Here is another great article from my dear friend Sharon @ Heart of Self Care
Honoring The History of Beauty
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in New York’s Museum of Natural History, something I haven’t done in decades. Much of the time I was looking at artifacts from Central and South America, tribes of people I’d never heard of and places I barely recalled from the history books of my school days.
One thing struck me over and over again – no matter how ‘primitive’ the people were, no matter how rudimentary their tools, I witnessed an inherent drive to create objects of beauty. Bowls, spoons and ritual items were clearly designed for pleasure as well as usefulness. It was almost overwhelming how intensely this desire for beauty shone.
The Clash of Beauty and Kitsch
Plastic Santas…excesses of red, green and gold…some inflatable menorahs and blue and silver tinsel to make the Jews feel included…the annual spree of glitter and excess is here! While the human drive for beauty exists in all of us, it is overdone to the point of insanity at this time of year. For many, the holidays have become something ugly rather than beautiful, and the noisier it gets out there the more we crave quiet and simplicity. Where do you find simple beauty in this onslaught? Is it a white bowl filled with bright orange clementines set on an empty table? A fresh bough of blue spruce lining a shelf or mantelpiece? Or maybe a single string of lights around a doorway and a grouping of candles on the coffee table to offer brightness on these dark days. A Celebration of Instinct The desire to pull in, be quiet and keep things simple competes head-on with the push for gaiety and communal celebration in this last month of the year. Here are a few ideas for honoring the hibernation gene, which is alive in us as it was in our ancestors, and resides side-by-side with the beauty gene:
1) Overrun with magazines and catalogs? Cut images and words you find attractive and meaningful to create a collage before tossing the rest. If there is something you’ve been struggling with or worrying about, meditate on that first and see if you can intuitively create a piece that points towards resolution or offers hope and inspiration.
2) Invite a partner, friend or child to sit with you on the couch and give each other foot rubs. Gather some towels, your favorite lotion (usually better than oil for feet, they will gratefully soak up the moisture) and get some soothing music going before you start. Use the time to relax quietly together or share stories and giggles.
3) Gather a few friends for an early evening potluck, perhaps with a specific theme such as favorite family casseroles, seasonal recipes of root vegetables and savory soups, or an ethnic cuisine of your choice. Ask everyone to make enough so people can bring some home and enjoy another evening of lovingly prepared food – a real gift when they’re too busy or tired to think about cooking.
Tidings of Comfort and Joy
Most of all, allow yourself to honor your needs, whatever they may be. If filling your weeks with parties and glitter is what honestly feeds your soul, put on your party shoes and go! But if the quieter pleasures and simpler beauties nourish you, listen to that inner wisdom — socialize with consciousness and deliberation, and enjoy the solace of quiet warmth when the comforts of home beckon. I leave you with this quote from Rumi: “You must have shadow and light source both, Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.”
In peace and awe of human creativity,