What’s beautiful to you? A garden in bloom? A well lived-in home? A natural rock formation? A bear sitting mesmerized by a field of butterflies? The Milky Way? The warmth in a friend’s smile? A moment out of time when you connect with a stranger?
How about a well-running clock? Or a piece of art that leaves you standing in awe?
All of these things have one thing in common: They obey natural law, by either being natural, or following the dictates of Nature. They depend, for their beauty, on nature.
The ancient philosophies – including Hinduism, Buddhism, and the oldest of all – Shamanism – view everything that’s natural as beautiful. That includes us – we’re part of nature, and are therefore beautiful.
Joseph Conrad, in a series of interviews now being aired on Netflix, talks about beauty – and Nature – in this way. His passion for this view is evident and compelling, and I urge you to watch the series.
Through my years of maturing, I’ve spent countless hours trimming down, because I felt that being a particular weight would make me beautiful. As I got older, it got more and more difficult to keep that extra weight off, because mine is a body that is naturally on the heavy side.
Then one day, I woke up to what I was doing – making myself unattractive, not attractive! I was doing this – starving, eating not what my body needed but what I decided it needed, not for the sake of beauty, but for the sake of other people’s good opinion of me. It simply became so clear: like a solid wall of storm clouds parting and letting in the sun, that if I was doing this to please others who didn’t care that I was acting against my nature, then what the heck was I doing! Why were those people so important?
I’d like to say I stopped. What I have done is become more thoughtful and caring about my physical and emotional well-being. I am learning to accept the beauty of who I am, naturally. One step at a time.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .