Inner Beauty

A few weeks ago, June honored me with this award.  There are lots of blogger recognitions out there, but this one really touched me, probably because I've certainly not felt very beautiful of late, or very powerful.  Today, reading this simple sentence, I started thinking about the times in my life when I did walk with a sense of strong inner beauty, times when I felt powerful enough to turn winter into spring and set flowers to blossom in my footsteps.  Times when I had the confidence to take on the world and all its challenges, when I felt as if my life had a purpose, as if it mattered in more ways than just getting through another day.  The first year of my marriage - oh, how beautiful and powerful I felt then.  And certainly that feeling arose from being loved so much, but also from being in charge of my own life for the first time, and seeing the future spread out before me, twinkling with promise like a million stars in the night sky.

Finishing college, finally getting my degree after 10 years, and graduating with honor, in spite of doing it all while working part time and caring for a toddler, gave me a unique sense of accomplishment, one I hadn't felt in a long time.  Walking across that stage to get my degree, I could almost see the ice melt and smell the flowers springing up behind me.

Certainly playing music, performing, working as a team with other musicians - that's heady sense of beauty for me.  Over the past dozen years I've pushed myself to new heights in that arena, worked to overcome performance anxiety and discovered what fun it is to entertain.  There is power and beauty in making people smile, through music.

And through writing.  Coming again to the practice of writing, finding a way to share thoughts and ideas with others- well, that provides a uniquely beautiful experience. 

 So it was good to recall those days when my sense of inner beauty reigned.  It reminded me I need to search for ways to allow the beautiful girl inside me to come out and play.  I don't do that often enough, and I suspect most of you don't either.  Because there is a beautiful girl inside everyone of us, even if they sometimes get lost among the tarnished realities of everyday life.

The words of Mary Oliver's poem, When I Am Among the Trees, have really been speaking to me lately.  As a matter of fact, I printed the poem on a small card and have it tacked above my desk at work.  Here are the verses that resound in my heart...

 I am so distant from the hope of myself

in which I have goodness and discernment

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly and bow often.

And yet, the trees remind her with their simple grace and inner beauty, it's really quite simple - "you too have come into the world to do go be filled with light...and to shine."

So now -thanks to June and Mary Oliver- I'm looking for ways to shine, my friends.

How about you?