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What is Beauty? The new book by Helen Gordon, Being Beautiful is an inspiring anthology that aims to answer just that – or at least make us think on it more.
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What do I find beautiful? The sound of birds chirping early in the morning is beauty to my ears. The leaves changing colors in the fall, or the pops of color from flowers in the spring are beautiful to my ears. A morning watching fresh snow fall gently to the ground, covering the earth in pure white adds beauty to my soul. Watching children play together, helping each other learn new tricks, or comforting one another when they tumble and fall. The not so quiet whispers of my girls as they ignore sleep in favor of each others company, or my son asking to sleep with baby brother because their love is overflowing. These moments that touch the senses are beautiful to me.
When I was a kid, I didn’t understand beauty. My mom was allergic to makeup, and she generally let me wear whatever I wanted to. Unfortunately I had no sense of style, and no desire to care about it either. In middle school, I would frequently go much too long without washing my hair. Kids would make fun of me, and I would write them off as bullies. My outward appearance didn’t matter to me. Only my spiritual well being, and how nice I was to others was important. As long as I loved myself, right?
Do you see it? As an adult looking back, I see my folly. I thought being beautiful was a physical thing, and materialistic. Girls who focused on their outward beauty were below me because I focused on something ‘better’. My spiritual and educational goals. I know now they were never separate. There is such a thing as being too focused on your outward beauty, but the same holds true for our inner beauty. Because no one will see that inner beauty if we hide it under dirty clothes, unwashed hair, and an attitude that our lack of materialism makes us superior.
I have loved perusing the pages of Being Beautiful: An inspiring anthology of wit and wisdom on what it means to be beautiful. This isn’t a book you just pick up and read. It truly is for perusing. Opening the pages and reading where it lands, quotes from many walks of life. Helen Gordon has included sections on Inner Beauty, Outer Beauty, Finding Beauty, Living Beautifully, and Defining Beauty. Each section has much to discover and ponder over.
As the Irish novelist Margaret Wolfe Hungerford once said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
So, while I now take better care of my outward appearance, and still find beauty to be the things that touch my spirit, I make more of an effort to care for my outward beauty as well.