohol (yes not at all), so the idea of going to a bar is extremely unappealing to me. I am also quite introverted so I generally choose a one on one interaction over a group setting any day of the week and twice on Sunday. In my 20’s I would have questioned myself and made myself feel bad about the fact I was ‘different’; that I was ‘anti-social’ or ‘old before my time’. In my 30’s I celebrate who I am and relish in the one on one time I have with my nearest and dearest friends. Yes I want to spend most of my time barefoot in nature and no there is nothing wrong with going to bed at 9.30pm.

In her book ‘Daring Greatly’, Brene Brown puts it like this “true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance”.

The truth is, there is no such thing as the ‘in’ crowd, furthermore, anyone who believes they are in the ‘in’ crowd is actually in a prison of their own making. For in order to be part of a ‘group’ you generally have to think the same, do the same and even look the same. It is why I have always tried my best not to wear what is ‘on trend’ or partake in needing to ‘be seen’ in all the right places. There is no point trying to belong somewhere if you need to be someone else in order to fit in. There is true freedom and lightness when rather than seeking to belong, you actively choose what belongs in your life. In the wise words of George Harrison, ‘My life belongs to me, my love belongs to those who can see it’.

I now realise that when I am true to myself, I attract the people and opportunities that are right for me. I no longer feel the need to belong anywhere or to anyone because I belong to myself. The people in my life love me just the way I am, just as I love them the way they are. There is someone and something for everyone in this world, there is no need to pretend to be anything other than your self.

So I say don’t try to belong, just be and where you find yourself there you are.

Love and magic

Carlii xxx

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Lesson’s Learnt from a Fearless Unicorn

 

I have a very dear friend who I believe is a Unicorn in disguise.  To me, a unicorn is a rare, mythical, magical and extremely colourful creature that brings joy, happiness and love to all who are near it. My friend Gary is precisely that. Gary, 36, was recently diagnosed with having Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and despite treatment, cancer has spread. Through his greatest battle, Gary has unknowingly given all those who love him the greatest gift of all; a poignant reminder of how fragile life really is and how important it is the make the most of every moment.

 

I first met Gary almost 20 years ago, he was an aspiring Fashion Designer at one of Sydney’s most prominent design schools and I was still deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. Gary never had it easy and was raised by his single Mother who had more expenses than money but did the best she could with what she had. As an eccentric gay European young man living in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, Gary never felt as though he fit in. I remember him telling me once that when he was little most of the boys were playing with trucks and guns, while he was dressing Barbie. Proof right there and then he was a unicorn in the making.  On the other hand, I grew up in Sydney’s North Shore, was offered a private school education (didn’t really make the most of it) and was given everything I wanted.

 

As the years went by and I finally did grow up, we always stayed in touch. It never ceased to amaze me how hard Gary worked and how determined he was to build his own brand. His work became quickly recognised and he was often featured in the press as ‘a designer to watch’. While everything looked great from the outside, not many people realise how hard Gary worked to keep it all going. With no outside investment, Gary often had to work two jobs and put everything he earned into keeping his dream alive. Not to mention the fact he would often live and work in the same space, tirelessly creating and never giving up on the dream he had fostered since the days of dressing Barbie. Meanwhile, I was living in a luxurious city apartment with the help of my parents and quite frankly enjoying a very cushy existence.

 

Every time we caught up, Gary would be sporting a new hair colour and a fabulous new pair of kaleidoscopic glasses. His outfit never matched theoretically but it always worked on him. Just being in his company made you want to go out and buy a new wardrobe filled with crazy colours and perhaps even a touch of glitter. Gary had, and still has, his own personal style and has never been afraid to flaunt it. How wonderfully vibrant, rich and colourful the world would be if we all had the courage to dress precisely how we felt at any given moment.

 

It reminds me of a night out I shared with Gary only months before he was diagnosed. On this particular night, he would teach me a lesson I will never forget. We were at a dinner party in the city and he agreed to walk with me to my car to top up the meter (oh how I love Sydney parking). On the way back Gary needed to use an ATM and the only one available was in a pretty rough looking pub. This time I think I was the one protecting him. As we walked in, I was shocked at the looks we were receiving. Gary’s purple and green hair and unconventional outfit seemed to rub several people the wrong way. As we walked out I even heard a few derogatory remarks shouted out above the dingy room.

 

I was so bothered by the encounter and started telling Gary how upset it made me. To which he replied “Don’t you remember what you once told me. Remember you said it doesn’t matter what people say or think about you. They will only think about you for a minute and then forget. Remember, only you are the one who thinks about you all day every day”.

