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The Whole of Beauty

By Irah, Jun 1 2015 08:26PM

Over the weekend, a woman approached me and paid my hair a compliment. She, let’s call her Anna, shared with me how frustrated she was with her dry and unruly locks. She asked if she could touch mine and noted how soft my curls were. Anna had been to all of the major boutiques promising model tresses with mostly toxic and sometimes even organic ingredients. She asked me which products I used. When I shared that I mix a solution of baking soda and essential oil for shampoo and follow, be it rarely, with a vinegar-essential oil complex for conditioning, she smiled. Anna noted that she was already brushing her teeth with baking soda, but never even considered making her own hair products. Her daughter soon joined us and we continued talking about the creation of a beauty regimen that is wholesome, organic and entirely sustainable. I explained the difference between chemically derived and natural sodium bicarbonate and recommended that they use bamboo combs rather than their plastic alternatives. When they asked my age and couldn’t believe that I was no longer in my 20’s, in actuality far from it, I told them that I would be happy to share my skin care regimen with them, knowing that healthy eating and conscious exercising such as yoga and outdoor activities where trees and nature abound were also important.

Looking back, I remember there being such an excitement between us as we spoke about living naturally. There was no awe in seeing the complicated ingredient lists found in store-bought beauty products and on restaurant menus. The awe was found in the recognition that by our own hands, with a few wholesome products we can unearth youth and beauty.

We were in an organic market, with lots of vegan and raw vegan options, so eating healthy was already recognized as an important piece of the beauty puzzle. I mentioned that my mother had just finished a three week program at the Hippocrates Health Institute, where she was introduced to raw organic eating and helpful alternative health care remedies. My mother, who had been sitting with us and enjoying our discussion, mentioned that in just three weeks she had lowered her cholesterol by 100 points and lost 13 pounds. The four of us were immersed in an energy of growing awareness, connecting to the reality that health and improvement of our wellbeing need not be complicated. What is complicated sometimes is the emotional baggage that follows us on our path to living holistically and sustainably. Anna’s daughter shared concern for other family members who, while removing certain harmful products from their diet and that of their children, such as pasta, still had a long way to go and could use some guidance.

Many times, even when we know the right path to take, the road ahead remains invisible, while the signs around us, beckoning us away, are bright, shiny and alluring: "BUY THIS! And you will be beautiful. EAT HERE! And your hunger and cravings will be subdued. SPEND A LOT! And you will be infinitely rewarded." Who hasn’t fallen prey to the advertising giants? I still find myself craving foods that I typically find repugnant after a few well placed and well made commercials. This is why I find introspection and meditation so critical. If we are to battle Goliath and win, we need to know our weaknesses and connect to the strength that is within us and between us. Both can be quite elusive, especially when the outside world distracts us and our internal world does not yet trust what is intuitively known.

In my work, in the beginning of therapy, patients are running away from their pain and doing damage to themselves and those around them as they run. Whether they are throwing verbal daggers so as not to look at the self that they share with others or berate themselves due to a preoccupation with their own weaknesses, they are not seeing themselves and the inexplicable beauty that is within them. As I help them see the person that they are presenting to the world, they in turn begin to recognize the person who they actually want to share. As veils of defensiveness, distrust, control and self preoccupation are shed, the conversation in therapy become less filled with chatter, leaving room for silence and the tolerance of our own thoughts and feelings. I look back at patients who have come and gone and see not just the emotional and personal transformations that occurred, but also the physical and social. Diets became more healthy, unnecessary weight was shed, medical conditions became less problematic and they began to focus on doing good. This happened not because I led them step by step through this process. This happened because psychological introspection and meditative silence awakened them to their intuitive world that naturally compelled them to care for themselves, their partners, their families, fellow humans and the world at large. That is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen.

When we begin to take this road toward holistic wellness it is rightly an invisible path because it shows itself to us little by little, step by step, with no end point or carrot hanging ahead of us. Although, you’re certainly welcome to take a carrot for the road. We sit quietly and unearth thoughts and memories that evoke sadness and pain and we just see them for what they are, human and temporary. We explore the repetitions to heal fully. Then our path is illuminated and we continue forward, step by intuitive step. It is a beautiful world that we are all walking toward in our search for real holistic wellness and the closer we get to it the more beautiful we become. Interestingly, once achieved, these moments of beauty that we all wish for do not feel as expected. What stays in mind is no longer simply being beautiful, but rather sharing that holistic beauty with others.

Jun 2 2015 10:29PM by Hannah

Very true and very inspiring!
you do not look a day over 20, and that is the best motivation to follow in your footsteps.

Jun 3 2015 03:09AM by irahb

Thank you, Hannah. What a compliment. I sincerely hope that my organs are as youthful as I appear!

Jun 5 2015 11:39PM by David De Torres

Beautiful and inspiring, I really enjoy reading your blog and learning something new :).

Jun 7 2015 01:43PM by irahb

Thanks David! Let's keep sharing our true beauty with the world.

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