This bead in my gratitude prayer beads can be a challenge for me. It is often quite difficult for me to say that I have a beautiful body and spirit. Okay, maybe I can buy into having a beautiful spirit a little easier. But beautiful body?
“Ha!” says the inner critic. I was never the pretty one. I grew up in the shadow of a young mother who (I am not kidding!) was constantly and accurately compared to Elizabeth Taylor and Vivian Leigh. My sister has always been the beauty of the siblings, certainly not me.
I knew early on, much to my mom’s despair, I was not cut out to be a girly girl, a prom queen, debutante, or sorority chick. I was by turns a tomboy and a rebel and a hippie and a feminist. The constraints and definitions of beauty for girls and women were dead wrong in my view, even when I was too young to know why.
In hindsight, though, I obviously bought into them enough to feel that I was completely left out of the beauty equation (and an abusive, diagnosed sociopath first husband only confirmed and deepened this sad assessment). And as I have gotten older, whatever conventional prettiness I had has certainly gone downhill.
However, when I began making my prayer bead prayers, this is the phrase I was given to say. And saying it every day, haltingly and with much back-sliding, I have mostly come to know it is true.
If there is beauty in all things (even the saddest, the grimmest, the most difficult), which I do believe, then there is beauty in me, too. And not only airy-fairy spiritual, but physical beauty.
I have arms and legs that move and do amazing things without me hardly even thinking about it. I have eyes that see, ears that hear. I have skin that loves to be touched and pampered. I have inner workings that give me ideas, that teach me and whisper truth to me. I am able to savor and digest the lovely foods I feed myself. My body enables me to smile, to laugh, to love, to revel in the great gift of living.
How could it not be beautiful?
What about you? What is Beauty to you? Do you believe there is Beauty in all things? What aspects of it are you most grateful for?
How do we teach our children the meaning of Beauty? How has your perception of it changed through your lifetime?
What is your own personal gift of Beauty that you give to the world? And can you say these words and know they are true?