True radiant, inside-out Beauty is a radical act these days. Certainly, it is one of the more powerful invitations we can experience; an invitation to show our reverence and honor as well as an invitation to feel our love. Beauty is very much in the purview of the feminine; something we seem to have been innately endowed with, and also something which our culture has – in many ways – stolen from us. Depth Psychologist, James Hillman says, “Of all psychology’s sins, its most mortal is its neglect of Beauty.” Ed Tick, in his pioneering work with veterans and trauma, warns that the importance of Beauty to the souls well-being cannot be overestimated. In ‘Dark Nature’, a study of the origin of evil, Lyall Watson says, of nature, “even its least enduring designs are intriguing, and the successful ones take your breath away. Most often they do this by their simplicity. By the way they solve complex environmental problems with economy and austerity, producing solutions that not only work well, but are also aesthetically satisfying.”
I remember, on my first Animas Valley Institute program, we had been sent out into the wild and my task was simply to listen to the stories of the forest around me. I sat down in the shade of a beautiful aspen tree next to a cold tumbling stream, resting on the wet moss, marveling at its plumpness when the question, “what – really – is Beauty and where does it come from?” left my lips before I had realized I was forming words. Less than a heart beat later, this plump moss replied, “Beauty is not defined by how we look but rather how well we see.” Then, on another AVI trip nearly a year later I entered into a conversation with some extraordinary flower pods on Antelope Island in Utah. Here again I offered my lament regarding the cooption of Beauty from its radical power to its current iteration as a soldier of consumerism and oppression. The flower responded, “Beauty is the relationship with the Self of you who belongs to everything else.”
Beauty is, in this way, a radical verb; a reclamation, an honoring and a powerful invitation. We have been taught that beauty is almost entirely an exterior reality, one that can be manipulated with the right cosmetic surgeon, gym membership or make-up regimen. And this is catastrophic. True, innate, radiant breath-taking Beauty is one of the most compelling invitations and inspirations available to us as somatic, sensory conscious creatures. And it is absolutely in the purview of the feminine. Women seem to have been created to be beautiful in our functionality. Revisit Lyall Watson’s statement above and see how he is describing the feminine form as much as he is describing an untouched rain forest ecosystem. We, women, must reclaim our beauty, owning it fully and unapologetically. We must see the radiance and ownership of our innate beauty as one of our most potent gifts to the world. And an elegant efficient way to feed the Holy.