You Look Marvelous!

The fresh, young millennial in last week’s yoga class had beautiful legs – with a light brown downy pelt of hair; soft and silky smooth.  It was dazzling, amazing – lovely.  She probably never put a razor to her legs once.  Trying to remember why I spend any time at all on that activity.  As a kid, I WANTED to shave my legs; made me feel all grown up – glamorous.  Decades later that upkeep is frankly a pain in the ass.

The reasons behind shaving, plucking and adorning women’s bodies has changed and morphed throughout history.  Why do women keep on shaving today?  Why do I?  It can’t simply be aesthetics when natural can be so pretty.  Is it because I was brought up to think I must?  To believe in this activity as a condition for beauty?

Going natural – in bits and pieces is my new experiment.  Fingernails, toenails – makeup . . . the non-permanent stuff . . . whose scale of difficulty to go au naturale varies.  That one really ugly toe (ugh) . . . slides the scale toward uncomfortable – but bearable.

Of course there’s THE BIG ONE . . . Hair!  When I left the corporate world I gave myself permission to quit the tedious and expensive ritual of dying my hair.  Chasing the auburn was wearing my ass out – and I suspected I’d be 100% white/gray. Boy-oh-boy was I scared!  What would people think?  Would I look old? – Ugly?  What would they say at Hip-Hop class?  I was extremely nervous, but determined.  Luckily I found a private support group on Facebook that helped me re-frame the questions.  Instead of wondering what other’s thought – I was encouraged to ask “What do I think?”  Instead of worrying about looking old – they wanted to know “How did I like my new look?”

Of course when the movie ticket guy asked my husband “is that one adult and one senior?” – Me being “THE SENIOR” – I was just a tiny bit thrown.  Then I laughed – have to wait a bit longer for that discount.

Society has very clear standards for female appearance – and behavior.  We’re expected to look a certain way, with the right make-up, hair, nails – and yes silky naked legs.  Too often we’re supposed to be quiet, calm and lady-like – all “sugar and spice and everything nice.”

Just not buying that right now.  We – men and women – are messy, complicated and peculiar.  When I’m authentic, I contribute something unique to the world.  It’s easier for me to make physical changes than behavioral adjustments.  This experiment is moving my comfort zone . . . providing the impetus to brave the source of my beliefs behind appearances.

Will there be a silky pelt on my lower appendages in the future?  – Hmmm, jury still out on that one.


“You look marvelous!” – catchphrase of Fernando Lamas. That is who Billy Crystal modeled his character “Fernando” after.


Judge, Jury – And Executioner?

What holds resentments in place?  Where‘s the root of A Big Mad?  A Little Annoyed?

Thinking along practical lines, if I genuinely want to release these anchors, knowing I have them and why is helpful; but wanting to drop them?  It’s complicated.

Yes, they’re just stories I tell myself that keep me stuck.  They aren’t real; not the truth.  So if it’s time to tell better stories, how do I decide what to let go?

When I observe what causes my Little Annoyed episodes – I can usually see that my ego wants what it wants when it wants it – first, foremost and in living color.  Ego can interfere with loving people, being kind; paying attention.  Not comfy to admit when I’m being a raging egomaniac; but doable.  I even see how changing these behaviors could improve my life.

The Big Mads though … these are rooted in my worldview; my beliefs, my judgments – my values.

Doing “The Work” outlined by Byron Katie asks me to look at my judgments.  Some are quite dear; I feel good about them.  But when I consider that I reap what I sow; judging others can become a harsh indulgence.  I don’t like being judged and found lacking; it really sucks.  You think I don’t feel it?  I do.  So – if I do; I guess you do too.

The world appears to be in a vicious cycle of judgment.  It shows up personally, locally, globally.  Are we playing some version of chicken with each other?  My side, your side – who’s on the right side?  If I blink or concede anything – what are the consequences?  Love and acceptance?  Domination and rejection?

A friend of mine once played electronic war games.  When I said my preference (total judgment) was “to build a peaceful world” – she said; yeah, ran that scenario and was promptly annihilated.  Right.  The bully takes advantage.  I saw it growing up, at school, at work – now in the government.  Self-preservation kicks in.  Not everyone wants the world I want.  But there I go judging again.

In her book Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chodron introduced me to the concept of being a warrior-bodhisattvas and entering “challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering.”  She says:

A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next.  We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe.  But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.  This not-knowing is part of the adventure.  It’s also what makes us afraid.” 

A Warrior Bodhisattva has no promise of a happy ending; but is asked to reflect on this question:

Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

Byron Katie teaches me to see the reality mirrored in my life – to know its root.  Pema Chodron challenges me to face these discoveries and take action – to “alleviate suffering.”  What will I choose today?


“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” — Herbert Spencer