 

I was gob-smacked, first of all, because he had remembered a conversation that had taken place years and years ago. Secondly, here he was, a living example of that very lesson. I was good enough to say it but not brave enough to live it. Even though my own life journey in comparison to Gary’s was a walk in the park, here I was the one held captive by limiting beliefs and an overwhelming fear of other people’s opinions.  His magical unicorn powers once again shone through and illuminated my world.

 

If there is anyone who can pull through the challenges Gary faces today it is Gary himself.  His spirit has proven time and time again to be stronger than anything life can throw at him. In the meantime let us not waste the invaluable lesson that is on offer. That being, no matter who you are, what you have been through and where you are now, you are unique, you are valuable and your life is special. Make the most of every day and never stop believing in your ability to make your dreams come true.

 

Dearest Gary,

 

As much as I did say that people would only remember you for a minute and then go on thinking about themselves; that only really applies to those who don’t know you. To all those who know and love you, however, you are unforgettable and we are all praying for your full recovery. Thank you for being a colourful guiding light and without even knowing it, inspiring us all to really stop, reassess and be grateful for our life and especially for the fact you are in it.

 

 

Love and magic

 

Carlii xx

My new thoughts on feelings and why you are what you commit to…

Up until now, I have always trusted my emotions were there to help me navigate my way through life. I have ‘felt’ my way through situations, relationships and opportunities. If something made me feel happy, I would do more of it; If something made me feel sad or angry, I would avoid it like the plague and or question my decisions. Seems reasonable at first glance, however, what if my relentless pursuit of pleasure and happiness has actually caused me more pain in the long-term?

 

This is precisely the question I started asking myself a month or so ago and as they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

 

It all started on New Year’s Day. I have always believed the way you start the year sets the tone for the 364 days to follow. Attending a yoga workshop, therefore, seemed like a wonderful idea. Despite being slightly sleep deprived of the night before, there I sat in the studio awaiting enlightened instruction from our handsome Brazilian teacher, Julio. Speaking in an accent only handsome Brazilian men seem to speak, Julio posed a question to the class “is there a difference between feelings and intuition?”

 

After we all sat in silence and contemplated what seemed like an extremely profound question to be asking first thing in the morning, several students gently called out their thoughts. Julio nodded and proposed “feelings come from the level of the mind, while intuition is from the level of the soul” he went on to say “we must follow our intuitive commitments rather than our feelings”.

 

I cannot speak for the rest of the class but for me it was a light bulb moment, it made so much sense.

 

Julio went on to give the example of practicing yoga. He explained there would be days we wouldn’t ‘feel’ like practicing, however, if we made a commitment, we should aim to honour this regardless of how we felt. I could immediately see how this was a valuable lesson for all areas of my life and I made a promise right there and then, to honour my new commitment to remain committed to my commitments.

 

As I walked out the studio and into the summer heat, I began to question where in my life I let my feelings override my commitments. I looked back on the career opportunities I did not pursue out of fear and the new skills I gave up on too early out of frustration and embarrassment. Had I not listened to my negative feelings by now I would be a harpist, fluent in Spanish who could dance the tango, have a black belt in Wing chun and have written more than one book!

 

Do our commitments change as we change? Absolutely. I am in no way suggesting we should keep doing something that is constantly making us miserable. I am however suggesting that questioning the feelings as they come up, may allow us to get to the heart of why we are feeling the way we are in the first place. Then we would be in a better position to make the distinction between fleeting negative emotions versus an actual pain coming from a deeper more intuitive level.

 

 

Fast-forward a few weeks and there I was lying in a beachside cabana listening to the sound of the ocean and taking in the turquoise paradise that surrounded me. I was in Fiji for our family holiday and had snuck away from the kids to enjoy a quiet hour of reading. My brother had given me his copy of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson and my immediate thought was what better place to read it. We were on a tropical island with our only worry being to achieve maximum relaxation status. It was an oasis specifically designed for us not to give a f*ck about a thing!

 

I was hooked as soon as I started reading and I found every page to be filled with practical wisdom and funny relatable anecdotes. As I turned to page 34 one paragraph, in particular, seemed to jump off the page and dive right into my open mind-

 

“Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it is good. Just because something feels bad it doesn’t mean it is bad. Emotions are merely signposts, suggestions that our neurobiology gives us, not commandments. Therefore we shouldn’t always trust our own emotions. In fact, I believe we should make a habit of questioning them.”

