year of living copyWhy then, do you walk as though you had swallowed a ramrod?
— Epictetus


How do you feel about your physical self? Are you happy with your body? Many people are not; in fact, I’d venture to say that most people are not pleased with the body in which they live. If you hated your hometown as much as you hated the physical home of your body, wouldn’t you somehow change something, even move? Why is it that you allow yourself to stay stuck in such ongoing discomfort in your body?

You live in a body-conscious society, in which the current standard for attractiveness, which varies from year to year, is nearly always unattainable without an airbrush.

Laura writes: I was having an important picture taken, and had my hair put up first. The hairdresser mentioned that he did lots of advertising work, and he let me in on a trade secret: The hair on the back of a model’s head is often not styled at all. He explained that he was only concerned with what would show on camera, and so he might just clip or pin back any excess hair in the back.

“It’s all a big illusion, that beauty is casual and effortless,” he said. “There’s a team of us standing there, right out of camera’s range, waiting to reassemble the model at any second. She’s sprayed and pinned and clipped and shellacked, but it’s all artful; it’s all to make it look like she just threw herself together.”

“I wonder why we believe it, then?” I mused, but I knew the answer. We want to believe in the idea of accessible and easy perfection, and we want to believe that we, too, can look like that. Unless you have a team at the ready, though, you can’t.

What if you redefined beauty? What if a woman sweating after a workout, a man with tears in his eyes at the sight of something touching, a young girl talking tough or a young boy talking tender, clothes of comfort rather than clothes of status or display, clean, shining skin rather than a layer of makeup hiding you from the world signified an inner beauty that has made its way outward, allowing you to live in comfort?


Think about what beauty is to you. When do you feel most attractive? What kinds of clothing are you wearing? What are you doing? Make a commitment to yourself to begin to merge your inner experience of conscious living with the outward symbols of beauty in your life. Conscious beauty. What a concept!

Purchase “A Year of Living Consciously” by clicking the cover below: