Today’s post is from Leela Vox*, author and poet. She offers poignant thoughts for women entering the autumn of life. Grief at the Beauty Bar acknowledges that most women would prefer to stay youthful-looking decades beyond their 50s and 60s. If honest, we’d admit some grief around the aging process. Does that make us less spiritual?
Fall is the season for fashion, and fashion is an industry where beauty prevails. As women enter the autumn of life, the mirror can become a complex landscape to navigate. And for women on a spiritual journey, it can feel a bit shallow to indulge the subject of external beauty.
Spiritually driven women know we are more than the skin we are in; that we are Infinite Beings. We know our beauty is actually generated from the Pure Love of the Indwelling Spirit. Still, with the passage of time, as our beauty subtly changes shape in the mirror, it’s perfectly human to overlook the beauty we are becoming, because we’re attached to a reflection of an image. An image which we have identified as ourselves in past.
The mirror and false definitions of attractiveness – don’t get tricked
The beauty industry and collective consciousness around definitions of physical attractiveness can trick us into thinking we are losing our beauty. When, in reality, we are simply transforming into a new season. And have you noticed that the most beautiful leaves appear in the fall?
Due, in large part, to the commoditization of physical image in mixed media — even as we consciously choose to walk a path of vitality, the mirror can sometimes trick us into the idea we have lost something. In reality, we’ve actually been gaining more of who we came to be in this life.
We women of autumn are still beauties, just with more radiant hues, and deeper points of view than in our flowering spring — and we are now seeing this reflected in the media. As we move more deeply into the roaring twenties of our modern times, we are seeing new evidence in films and television that humanity is learning to appreciate the depth of content, experienced character, and consciousness. Previously youth-obsessed industries are recognizing the value of beauty that goes beyond skin deep.
There’s no shame in desiring external beauty
For women on a Spiritual path, there can be a temptation to feel shame about our attachment to external beauty. And successful women who may have built entrepreneurial empires, empowering them to buy anything they want, can’t buy youth or vitality — even though ample resources can tremendously support the maintenance of these qualities.
Additionally, a powerhouse success-driven woman who learns to embody her soldier archetype can lose touch with her soft feminine radiance. “How can I be a strong warrior and also a soft, dancing, surrendered expression of Love and service?” The two diametrically opposed energies sometimes seem to counter each other. But cultivating both poles can lead to paradoxical freedom.
In contrast, women moving through poverty can have an even more challenging journey with aging as they face a lack of resources for products & services which can help promote health and prolong external beauty; not to mention the toll financial stress, malnutrition, and fear can take on one’s appearance.
Processing grief about aging – it’s ok to acknowledge the feelings
The bottom line is, whether wealthy or impoverished, most women, if they’re honest, would prefer to stay youthful and vibrant for decades beyond our forties, and fifties. We want to be timeless beauties into our seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond! So, let’s get honest about the process of grief at the beauty bar, so we can process the feelings and let go of any negativity surrounding what can be one of our most rewarding chapters in Life.
It’s a conversation many women aren’t yet comfortable having in spiritual circles, because the inevitable avalanche of well-meaning platitudes, affirming our internal beauty, does nothing to diminish the grief we are facing in the process of learning to glow with radiance from the inside out as we learn to accept inevitable physical changes. Worse, dismissive platitudes can often add to feelings that grieving the loss of our youth is somehow wrong or “unspiritual.” It’s ok to
feel the feels, just as we can sometimes feel a hint of melancholy as fall blows into the atmosphere after a golden summer.
Allow the emotions to teach the Truth
Honestly facing the Truth of a moment, allows it to teach what it has come to reveal. Then it can move through and out of our experience to make room for appreciation of the next moments to be revealed in Autumn, Winter, and even renewed Spring.
This post is not about giving up and abandoning the body to surrender into “old age.” This work is about allowing and honoring a natural process of sweet surrender, which has much more to do with all we have faced, carried, lost, and learned through the years, than it actually has to do with the image in the mirror.
When we do let ourselves honor the sacred ritual of moving from life’s summer into fall, remaining authentic to our inner journey, we can gracefully release an old idea of who we have been, and start moving in the direction of more realized, mature versions of ourselves. To stand tall in who we have been and are becoming, which is more, not less, than we were in youth, having stripped away all but that which is essential.
Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,
* “Leela Vox is an award-winning poet and writer, with a philosophy of approaching life with a “beginner’s mind,” consciously practicing daily surrender, looking for ways to serve. She brings her experience as a broadcaster to social media as a voice for uniting folks with opposing views, sailing reminding herself that, ‘Life is too short for resentments.’ ” Find her here: Leela Vox