By Mary Berkery
What does it mean to feel beautiful? To fully express one’s attractiveness in all its variety? Where does the idea of the perfect figure/face come from?
One of the many turning points in my journey to new realisations was at the Notting Hill Carnival in London in the late 80’s. Watching those African women move, dance and sing through the streets; many were three or four times my size. Yet, they fully exuded confidence in their beauty and connectedness to their bodies. They wore clothes that showed their curvy figures and danced in full celebration of who they were as women. At that time in my life, I was teaching Beauty Therapy and Body Massage. Part of the curriculum was showing how to measure height and weight to get the body mass index and check if the client was overweight according this method. Also, waist and hips and bust had to be in perfect proportion according to a rule as to how a body should be perfectly proportioned. Treatments then incorporated machines, lotions and massage administered to the excess fat areas. Standing there in Kensington Park Road in London that August was a total contradiction to what my training was promoting as a perfect body and beautiful figure. I saw joy and beauty in those sensual women dancing in the streets, in full celebration of their feminine bodies no matter what size and how curvy they were.
“When is a woman most beautiful?” That question was asked of me by Faith, my mentor and guide, when I told her I’d embarked on a beauty training career. “I do not know,” I replied. “ When she is totally herself,” Faith answered.
Magazines and fashion advertisements show flawless figures and faces. I know no one that has this perfect body or appearance or even home! These physical images can get to us and we can start feeling that we will never be attractive enough or good enough; that we are flawed in some way. The Aramaic word for “perfect” translates as all-inclusive or complete. One is “perfect” according to this culture of the Near East when one includes all of who they are. Deepak Chopra says in his book, The Path to Love, that someone is “most attractive when they are comfortable with their own imperfection and weakness.” People who are comfortable with themselves, who are accepting of themselves, who can embrace their weaknesses and gifts with equanimity, exude a radiance and an ease within their own skin that is most attractive.
Do you look in the mirror or stand on the weighing scales and, according to some external measuring rod, deem yourself acceptable or not acceptable to yourself or others? When we do this, we are constantly fighting with ourselves using comparisons and self-criticisms. We never fully step into who we are and live that in all its richness and colour. Daily self care and acceptance, learning discipline from a place of love within ourselves is the antidote to this and the start of our fully showing up as who we are. When this attitude is embedded in our souls, then daily rituals of body nutrition/exercise, skin care and soul awareness become second nature.
The following questions may help to stimulate refection:
- What parts of my physical body do I reject or feel ashamed of? Could this be different? If so, how?
- What exercise and movement does my body like?
- How do I fully express who I am with the clothes and colours that I wear?
- Do I eat what my body needs rather than following addictions to sugar, caffeine and alcohol?
- What cosmetics do I use to fully express my radiance and soul rather than cover and camouflage?
- How do I care for my hair as an expression of my vitality and sensuality?
Some suggestions to start healthy habits to awaken your own beauty and vitality are:
- Have a monthly body massage.
- Start alkalizing your diet with fresh juices and raw vegan meals.
- Give away or sell old clothes that no longer express who you are.
- And finally, ask yourself and your good friends what is most attractive about you.
The answers will delight and expand your awareness of yourself as beautiful in this world. Enjoy!
Mary will be giving a half-day seminar on Saturday March 26th –
“Juicy Beautiful Woman”
A day on raw alkalizing juices for vitality, with holistic personal care practices for radiance and beauty.
For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org