I came across this old photograph of a time when my husband and I attended a very fancy black-tie event. Here I am with Tim, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law at Glyndbourne - a very exclusive member-only opera house in the south of England. It's set in beautiful gardens in which everyone has a champagne lunch on the lawn before the performance. It was a beautiful day of beautiful people, beautiful gardens, and all with the beautiful soundtrack of Mozart!
If you’ve ever been to a formal event, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s something wonderful about being at an event where everyone looks their very best. It's not every day that people make a concerted effort to step out of their jeans, t-shirts, sweatpants, and sneakers, and slip into their most beautiful physical self. It's a moment to get a glimpse of their potential for showing up beautiful, elegant, and perfectly groomed. And it's an opportunity to see how each person gets to express that potential in their own unique way.
When I think back to that event I remember being struck by how I was seeing people in a very different way. Gone were the regular and ordinary clothes. This was an evening when everyone felt beautiful and was beautiful. We were all shining stars.
I'm a true believer that we are all at our core, beautiful – yes, everyone!! that our truest self is breathtakingly beautiful.
The problem is that our true self gets obscured and covered over when we misunderstand our relationship with the thoughts that pop into our head - when we engage in gossip, smallness, jealousy, lack of forgiveness, resentment, and when we believe that the thoughts we have about ourselves (which are sometimes unkind and unflattering) are all true. These thoughts can cover us over and disguise our true nature in the same way a frumpy pair of sweatpants can hide a great body shape.
And guess what? We’re always going to think and feel those darker thoughts – it’s the great thing about being human. There’s no such thing as a perfect person. But just having the awareness of what these thoughts are and how they’re working through us, is the difference between someone who is caught in their web and someone who allows that energy to just flow through them. The difference in understanding these two distinct ways of living makes all the difference in your life.
Michelangelo said that whenever he began carving a statue, he believed that God had already created the statue. He claimed that he saw the angel in the marble, and his job was to carve away at the excess marble to set the angel free.
It’s a great story and a metaphor for how beauty is already there within us. Except to say that we don’t have to chip away anything – we don’t have to “work at” getting rid of negative thinking or learn how to practice being happy.