The pursuit of beauty

The pursuit of beauty is a part of what it means to be human. It unites us on a quest to be human and embrace the humanity around us. This pursuit leads us to find beauty in coming out of darkness and see the beauty in humanity around us.

“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” – Christopher Morley

Learning to see and know what is beautiful and why is part of the process of life. This is the key to not abusing beauty or misunderstanding it. There is a glory around us in others and a way to experience mystery in life. To start, let’s examine how wonder is destroyed, so we can proactively make changes in our perspective and current reality.

I have observed an interesting game around me since my early 20’s around me in this overwhelming, loud, dirty and magical city called New York. A search that never stops, the money that flows to fund this search and this game. The search for another moment to experience beauty. The woman searchs for it in purchase after purchase after purchase. The Sephora’s are packed full, the followers of each beauty and style blog or Instagram account multiply exponentially and the men of New York City betray the wife of their youth allowing themselves to follow and search to acquire beauty by spending thousands on bottle service or attempting one night stands with young, beautiful models. They keep searching for those moments, moments that will bring pleasure and meaning. They think they just haven’t found it yet. If they have that girl on their arm, just have that night of pleasure, then they will acquire the beauty they search for. The women strive to become that beauty and the men strive to acquire and experience that beauty. They use each other to try to get to reach the goals, but it doesn’t satisfy. The disillusionment inevitably follows.

“These things- the beauty, the memory of our own past-are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.” -C.S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”

Look for it in yourself. You’ll see the ways marketing and culture has played off of your Spirit longings. It keeps leading you on a search telling you that you can get there. What if we took a moment to realize that heaven is not going to be fully experienced here on earth, but that there are moments where we glimpse here on earth? What I’ve found is that we don’t find it in the places we think. What if we slowed down from the busy, frantic searching and spent moments realizing what destroys the moments of ecstasy and true beauty?  Mark Sayers writes in The Trouble with Paris: “We objectify the whole of life when we worship idols that are simply objects. If our culture holds materialism as one of it’s highest values, the  converse reality is that the spiritual, the sacred, and all sense of mystery is sucked out of life. We will then turn the people we love into objects, mere things, whose only purpose is to deliver us happiness and pleasure; we rob them of their humanity.”

Painfully powerful truth. Look for moments in your week where you can remind yourself about the value of people and relationships, as different than tasks or material possessions. Separate them in your mind and see your actions follow suit to reflect that way of thinking. Maybe moments of peace and reflection can give us rest from the frantic search and we can get ourselves back on the right path. The path of acknowledging the beauty of humanity and not seeing those around us as objects. This path to restoring the mystery of beauty and the glimpses of heaven that will follow await each one of us…

 

Continue Reading

A losing game

Like many others, I love these new campaigns coming out that are drawing attention to the industry of retouching images of models as they create images for ads. The famous Dove Real Beauty sketches campaign and the #realnotretouched campaign by Darling Magazine where this mantra was stated in a recent issue:”Let’s move and shake the standards of media to see women as masterpieces in the first place, instead of a flawed canvas that’s in need of modification.” The distortion of these images to fit an industry standard is a perfect parallel between the connection of insecurity and depression to the appearance of others social media accounts when we “compare our life’s behind the scenes to another’s highlight reel”.

furtick

 

Sometimes with me. I find myself late at night scrolling instagram before heading to bed and end up on a supermodel’s instagram… wah, wahhhhh. Bad idea. Funny how it puts me in a state of mind of not feeling good enough and I get lost in a downward spiral that dramatically leaves me feeling like the ugliest woman on the planet. I find myself lost in a dramatic moment I can’t get out of. It’s an illusion and a game that we never win. The game of comparison.

Finally , when it comes to body image here’s another starting point for perspective. Regarding beauty this has been a conversation of the ages, in different cultures, countries and continents over thousands of years. We only live one lifetime and we happen to live in a time and society that values a 5’11”, perfectly bronzed, size 0 figure as the pinnacle of beauty. Remember precious woman, that hasn’t always been the case. Let’s think bigger. Outside of the box. Let’s be different and fall in love with ourselves and our life all over again… It’s the only one we have. It’s real and reality can be much more beautiful when we make it our home.

Continue Reading

Freedom in Boundaries?

Beauty found in boundaries is a fascinating concept. When a make-up artist goes to work she uses boundaries and colors within the lines to make a face look beautiful. She uses lip liner to keep the beautiful rich color on the lips, so it doesn’t bleed into the skin around the mouth. She also keeps the eye shadow to angles within the boundaries of the eyelid below the eyebrow.

Another perfect example is found in nature. We love beaches and see them as a powerful sign of beauty, especially when you add a sunrise to the visual. When the boundaries of the beach are breached it turns into disaster and chaos. The beach loses the initial beauty because the water that was once beautiful and pleasant to look at becomes destructive to those around it.

IMG_6724There seems to be an idea in our culture now where things and people are confused and I bring this up because I’ve found it to be one of the biggest hindrances to real and true beauty in the purest form. This idea that we all selfishly do what we want and everything is going to turn out ok seems to be really common now. We’ve lost the perspective of living life backwards. If we live like this not worrying about a destination where will life leave us 40 years from now? Though we have an obsession with staying young and denying the fact of aging, what if we thought more about where our decisions will leave us one day? Knowing what we want our destination to be will bring so much more beauty into the present moment. The opposite mindset of wisdom, is something we now know as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It is an obsession on having the most fun in the present moment. I remember the moment a couple years ago, where I realized I was living in a nightmare because I was living a life that culture was labeling and selling as meaningful but I couldn’t quite figure out what went wrong and why I was so depressed…  We have been told by advertising and culture that the answer to self fulfillment is to find self fulfillment in being beautiful, traveling and generally being cool.

When we live to consume things and people, rather than consume life by making real love and relationships than one day we wake up and wonder what happened when the wonder is gone. In his book The Trouble with Paris Mark Sayers states it this way: ” As our Western culture has moved away from the religious and spiritual beliefs that have given us solace, meaning and direction, we have not necessarily stopped acting religiously… Hyperconsumerism is what we really place our faith in to deliver a meaningful and fulfilled life in the here and now…. If we are to define religion as the worldview and beliefs that determine our identity, actions, and hope, then hyperconsumerism is the biggest church in town.”  He defines hyperconsumerism as a framework of thinking where the whole of life becomes like going to a shopping mall. Our need for identity is no longer found in our divine creation, but in the things we consume.

Begin to look for this way of thinking in your life and find some freedom in the journey of beauty by developing a more self aware mindset of what will destroy the wonder we so desperately want to recapture.  The moments money can’t buy.

More to come…

Continue Reading

Timeless Beauty

As women we are designed to find and create a little heaven on earth. If we know how we were made and what for it will help us understand our journey a bit better. Welcome Sojourner. You may be weary of searching and want to get off the road for a little bit. Here is a place to rest and seek out the meaning and origin of beauty. There’s nothing I love more than a conversation over a steaming cup of hot tea…

Continue Reading