 

I felt as if it was the same message packaged differently with no handsome Brazilian to deliver it this time around. I knew I was ready to explore this newfound wisdom.  Rather than allowing my emotions to guide me, I decided it might serve me to observe, experience and question my emotions. To delve deeper into the thoughts that were stirring up the emotions and ultimately use my emotions to discover more about myself rather than allowing my emotions to use me.

 

The underlying premise of Mark Manson’s book is that there is no such thing as a life lived without pain, struggle and challenges. That no matter what path we choose, we will encounter some sort of problems. His suggestion- to choose a path that we enjoy solving the problems that will inevitably arise.

 

I felt the message was as refreshing as the crystal clear waters of Fiji and I knew there was no coincidence that I was reading it right there and then. There is no such thing as a coincidence.

 

Will I ever stop seeking pleasure and happiness? No way. Do I now understand that sometimes it is essential to trade in short-term pleasure for long-term fulfilment? Loud and clear.  Most importantly my relationship to my emotions has begun to shift. I respect my emotions however I now understand they do not have the answers. The answers we seek are to be found on a much deeper level. A place within us illuminated by love and life that remains forever constant and unchanged by the passage of time. How do we access it? Go within and ask for yourself.

 

Love and magic

 

Carlii xxx

 

How Fainting on the Yoga Mat changed my Life

Firstly I have to admit the heading of this article is a little misleading. I personally never fainted on my yoga mat, someone else did, but the part about it changing my life is absolutely true. Here is how it happened.

 

I love yoga and have had an on and off again relationship with it for almost 15 years. Recently it has been entirely on and I try to get to class at least five times a week. For me the opportunity to ‘exercise’ my mind, body and soul simultaneously is too good to be true, it is multitasking at its best.

 

I have also recently spent time studying the history of Yoga and the philosophy of the practice. It really is a way of life as opposed to a series of difficult, in fact sometimes impossible, poses on a mat.

 

In all the classes I have attended the one thing I hear the teacher say is ‘this is not a competition’ and ‘do not focus on what others are doing around you, yoga is a personal journey’. I get it but have to admit I find myself comparing my abilities with those around me. I feel pride when I can stretch that little bit more than my neighbour, and shame when I struggle to even contemplate doing a handstand, while the woman beside me looks like she could read a book upside down. I don’t mean to be competitive but too often my competitive alter ego takes over.  

 

This week, however, things may have changed for good.

 

Yesterday I entered the class like any other day, rolled out my mat and took my place in the front row. Soon after, a tall, stunning blonde woman walked in and set up proverbial camp behind me. I took in her perfect composure, designer attire, meticulously manicured nails and flawless everything (including the huge diamond on her left hand). She looked like she belonged on the pages of VOGUE. My competitive alter ego started to raise its little head.

 

The class started and as we went front child’s pose to downward facing dog to warrior 1, 2, 3 and every other warrior in between, I would every so often catch a glimpse of my competitor, though she had no idea she was participating in a competition.

 

My head started to swell as we moved into the more difficult poses and I realised I was ‘winning’. I smiled to myself and as we all took a big forward bend, I pushed myself as hard as I could, willing my head to touch the floor between my open legs and hoping she would see how much better I was. That was of course until there was a large thump on the ground and we all quickly stood up to see what had happened. At first, I assumed someone took the forward bend too far and literally fell forward. I was horrified to see my competitor was down, out, cold on her mat. She had fainted from the heat.

 

In that moment I was shaken out of my stupidity and into the reality of caring about this fellow human who was suddenly so vulnerable. We all kicked into action, had her positioned on her side, called the ambulance and cleared the studio while a few of the women did all they could to bring her back to consciousness. Our greatest fear was that she had fallen on her neck and done irreversible damage. She came in and out of awareness and would cry out in fear each time. She may not have been aware of it but she was surrounded by so much care and love.

 

When the ambulance officers arrived, we quickly found out she was pregnant and in the heat, it had become too much. She did fall on her neck but thankfully she had movement in her arms and legs. We were all so genuinely worried and relieved when we were assured she would be fine. The ambulance took her for observation and we were all left with the experience.

 

I personally learnt a lesson that I will never forget. May sound dramatic but sometimes, big lessons come in small packages. What stood out in my mind is how dramatically my perceptions changed of this woman as she went from ‘competitor’ to ‘comrade’. Nothing on the outside changed, it was all in my head.

