Recently I participated in a workshop on beauty entitled AbunDance. Its aims were simple, to provide a space where women could reflect on what beauty means to them. It is really important that we women take time to reflect on this because so many of us fail to see our own beauty. Unfortunately the culture we live in, celebrates the packaging and consumption of beauty. Beauty is marketed and sold to us in a myriad products & in ways that are designed to make us feel inadequate…and not beautiful. And each of us knows that feeling of lack, of looking at our bodies with a very critical eye, at the too grey hair, the too freckly skin, the too tall/too short bodies, the too fleshy/too bony bodies. Believing that “if only” we had this or that look, then we would be happy. But this thinking is a gross denial of our true beauty and of the vitality and joy within all our bodies, regardless of how we/they look.
Our bodies are sensory and sensual. They delight in exultation and lived experience, in expression. Our bodies are beautiful, just as they are! As Clarissa Pinkola Estes, says “To confine the beauty and value of the body to anything less than this magnificence is to force the body to live without its rightful spirit, its rightful form, its right to exultation. To be though ugly or non -acceptable because one’s beauty is outside the current fashion is deeply wounding to the natural joy that belongs to the wild nature.”
So next time you are having a critical moment try closing your eyes and feeling your body, try moving your body, follow where it leads…Conscious dancing is a way of appreciating the beauty of our own lived bodies. We can appreciate the vulnerabilities, the scars, the so called not- beautiful aspects of self, by expressing them, voicing and dancing them. We can be moved by our own bodies, and reject the limited notions of beauty celebrated in the consumption culture….Through dance we can come home to our own bodies, and to our own beauty.