This is a story about my Goddess hair on a day of self care. . .
Beyond that - it's really a conversation about our expression of beauty, and how to remain rooted in our own truth of that.
Self care means so many things for me. What I need and desire in caring for me is always different at different times.
Sometimes it means massages, naps, seeing friends, a long run, going to a class, meditation. Sometimes it’s leaving Ubud for the day to be in a different environment to play and adventure. It can mean taking myself out for yummy food. Or it’s turning my phone on aeroplane mode to just be. Other times it’s reading and painting. Many times it’s dance.
And it’s also times like this - going and getting crazy long purple goddess braids, just because. Why is this an act of self care?
At the moment I am drawing more from my Lakshmi goddess energy, and in acts like this, I feel that I am caring for her desires and yearning to express her beauty. So this self care was about bathing in my unique feeling of expressing beauty and sensuality, as it felt right in that moment.
I'll say right now that beauty and sensuality is totally not confined by changing our outer appearance or by 'what we do' in the outside world. We'll explore more here in this post how it comes from our inner being first. AND at the same time, changing our outer appearance and doing certain things for ourselves are also valid expressions of our Lakshmi inner goddess shining from the inside-out.
In the beginning phase of my spiritual exploration, I had a hard time bridging my love of adorning myself, dressing up and doing fun things like getting my hair done, putting on beautiful clothing, and even wearing makeup and glitter as a form of revealing in my physical beauty.
I used to think that it meant I wasn’t so ‘conscious’ if I loved those things too. Wasn't I supposed to renounce all of that and adopt a more 'muted' appearance so people would take me as the serious spiritual being I was?
I was in a pickle with these conflicting feelings.
Fast forward some years, and this simply doesn’t feel true anymore. Now I have a far deeper felt sense of my own spirituality, and I don't need to 'be sure' that anyone knows how conscious or unconscious I am from what they can see. I know that if I am living in my truth, and from love, my thoughts, beliefs, words and actions will speak far louder than any white linen outfit. (By the way, white linen is super nice to wear, if we are choosing to wear it for the reason that it feels right, and like the outward expression of our inner state in that moment).
So if someone were to think that I am any less of a pure feminine goddess that knows her worth beyond her appearance because I have crazy long purple braids, then that's ok. Because there is no validation I need, and I trust in my ability to stay living from my conscious truth in my own way.
This trust extends to the essence of then allowing others to have their own experience of me, freely, whatever that is, and knowing that those ready to interact with me, my work, and my sharings, will be open. That's all I need.
As a teacher and guide in the work I do, it was a key learning for me - to offer my truth expressed in my way freely, and know that it won't be for everyone. To allow those who I am expressing it to, to take it on if it feels right, and have the autonomy to receive. This is totally freeing to embody as a teacher or leader of any kind.
Have you had similar thoughts before?
About how to express/not express your beauty, and make peace with these parts of yourself that wish to shine and radiate in your own way, while also not coming across as shallow or attached to appearance?
Have you felt the tension in the thought that if we are seen as if we had made particular effort in our outward appearance, then we might be putting out the image that we are 'shallow' and less 'conscious?'
It's a hard one, for us women. Being raised in a world where we are told we need more of 'this', less of 'those', and an upgrade to 'that' to be the image of an attractive woman. BUT CAREFUL not to show it off too much, because then we may be seen as cheap, shallow and just wanting attention. Throw into this age related judgements and cultural nuances in expression, and it's no wonder we are left feeling hopeless as to how we can 'safely' express our inner light.
I will say now, that as a feminine being, when we really tap into our inner light and are receptive and open to the world, feeling totally in love with the life we are living, then we don't need to think any of this through. It comes then, not from the mind at all. There is no 'decision' to be made or second guessing. We are just naturally exuding this radiance from simply being in our truth and power. We naturally do whatever feels right and true, without second guessing.
It's pure magic.
And not always easy to tap into. I feel you sister. This is why I am sharing this, and opening this conversation. So that we can connect over these struggles that we have perhaps had, and continue to connect over our celebration of our beauty as we move through and past these struggles.
If we kept living by the standards and collective conditioning, we would never win. That's exactly what it feels like when we are stuck in that place off allowing our beauty to be dictated for us, and to believe that we need to find it and express it OUTSIDE of ourselves (rather than accessing it from the inside).
Playing with all the ways we can express our inner light and timeless beauty through outward acts is valid. Expressing our divine grace and beauty can be through so many ways. It can be as subtle, plain, simple or grand as we like.
Some days, I feel most aligned with how I am feeling within when I wear my softest comfy pants and an oversized worn-out t-shirt. Other days, even when home alone, I put on my lingere to embody the sensual creature that's stirring within me. Some days when I leave the house I feel like wearing colour and patterns and layers, and dust glitter around my eyes. Then at other times I most yearn to wear my natural tones and bare face.