As a ‘competitor’ I scrutinised every little thing about her, as a ‘comrade’ I celebrated and supported who she was.  As a ‘competitor’ I made myself feel as though I was less and she was more, as a ‘comrade’ we were equal. Had she not of fainted, I would have undoubtedly continued to play silly games in my mind. I would have wasted my time and not to mention the opportunity to relax, reflect and reward my body with yoga. In the beginning of the class I convinced myself that the only way to win was to compete, but by competing I was losing in every way.   

 

I found a little quote on Instagram that sums this sentiment up perfectly ‘You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself. Outdo your past, not other people.’

 

As you peel away the layers of our outward appearances, take away the clothes, the material objects we define ourselves by, and go beneath our skin to the core of the living cells that make up our body, there is a light, it is the energy we call life. It is the same energy that every living being shares. It is our greatest gift and without it we have nothing. Everything else is insignificant in comparison and certainly not worth competing for.

 

 

This Christmas focus on that light in yourself and others, celebrate the power of life and don’t waste time focusing on the things that really don’t matter. At the end of your life, when that little light is about to go out, you will have no choice but to recognise the magic and beauty you always had within you.  

 

Love and Magic

 

Carlii xx

3 ways to Quieten your Inner Drama Queen (or King)

 

I am a professional storyteller. As a publicist, I get paid to embellish the truth and spin a story to be as positive or as negative as possible, depending upon the intention. I like to think I am quite good at what I do, but even I am an amateur compared to my Inner Drama Queen (IDQ). You see my IDQ can turn a simple event, such as someone not calling me back, into a conspiracy theory and movie length story that would surely stand a chance for an Academy Award.

 

We all have our own IDQ and it exists because somewhere we have convinced our self one, or both, of the following ideas are true-

 

  1. ‘The universe revolves around me’
  2. ‘There is no such thing as a simple explanation’

 

There is what happens to us in life, and then there is what we tell our self about what has happened. Often without us consciously deciding what we believe, our IDQ takes over and turns a molehill into a mountain.

 

Let me give you a recent and amusing example of my IDQ in action.

 

I have a friend I have known since high school. We do not see each other often but I have always had a real soft spot for her. She is incredibly likeable, down to earth; and one of those rare individuals, that can make anyone feel comfortable in her presence because she is genuinely lovely.

 

We both had babies around the same time and I remember clear as day her coming over for a play date and telling me all about a business idea she had to help mums get back in shape after having babies.

 

Fast-forward five years and she has created a fitness empire, she has featured on the cover of magazines and is about to launch her business internationally. I could not be happier for her and it is so exciting to witness her success.

 

Even with all this said, my IDQ was able to turn this beautiful friend of mine into a foe. Here is how it unfolded in my mind –

 

I had a business opportunity that related to the world of fitness and I knew this particular friend would be perfect to speak with. Given she had been so busy building her empire we had not spoken for a while. Instead of calling I decided to send a message and make a time to see her in person. I waited patiently for a reply.

 

A week later and still no response, my IDQ went into overdrive and had me start to think along the following lines- I was no longer good enough to be her friend, she had changed and not in a good way and it was better for me to simply let go and accept our friendship had ended. Crazy right?

 

This was all until I received a message from her husband apologising on her behalf and letting me know her Grandmother, of whom she loved dearly, was close to death. My friend had stopped everything to spend the last precious moments with a woman who had shaped her life in everyway.

 

My heart broke for my dear friend and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. Beyond my initial shock, I took the time to become aware of the crazy thoughts I had entertained all because I had not received a message back. This was the work of my IDQ, so pointless and potentially damaging.

 

We all do it and as much as we might say that is just the way we are, it is not the truth. Each of us has the power to control our mind and put our IDQ in her place. In my own life I have found the following 3 actions help me bring about a new perspective and keep centered in truth-

 

  1. Write it out- put pen to paper and write out the conspiracy theories, stories and excuses that are circling in your mind. Most of the time you will see how ridiculous they are. It also gives you an opportunity to literally rewrite the thoughts there and then.

 

  1. Give it a positive spin- instead of simply going along for the crazy ride my IDQ was taking me on, I had the option to stop and create other possible reasons my friend had not got back to me. These could have included- she was busy brokering an international deal or travelling the world and in a different time zone. If you are going to make up a story, why not make sure it is positive and one that makes you feel good.

 

  1. Go with the flow- I went from feeling offended to upset to angry all because my IDQ wanted to create drama. I could have easily said to myself, she will get back to me at the perfect time and that would have been the end of it. Life unfolds as it is meant to.

