Well…I think I hit it…the motherlode…the thing I was supposed to HIT.
Without spending anytime in any space that is anything but right where I am…let me get to THE point.
Yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted the following:
I’m seeing a pattern developing within the content of the feedback around the Naked Face Project and…I’d love…like really love…to hear from you right here on this page…where you think YOUR beliefs around ‘beauty” come/came from. There is no right or wrong answer…just something of interest to me and I believe this project. 🙂 Will you help me with a response?
I have a very active Facebook community and love the dialogue that occurs on my page. People are honest there.
The responses were all over the map, but generally people indicated one of three things led them to their values around beauty: mom, media, peers.
Tucked neatly in among all the comments was a post from my friend Rebecca. Here is what she wrote:
Molly it was so ironic that you started this project the day i signed on the proverbial dotted line to have cosmetic surgery… i have a lot of thoughts to share but my eyes are so swollen i can hardly see what i am typing. so, i will type more when i am able but suffice to say i am so incredibly interested in how you feel and how it is going. when i sat back and ready the “reveal” that Monday morning (after returning home from Dr. Graper’s office) i had some serious soul searching moments. i didn’t doubt my decision but i did really examine why i made the decision. so, more (hopefully) tomorrow when i can see better 🙂 it is as though you and I are on two totally opposite ends of the spectrum at this moment in time and yet, i think we have very similar beliefs about beauty. that it truly does come from within. I love you and am so proud of you. And I am proud to say I am not ashamed of having a little work done even though some see it as vain. can’t wait to talk with you about it. ok – back to my bag of peas across my eyeballs… LOVE 🙂
I know Rebecca. She has coached for Girls on the Run. She is the mother to a whole gaggle of kids. She is funny, She is as real as they come and she is, as she has indicated here quite honest, open and authentic with her search for wholeness. I love her.
Shortly after her comment came another. Here is what Laurel wrote:
Molly, what comes to mind is babies. Have you ever noticed how babies look right into your eyes when they first meet people? Right clear through to the back of the head? Has that ever happened to you? Babies are good judges of character/beauty, based on that initial look into a person. Society somehow removes the trust in that inital judgement and replaces it with how we look on the outside. How often, when you’re in the store, and you look at someone and smile and they completely avoid looking directly into your eyes… connecting with you in that way? MANY people won’t look into us like that. there’s some sort of force-field/shield or something that people keep in front of their eyes that keep the reality of “us” out and/or, perhaps, to keep the reality of “them” in… you know what i’m saying? The babies don’t do that tho.. too bad they can’t talk yet. Many people look at the smile I give and then do the double-take… looking back into my eyes and more often than not, they just sort of relax… or deflate, or something i can’t find a word for. then they usually genuinly smile back and often stop to say a real “hello” or shake a hand. Maybe we’re un-taught to look directly and unabashedly into the windows of other souls? Is this a dumb concept? lol…?
I had a breakthrough right then and there.
I found photos of the following people and lined them up. Rebecca, my daughter Helen, me (sans makeup), me (with make up), Mother Teresa (that really famous photo of her all wrinkly and old) and Demi Moore. (I know adding Demi to the mix brought a smile to your face. That’s okay. For some reason she’s been on my mind a lot lately.).
I laid them in front of me…and examined them all…like really took some time to look at them. I looked at the intricate way the folds of age draped across Mother Theresa’s face. I marveled at the dimples on my daughter’s face, the wisps of hair that delicately fell upon her cheeks. I looked at Rebecca’s bright smile and eyes, the smoothness of her skin, the lack of wrinkles there, my own face…the two “intensity lines” above my eyes, my thin lips and lopsided smile, Demi’s dark hair, the color of her skin.
It was as if I was seeing them for the first time. I spent a good fifteen minutes just looking, seeing, observing.
About seven minutes into this, the smile came…tickling its way up from the inside. Another minute into the smile, the chuckle started…and then the loud laugh. Loud enough that one of my kids came down to see what all the joy was about.
The realization occurred…right there in my kitchen…my three dogs on the floor next to me, my son upstairs, my daughter in the den, you at your home or out…that these women were all beautiful. None moreso than the other. They were equally beautiful.
I’m telling you…its like all the pieces came together. Not a single image was more beautiful or less beautiful than another. They were all beautiful…down to every last detail. Uniquely beautiful…just as they were.
I’ve had all day to meander through this new found knowledge…had time to ponder the ramifications of it in my life. The revelation is real for me. The word most or more or less no longer applies to the word beautiful. We are all beautiful…at least through the eyes I have now. Rebeccas is beautiful just the way she is right now, Helen is beautiful the way she is right now, I am beautiful just the way I am right now, You are beautiful just the way you are right now.
Tomorrow you will be beautiful, right then and there. Rebecca will be too. So will Helen. I will too.
I tried sharing this new view with some friends this morning. They were struggling to understand.
“You see them as beautiful Molly because you know them. You are still seeing the beauty they emit from within.”
“No,” I replied. “I truly see their physical beings as beautiful, as they present themselves to me in the moment . It’s like trying to say a rose is more beautiful than a daisy. Their bodies, their faces are equally beautiful. How they are, how they present, how I see them…all beautiful. Equally.”
I am reminded of a story that I’ve never quite understood…but I seem to be grasping now.
The Buddha held up a flower in front of an assembly of monks, and said nothing. As the story goes, while most monks wondered why he was holding up a flower for seemingly no reason, one monk simply smiled. The Buddha explained that this monk truly understood.
You are the flower and so am I.