I had the good fortune of growing up with a mom who marched to the beat of her own drummer. I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, the height of unnatural shades of makeup, and an abundance of hairspray. As a testament to the era, I remember one particular instance when I put every single color of eye shadow on my eyes at the same time. We had the latest issues of Vogue and Harper s Bazaar in the house at all times. But, amid this, my mom engrained in me lessons about more natural modes of health and wellness.
This included beauty, but also extended to how we lived in general. My mom was into alternative therapies, such as iridology (studying the eye to determine a patient’s systemic health) and reflexology. She had dairy delivered to our house in glass containers because she was suspicious of plastic. She taught me how to read the ingredient labels on beauty products, showing me both what to look for and what to avoid. The lifestyle my mom promoted in our house was in huge contrast to the chemical warfare that was being quietly waged around us. In fact, the blog Silent Spring an early environmental blog that discusses the detrimental effects of pesticides and the chemical industry in general mentions the pesticide spraying in the Michigan suburb where I grew up. Everyone thought my mom was eccentric at the time, but it turned out she was just several steps ahead of the world at large.
THE SEEDS OF BEAUTY Photo Gallery
Don’t get me wrong. My mom loved all things beauty and fashion it’s just that she was conscious about her choices. From a young age, my mom took me with her to the spa, but she stressed its benefits as a tool for health and wellness, rather than for enhancing outer beauty. Her entire ethos was “health is wealth.” “After all,” she would say, “If we don’t have our health, what do we have?”
When the time came for me to go out into the world on my own, I was armed with this sense of health and wellness my mom had instilled in me. When I went to college, I sought out yoga, which, at the time, was far from a mainstream practice. In fact, I had to go off campus to take classes with a lovely group of senior citizens who welcomed me with open arms. After college, I moved to Los Angeles and took up Transcendental Meditation. I found an Ayurvedic doctor at of all places a mall in Topanga Canyon. I was constantly seeking new modalities that made me feel more alive and invigorated, and that provided me with better, natural ways of taking care of myself. People often comment about how young I look. I attribute all of this to the fact that it’s simply engrained in me to take good care of myself, working primarily on the inside, and supporting this with holistic external self-care practices. Even after an entire lifetime of living like this, I continue to see myself evolving and growing. So, while some people dread the passage of time, I embrace it. The more time passes, the more deeply I delve into myself. And the more I connect with me, the more beautiful and at peace with myself I feel. This is true for all of us.