December 8, 2022
We have circled back around to the beginning (or the end?), in terms of nature’s cycles as well as my teaching theme 🥰 intentional? Yes, but also not something I’ve had to think a lot about consciously. When we allow our lives to follow a natural rhythm, the ends and beginnings of things seem to merge more seamlessly.
And so here we are again talking about beauty. For me the theme has taken a lot of twists and turns, but what stands out now—as nature lets go of her summer and fall adornments, leaving behind a somewhat messy and overwhelming heap of past-lives—is that beauty is more about uncovering than acquiring. Quite the opposite of what we talk about when we talk about beauty in modern culture. But as we’ve discussed at length in our sangha, those acquisitions and additions offer at best a temporary satisfaction, and at worst a debilitating delusion of who and what we are at the core. Even the most intentionally styled person is still performing to a degree, and her clothes/hair/makeup/status is inherently limited in terms of what it represents about her. When we become attached to that limited facet of our identity and outward expression thereof—that’s when we get into trouble.
Doing the opposite of covering up for the sake of beauty—stripping down—is not easy, of course. It’s hard to be seen for all our knobs and wobbly bits and discolorations. I sometimes wonder if the trees are self conscious of such imperfections when they lose their leaves—a fleeting thought as I inevitably whip out my phone to photograph exactly those imperfections that I find so beautiful. I gather they don’t, and perhaps take equal satisfaction in being resplendently verdant and naked. What if I felt the same? (She asks with a gasp.)
Yesterday (Wednesday, December 7) was the last full moon of the year. This month, unlike many others, I was able to see a lot of the moon’s waxing—from a true crescent sliver that winked at me in the post-Thanksgiving twilight, to the swelling gibbous that fought the sun for air space in the early morning last week. But yesterday it was gross and rainy here all day, and I resigned to not being able to see the full moon at her fullest. Maybe all the other nights would be enough, I reasoned as I walked down the street blinded by the signs and traffic lights and car high beams trying to cut through the fog. Approaching a corner, I felt compelled to look up—and guess what? There she was. Just doing her moon-thing, beaming through the clouds, waiting to be seen.