 

The difference between a simple life and a complicated one is what happens in your mind. The long and short of it is drama is not necessary. 

 We all fear the unknown to some degree and I believe drama is our way of filling in the blanks. If that is the case I would like to suggest we fill in the blanks with stories of love, hope and gratitude. Basically if you are going to make something up, do it to make you feel good.

 

Sure our IDQ may come in handy when writing the script of that Academy Award winning movie length story but other than that, let go of the drama and keep it simple.

 

Love and Magic

 

Carlii xx

How to embrace change and not be afraid to lose fans along the way

 

We are all in the business of Public Relations. I think back to my time as a celebrity publicist and what my role entailed. Essentially my client had a well known public persona and it was my job to ensure promotional activities reinforced that image. The ultimate aim being to keep the fans happy and have my client continue to be in demand.

 

It is no different with every day individuals though we do it for ourselves. We do what we can to keep our fans happy, in most cases our fans include family, friends and colleagues. They all have an expectation of who we are and almost come to rely upon us not changing too much or at all. So we work out the magic formula and create a public persona that keeps everyone happy. We then spend everyday reinforcing it. How often have you heard yourself say “I would never do that”, “I have never liked that”, “I have always thought this” or “I only ever go there” the list goes on and on. Whenever you take a firm stance on who you are, you shut down any possibility of opening your mind to change and new experiences.

 

Try as we may to stay the same, the universe will constantly test our resolve and whether we are open to it or not, change is inevitable. This hit me only last week on a typically mundane Saturday morning.

 

Saturday morning in our household is reserved for children’s sport activities. In our case the boys have Karate. Have done for over three years. I think my Husband and I like it much more than they do. It gives us a false sense of hope that one day if they are ever in a sticky situation, they will at least be able to karate chop themselves out of it. So on this particular Saturday morning, like every other, we all piled in the car and headed to the Dojo.

 

With spring in the air, we drove with all the windows down and let Jack Johnson’s melodic voice set the mood. Not sure if it was the smell of spring or the sound of Jack, but I became completely immersed in the moment. I looked over at my husband, my closest friend and the man who I love more than anything. I then glanced over my shoulder to the back seat at our two magnificent creations. My heart felt as if it would explode with love and in that moment I became so grateful for all that was.

 

The thought that immediately followed was how only ten years ago I had convinced myself marriage was not for me, I would rather have dogs over children and investing in designer shoes was a worthwhile financial plan. I was jet setting all over the world and I thought I had figured out who I really was. I was so wrong. God only knows who I will be in another ten to twenty years. My husband is convinced I will end up an outspoken old lady with bright red lipstick wearing an outrageous outfit, I sincerely hope so.

 

Life offers us the opportunities to change and when it feels right, I believe we need to learn how to go with the flow. In doing so we may lose friends, or fans so to speak, but this is part of life. If I had to choose between losing fans and losing myself to keep up appearances, well it really is a no brainer.

 

 

No matter what you do or how much you may fear it, everything changes, including who you are on the outside and inside (more so when you are willing to let go and live in the moment). There is only one part of you that remains the same for all of your life. It is ageless, timeless and cannot be touched by the mind. It is the light, the source of life that resides within you at all times. The sacred space, that is always there to draw upon when you are ready. It is ultimately the only thing in life you can depend on remaining the same.

 

If that is the case why hold onto who we think we are at all? Why not be open to all new experiences and be willing to rewrite who we are on a daily basis? Why not give into all that life has to offer and try on as many different ways of being as possible? I believe the answer lies in the fear of losing fans. The fear that our loved ones won’t approve and will no longer accept us.

 

So my thoughts are as follows- just as you change, so does your loved ones, in fact when you bravely face change, you give them permission to do the same. You inspire others to go with the flow and let go of who they think they are and simply be who ever they chose to be in each moment.

 

I urge you to look back over your own journey, reflect on how much you have changed whether you were conscious of it or not. It may help you better embrace the unexpected changes that you face today or the changes you want to make but are afraid to do so.

 

You are not your name, your age, your appearance, your circumstances, your body, your ideas, your preferences or your mind. You are a soul, a light, here to discover love and follow that inner voice that can only be heard when you actually stop to listen. People, even loved ones, will come and go, and as much as we love them, it serves us best to do, be and have what it is we are authentically seeking.

 

We may lose fans and then gain others along the way however the only way we will find our true purpose in this life is to be true to our self. The fans that stick around for the entire journey and love you no matter what, are the ones who really count in the end anyway.

 

Love and Magic

 

Carlii xxx

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