Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
How do you perceive yourself?
I was driving down the street recently and saw this sign, “I’m Beautiful Inside.” It was for a home for sale, but it really got me thinking. I wanted to write a blog about beauty.
Media creates an illusion of perfection that many people feel they must uphold in order to fit in. We all know this. At least, I hope at this point we realize it. I guess I should wonder most about the young ones. Maybe they don’t understand this yet.
I want to make dang sure everyone in MY circle gets it. Beauty truly is an “inside job”. Inner beauty simply radiates outward from a person. If you are happy on the inside, if you smile, if you have joy and peace bubbling up from your heart… your outer looks do not matter one iota. BELIEVE ME. I see it over and over and over. The kind of inner beauty I’m talking about is hard to miss. It has an “attraction factor” that many are drawn to, like moths to a flame.
How does one cultivate inner beauty? Through mindfulness practices and peace-inducing meditations.
What is mindfulness? Living life On Purpose. I would be so bold as to say multi-tasking is the enemy of mindful living.
“How to be a Zen Master: Do one thing at a time.” -Zen teaching.
We are so harried in today’s hyper-tech world, that we often feel we must do many things at once. The result? Life swooshes past so very rapidly. But that old saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” could not be more significantly important today. Mindful living can include some of the following:
Actually SIT DOWN to a meal. And actually put the phone away. Enjoy every bite, every nuance of texture and flavor in your food. Enjoy the person or people around you, enjoy the scenery. Take it all in. Chew each bite as if it were the first bite of human food you’ve ever had. Smell each food item and enjoy its aroma even before you put it in your mouth. TAKE YOUR TIME.
When driving, instead of “zoning out”, actually pay attention to the world around you. So often we drive like robots. We’ve been this way countless times. We arrive sometimes, and don’t even remember driving to our destination. Mindfulness practices are an excellent tool to exercise while driving. SEE the trees and buildings you are passing. Notice interesting details. You’d be surprised at what you observe. Pay attention to your body, your breath. Try and feel into your body, notice how the air moves in and out of your lungs. This is also a great time to practice positive mantras, like:
“I am a child of the Universe (or God, or whatever is your Source). I am loved and I am limitless.”
“I love myself, I accept myself, I will BE myself.”
“At my core is a deep well of calm.”
Cultivating inner peace and joy comes from taking just a few minutes each day to sit in a quiet place, try and clear the mind, and just… BE……..
Exercises for clearing the mind include:
Try to imagine your mind as the sky… clear as a bell. If (WHEN!) thoughts intrude, try to see them as clouds, and allow them to drift on and out of the “scene.”
Or imagine sitting by a stream, and thoughts that enter your peaceful solitude can be dropped into the stream like leaves; watch them float away.
A meditation practice can look many different ways. A walk with the dog before or after work is a great opportunity. But don’t let your mind get away with you. Pay attention to the way your feet hit the surface of the earth, pay attention to pretty flowers or bushes in the neighborhood along the way, appreciate the clouds, the trees, and wild critters.
If you do even one of the above exercises on a regular basis, you will cultivate an inner beauty that surpasses all understanding. You will even begin to look and feel younger. People will be asking you, “What’s your secret?”
Try it out today!