In finally allowing myself to express beauty from my inner state, the second guessing began to tone down to sometimes whispers (as the societal and past conditioning is still strong at times), and sometimes no second guessing at all. In those moment I question how I might be 'perceived', I remind myself by posing this internal question:
How does my light wish to shine today?
How does my spirit yearn to be seen today?
And then, it feels right. I know what is true. By the way, when I ask myself a question about ANYTHING, and often when others ask me, I also put a hand/s on my womb space. Your truth lives there, my love.
For the feminine essence, denying this expression of what makes us FEEL beautiful - in whatever way that feels good for us - is coming from fear.
It’s coming from the thought that we shouldn’t do this or that, in case we would be seen as perhaps shallow or less conscious/wise/real...
There is a difference when it comes from being attached to our physical appearance in believing that is where beauty begins. This denies our inner-light connection. . . This is mistakenly thinking that beauty is only what we see. And that there is a certain way to be seen, in order to 'fit' into beauty.
We can see something as beautiful, but that's not where it starts... what we are really seeing is a manifestation of what we feel. What we feel when we express, and what we feel when we are witnessing the expression.
You know those moments when someone walks into a room, and you can't not look at them. They are magnetic. Man or woman... you feel attracted to just take in their essence, to drink it in with your eyes. And it has nothing to do with what they are wearing or how they 'look.' That is secondary, and perhaps what they are wearing highlights their essence, but it's something else entirely that is drawing you in.
THAT is beauty. THAT is being seen, and seeing, the essence of inner beauty expressed.
So that person was totally feeling their inner light, and letting it radiate. They weren't, at that moment, worried about how their light was shining, if it was on the right 'setting', if it were 'too bright' or if they needed to walk, move or talk a certain way to express the right amount of light. No... they were just pure presence, connected to their divinity, and being open for it to be witnessed, in their own unique way. Again - there is no one way to do this. It is unique to each of us, how our radiance is expressed and felt.
As feminine essence beings, this yearning to be seen is a natural desire. It's not the shallow form of being seen for attention or validation. It is a witnessing energy that is apparent in life as a natural part of how life is expressed.
We are life witnessing itself.
If Shiva energy (or, the masculine) is pure consciousness, from which all life arises from, then Shakti energy (the feminine) is the life. Shakti arises from Shiva. From Shiva's hold of presence, Shakti can move from this foundation, to birth into the all of the life we sense and see around us. It's in nature, and it is OUR nature.
It's said that Shiva's stillness is what allowed Shakti to be 'danced' into life. So Shiva can witness this dance, movement and life, as a natural part of itself. Life witnessing life. Life revelling in itself. Life being seen by life. Without that, it is the void. The infinite realm of possibility, from which we are birthed. But it is not the human reality we know. Life is playing with itself through our human experience. I truly believe this with whole-heart conviction.
In our feminine essence, when we are resting into that (because of course, these two energies reside in all us, regardless of gender), we are then in that space of yearning, in some way, to be seen. Whether that is our outward expression of our inner beauty through what we wear, do, or say. Or whether that is that feeling of the light penetrating the darkness. Without the darkness, the space (Shiva), we would not be able to see light.
The divine reveals itself to itself through duality. Why? To witness itself. It knows it is divinity. It knows its infinite vibration. And it's playing in the realm of human form.
Through duality. Not just it's still darkness. Not just it's illuminated light, but through a realm where both are present - and dancing. This is why we feel the divine in deep dark meditation of the void, or feel the bliss of enlightened energy in the highest pleasure of moments of grace.
Though I believe we sadly mistaken those two states of the divine as divine experiences 'outside' of our human realm. And that the human realm is separate from it, and therefore needs to 'do this, that and the other' to feel it. Yes, it is heightened in these states. AND yes - the divine is flowing through your veins right now. The divine is in your eyelids blinking. The divine is in the fibres of your bedsheets. It's in the sound of a voice, the molecules of the concrete floor. The divine is always present.
Can you see it?
Can you feel it?
Can you sense YOUR DIVINITY, right here, right now, as you are?
To express our goddess - to be Shakti dancing in life...
When our expression of beauty - in whatever way we choose it in that moment - comes from a place of expressing ‘I know my divinity, my inner light, and I am shining this from the inside out’, THAT is honouring our goddess. THAT is allowing her - divinity - life - to be seen.
So too is being naked, raw and wild at home alone with no adornments. So too is crying wildly at injustice and pain. So too is speaking your truth to another. So too is sitting in meditation. It’s all expression of the divine. It’s all beautiful.
So sister, (and all of us), let yourself express.