Sunday, October 5, 2008

The eye of the beholder

June 2007

Although I’m certainly not obsessed by celebrity, I’m as curious as the next person when comes to red carpet fashion and beauty secrets of the stars. I mean don’t we all have some small hidden desire to be universally admired? Okay… well maybe not everyone but I admit that sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to wake up in the morning and see Gwyneth Paltrow looking back at me in the mirror. It HAS to be easier…

The thing about being so obviously beautiful is that it does open more than a few doors in life. It’s a fact that good-looking people get better jobs and better salaries and overall better treatment. You may not want to admit it but I’m sure you’ve even been guilty of giving preference to a dazzling persona of some sort. It’s human nature – we’re creatures that are naturally drawn to beauty.

What I love about yoga practice is that it just about always helps you to see, very clearly, certain aspects of yourself. And recently, as I passed another milestone in my life, I realized how caught up I was in my not-so-obvious beauty. Always dissatisfied with this or that, and always disappointed that there wasn’t even a hint of Gwynnie in the mirror. I made up my mind to find a positive path out of my personal disapproval and hopefully find a way into a deeper, more fulfilling and less judgmental consciousness.

I devised a very private practice: For one week my task was find something that was truly beautiful about every person I came in contact with. Here’s what I discovered: the check-out girl at the market has the most beautiful green eyes underneath the heavy make-up and overdone hair; the gentleman in dirty overalls who pumps my gas has the kindest smile and always reminds me to drive safely; my daughter looks spectacular in periwinkle blue; the security guard in my office building happily greets everyone by name and keeps diligent count till the weekend; my yoga teacher has the most amazing ability to explain the subtleties of asana with melodious ease; the faces of my students smiling back at me fill me with joy; my grandmother’s hands are fragile and lovely; the woman practicing next to me has really gorgeous feet… and so on and on.

What I discovered is that beauty comes in all forms. Some of it is obvious and some of it requires a little more insight. But it IS all around us and each one of us has it in one form or another. Discovering true beauty usually requires more than simply looking in the mirror – the real beauty is in our hearts. And when we give from our hearts, whether it be a kind word or a warm smile or a gentle touch, we can open a hundred doors, because that’s when we’re truly, absolutely, radiantly gorgeous.

Be your beautiful self!

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