There is limitless energy within each of us, but it has been pummeled and buried by all of the distractions in our life, our inability to prioritize what is truly meaningful, and our blind spots when it comes to truly taking care of ourself in a sustainable way. At their core, rituals are a way of putting on our own oxygen mask before we attempt to take care of anyone else.
Here and now is where we put the Slow Beauty philosophy into practice.
In this chapter we will learn some strategies for slowing things down and returning to simplicity so that we can feel and express natural beauty in all of its facets: in our mind, in our body, and in our soul. Know that there isn’t one specific route that will lead you to authentic beauty. The approach is a composite of mysticism, poetry, sensuality, meditation, nourishment, movement, conscious thinking, being present, being creative, emotional state, and even the language that we use. We each create our own composite and connect to it through the rituals we select to define our Slow Beauty practice. We are grounded in this internal place that expresses Slow Beauty through these rituals, which are intended to slow things down; calm the nervous system; promote intimacy and connectedness with ourself, others, and life itself; foster deeper sleep; provide greater strength; and allow us to both feel and look more energized and beautiful. Slow Beauty lends itself to such rituals because it is a graceful and calm beauty that represents the values of integrity, kindness, and trust all of those values that have been undermined in our capitalistic society.
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According to a study by World Value Survey conducted by Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser, in the United States, interpersonal trust attitudes have decreased and people seem to trust one another less today than they did forty years ago. This is a meaningful and sad shift because, also according to the study, “Trust is a key contributor to sustainable well-being outcomes.” Of course, this is true not only on national levels, but also in our own life. A Slow Beauty practice grounded in rituals will help us develop a deep and lasting sense of trust in both ourself and in the world we create.
Of course, the idea of beauty rituals is not new. But please understand that there is a big difference
between beauty rituals and the beauty regimes that have been marketed to us. Slow Beauty is not a combination of natural products dressed in the same sexist, misogynistic imagery that pushes rigid beauty standards upon us. Any movement no matter how natural and holistic that establishes standards is still showing us what beauty should be and how it should be attained. Slow Beauty is your unique perspective, your point of view about what it means to feel and look beautiful; not a photographer, designer, or editor’s vision about what beautiful looks like. Each of us independently determines what beauty looks like which means that beauty is inherently diverse, inclusive, expansive, creative, and ever-evolving. Always define your own fluid standard of beauty and ground yourself in it!
There is something peaceful about this Slow Beauty journey. It’s bold kindness, rather than packing a shock value. It is quiet, unwavering strength that persists both in the calm and in the storm. When you develop that real intimacy and deep trust with yourself, your well-being is vastly enhanced. It will sometimes feel energetic, uplifting, and even ecstatic. This is because the rituals that you incorporate into your life are designed to remove any clots that have compromised the flow of your natural energy. They dissolve emotional and spiritual residue and that mental and physical plaque that keeps you in a state of status quo. The rituals keep our energy fluid and thus unstick those places where we are stuck. It’s a beautiful thing, but also know that delving into these rituals involves a sort of self-initiation. Because of this, you may at times feel a bit lonely or it might be difficult to face aspects of yourself that are no longer serving you, to be able to bid them a final farewell as you become more invigorated and energized. This isn’t always easy but it is always worth it.
With these rituals comes the idea of energy. Everything around us is energy. Our goal is to tap into our natural rhythm, our own cadence, so as to align ourself with our personal wellspring of energy. When we don’t have access to that energy, we feel weighed down because we are out of synch with our natural rhythm. For some of us, this might mean that we’re spending too much time in our head and not enough time in our body or vice versa. For others it could mean that we’re completely disconnected from our spirit or, conversely, so looped in to the spiritual realm that we’re not grounded enough in our body. Or maybe your experience is entirely different. But the point here is to neutralize any combination that results in bringing us out of synch and cutting us off from our prana, our life force, our energetic flow.
The rituals create space for us to tap into the infinite, intuitive knowledge of our life force. When this energy is flowing naturally and without inhibition, miracles are possible. This free-flowing energy creates a fertile, fecund soil for the miracles to seed and come to life in all of their abundance, beauty, joy, love, strength, and wholeness. When we are closed, stagnant, judgmental, rigid, fixed, depressed, and exclusive, the soil is like a complete wasteland. Nothing can grow and develop and prosper instead, there is death, disease, and fragmentation.
It is only when we are courageous enough to slow down and, yes, this is an act of courage, particularly in today’s society that we will be able to move to our own rhythm rather than a rhythm or pace that is imposed upon us by someone else. Each one of us has our own unique rhythm and cadence. We should not judge whether we deem someone else’s rhythm to be too fast or too slow but, rather, be open and accepting of everyone’s rhythm Maybe you don’t even know what your own natural rhythm is. It is through the incorporation of these rituals that you will find out.
With some trial and error and a bit of experimentation, you will find which of the rituals in this section allow you to connect with your own life force and rhythm Go into this process with the
understanding that not all of these rituals will resonate with you. Experiment with them, build on them, evolve them, or simply walk away from any that you find don’t correspond with your unique Slow Beauty practice. Remember as you try them on that you are looking for rituals or for ways of performing and incorporating the rituals that ground you in your inner pace, that bring you back to that pace when you are tempted to go off course, or that stave off any agenda that may be distracting you from your own personal map.
These rituals are also a form of self-empowerment. They are what empower you to reach beyond your current self and to achieve your better self. They will transport you to see and experience yourself and your life more expansively and with more vibrant energy. The rituals will help you identify and become the infinite, eternal self that you already are on the inside as opposed to identifying with the finite, external self that is compartmentalized by the expectations of others who tell you what you should and should not be doing.
You will find that incorporating these rituals into your life will shock your stagnated senses, overwhelming them with positivity and goodness. The space you’ve created will fill up with information and knowledge from your inner self. My best advice? Receive that information, whatever it looks like. And not only that, but receive it with gratitude. This information is nothing less than a gift, for you to unwrap, experience, and enjoy.
Keep these words in mind as you embark on the journey of incorporating these rituals into your life: I am honorable, I am holy, I am sacred. I am ready to receive. You must learn how to receive well before you are able to give well. Get ready to receive lots of new, exciting information that will serve your mind, body, and soul as you begin to integrate these rituals into your own life!