Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.
We fly to beauty as an asylum from the terrors of our finite natures.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Beauty, health, and happiness come from the same source—the harmony of daily life.
The concepts of looking good and feeling good are so intertwined you can barely tell the difference. Do you have to look good to feel good or do you have to feel good to look good? And if you have the recipe to look good and feel good and add a pinch of good attitude, then wouldn’t you have the formula for happiness? That is the premise to this book.
As women, we want to be loved and admired. I think practicing a regular beauty routine reinforces loving ourselves, which is a magnet for attracting love and admiration.
Wisdom and beauty are inherent
Most of us do not look like Cindy Crawford, but all of us have inherent wisdom and beauty. I have seen many women who look beautiful because they take such good care of themselves that that effort, that expression of healthy self-love shines through. When you take the time to take care of yourself, it creates energy, a magnetic force. In other words, making friends with yourself helps you make friends with others. Loving yourself in a ritualistic way makes you more open to love from others. Expressing your appreciation for yourself makes it easier to express your appreciation for others.
Looking and feeling your best is beauty. Everything that you love is beautiful. So love yourself. Beauty is an attitude; love is beautiful; displays of kindness are beautiful.
If you take the time, even just two hours to prepare for a big evening through a homespa, steam or sauna, mask or facial, manicure, bath, washing and conditioning your hair, brushing your teeth, taking your vitamins, taking a healthy drink, applying body oils, taking your time getting dressed, you know you are going to feel more beautiful. Beauty is not only in the eyes of the beholder; it exudes from you. It emanates from every pore in your body. It is in your presence, your facial expressions. It comes from your laugh, your smile, your kind words. Beauty is held in your eyes especially when you are looking at something that you love. It comes deep from within you.
Caring for yourself
To start getting your health in order, start to eat properly, exercise, and take the needed supplements and herbs to enhance your health. Then practice healthful beauty treatments to enhance your good looks. Finally, practice the things that will bring happiness into your life. Polish your gifts from the Creator. Taking good care of yourself is an enjoyable expenditure of your time, not to mention a great investment that pays the best kind of dividends.
Beauty rituals bring together the art and expression of loving yourself, and can even be a spiritual experience, a type of meditation, as you deliberately, mindfully, take the time to appreciate yourself, your world, and your blessings.
The French have a saying: “Etre bien dans sa peau” (to feel good in one’s skin). What could be more important? Both on the outside and the inside, God’s creation is what we are talking about. It’s an insult not to take care of this creation. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are made of Divinity.
Creating harmony in our daily life is a great source of health. Balancing the aspects of our day between activities and rest, time spent inside with time spent outside, and mental activity with physical activity are life enhancing. Being near man-made objects and being near nature, being with people and being alone. If you live in the craziness of the city, be sure you get to the sea, mountains, or the forest enough. It is important to set a piece of each day aside to reflect on and reaffirm what is important.
How we see ourselves is imperative to how we look and who we are. Beauty’s foundation is self-esteem. We all need to carve a peaceful place for ourselves in the world, a place on the planet where we feel as perfectly comfortable as is possible. We need to be mindful of any and all negativity, go to its source of pain and deal with it, and find a place to put it where it can’t create havoc, but yet a place where we don’t deny its existence.
We need to cultivate an attitude where we see our humanness complete with our flaws, where we can embrace those as well as our positive points, and cultivate acceptance for ourselves as integrated beings.
We need to see ourselves and others as beautiful, healthy, and happy and to live in harmony with ourselves first before we can live in harmony with others. It is important to allow yourself to visualize your beauty instead of focusing on your small imperfections.
Take control of what you can to be beautiful. First, you need to feel good.
Cosmetics: a universal idea
The word cosmetic is derived from the word “cosmos.” The word cosmos was originally defined as “the order of the universe.” Universal order can be expressed in every aspect of human existence. We seldom think of cosmetics in such esoteric terms. The relationship of appearance to one’s own visual harmony was obvious, however, to the ancient Greeks and, before them, to the Chinese and Egyptians.
Although we modern people do not usually think of cosmetics in such deep and serious terms, that is, seeing the innate relationship of one’s appearance to one’s own inner harmony, this concept was clear to the ancients.
Throughout recorded history, a daily routine of beauty care has been an accepted ritual. The practice is considered by many to be a manifestation of civilized living. Men and women trying to enhance their natural beauty through the use of body care products and Mother Nature is nothing new under the sun.
The ancient Egyptians had a complex system that made it difficult to differentiate between religion, ritual, and cosmetics. Some historians say that the concept of using cosmetics just for adornment may have started in China nearly 4,000 years ago. According to Jessica B. Harris in The World Beauty Book, “In Peking in the thirteenth century, upper-class women anointed their faces in the wintertime with a paste that was called ‘Buddha adornment.’ The paste remained on into the spring, when it was removed to reveal a complexion that was alleged to be as smooth and lustrous as jade.” [Jessica B. Harris, The World Beauty Book, San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995.] We no longer have this formula. It has been lost in the mists of time.
Not all ancient wisdom is lost
Fortunately, there are places in the world where such ancient knowledge is still known and practiced. I experienced such a place during my visit to India. While I was in Goa, I tripped and hurt my foot. I could not walk. I was able only to hop on my other foot. A taxi took me to a small hospital. I was a little scared because it didn’t resemble an American hospital in any way. It wasn’t clean. No staff was visible, and it was out in the middle of nowhere. After waiting about a half-hour for someone to show up, a woman appeared and asked me what was wrong with my foot. I told her I didn’t know, that I had tripped and now I could not put any weight on it without falling down.
She wrapped my foot in a bandage that she soaked in a yellow solution she said was from a local plant. It was Ayurvedic medicine, she added. Then she told me I should be able to walk within an hour. She didn’t seem to appreciate Westerners. I asked her what plant the solution was made from and how it was formulated. She looked at me and said, “It’s Ayurvedic.” “Yes, I understand,” I responded. “I am very interested in natural healing. Please tell me.” The woman just shook her head and replied, “You Westerners wouldn’t understand.” I begged her to tell me about it, but she just said, “That will be 350 rupees,” and stuck out her hand.
The solution felt wonderfully cool and diminished the pain. My foot felt better the moment she applied it. An hour later, just as she had said, I could walk. I couldn’t believe it! All the pain and swelling were gone. I went back the next day to coax her again for more information and to thank her, but she was nowhere to be found.
We have just begun to rediscover our heritage of growing, learning, and using food and herbs for healing and enhancing, and getting back in touch with the subtleties of our most innate nature. It is in a true sense of appreciation and empowerment that we pursue a beautiful, healthy, and happy lifestyle.
We are just relearning the herbal healing that women traditionally passed down for generations since before recorded time. Perhaps with enough research, we could even approximate the ancient Chinese’s “Buddha adornment.” There is much the world has known and forgotten. With effort, we can rediscover the best of the old and blend it with the best of the new.
We are all interested in keeping and enhancing our health, beauty, and happiness, and we can. Many of the ways are included in this book.