BEAUTY WITH SUBSTANCE IT’S AN INSIDE JOB

Enlightenment is a lofty goal. I’m not suggesting that we all strive to walk around like Buddha every day of our life. Beauty is not and I repeat, not a pursuit of perfectionism Anyway, we are already perfect! Slow Beauty isn’t about beauty as we’ve always known it and it’s certainly not about the Photoshopped perfection that pervades our culture today.

Slow Beauty is a complete revolution to our thinking about and relationship with beauty. Through this practice, we are redefining beauty together, not as media and mainstream advertising tell us it should be. This isn’t to deny that there’s an external element to beauty, either. Of course there is! Who doesn’t love to acknowledge and admire a beautiful face, body, or work of art? Or the awesomeness of a breathtaking display of nature? For some reason, though, we have defined and related to beauty as something that lives only on the surface. And when something doesn’t fit the cultural standard, we ostracize and marginalize it.

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The Japanese have philosophies around this, such as wabi sabi, which is all about finding beauty in imperfection and transience, feeling a profound connection to the earth, and honoring authenticity above all else. It requires the courage to accept things as they are and that we slow down to appreciate things as they are. There’s another Japanese concept called kintsigu. Kintsigu is about recognizing, accepting, and drawing near to you the beauty of what is broken. Instead of discarding what is broken, kintsigu asks us to slow down and take the time to repair the object with “golden thread.” We can learn a lot about beauty from both wabi sabi and kintsigu.

Both speak to bringing near and radically accepting and being inclusive of those parts of ourself that we have marginalized, ostracized, or banished to the wastelands. Both philosophies speak to radical self-compassion, deep caring, deep knowing, and extreme kindness. Also, I just love the idea of fixing something with golden thread. Gold has so many beautiful connotations, including light, strength, and treasure. Particularly with kintsigu, broken objects are elevated by the use of gold to bind them together, resulting in more beauty than the object could have possessed before the break. It is a reminder that it is the breaks, cracks, holes, and chips that make us unique and truly beautiful. It calls to mind a Hasidic saying in the Jewish tradition: “There is nothing more whole than a broken heart.” Those of us existing in the world today can learn a lot from these centuries-old ideas about finding beauty in so-called imperfections.

Here in Western culture, we haven’t delved below the epidermis; we haven’t peeked inside, behind the veil. And that’s why there is the breakdown, the decay of the integrated self; because the foundation, the underneath, the depth hasn’t been addressed, cultivated, loved, cared for, acknowledged, understood, or seen in the way it needs to be seen. True beauty runs deep and it runs

clean. The skin is our largest organ, yes; but our mind is our processor, and our spirit communicates with the invisible. So, how we nourish our mind, body, and spirit needs to be intentional and mindful. Step by step, we need to infuse these three overlapping and interconnected circles with meaningful, intentional, nourishing, profound rituals and recipes to go deeper and achieve real, high-functioning, optimal, sustainable beauty. It’s an inside job. Inner beauty beauty from the inside out it’s all within. We’ve all heard the terms, but we have trouble defining what they actually mean. Slow Beauty will help you create your own definition of beauty.

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