Posts tagged Natural Beauty
How to Feel More Beauty-full Than Scarlet Johansson

I’ve been thinking about beauty a lot lately, particularly in the context of creating this new home for my story and starting this site.  Because it’s about so much more than beauty as we define it in our society: fat free, blemish free, wrinkle free, scar free.  The latest of a million examples from my world: Scarlet Johansson’s skin in the movie Chef.  It is otherworldly in its perfection (Am I the only one who preferred her performance in Her??).  In theory, we know every scene is painstakingly edited, but in watching we forget.  We accept her as flawless, even expect her to be so, and with drastic consequences for us ordinary, non-digitally enhanced ladies (and men too who nowadays face increasing pressure for physical perfection as well.)

In a society as visual and as a restless as ours, there is little space for ruminating on the deeper possibilities of beauty and the profound joy it can create in our lives.  We are often too busy stressing our lack of it.  Our lack of Scarlet Johansson perfection-ness.  And that becomes our reality - that we aren't enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough.  And so we struggle.  In fact, as human beings we are excellent at the struggle. We are designed for it as complex problem solvers.  

But in order to heal - our bodies, our skin, our emotions - we have to let go.  For me, it has meant examining my ideas about what it means to be beautiful and why I've always thought it was so important.  Its meant letting go of the struggle around my scars, my blemishes, and my laugh lines, and embracing what is, all of the parts of myself just as they are.  

It is from there that I have the space to create as much beauty in my life that I want.  Through loving self care of my body and mind.  Through new and uplifting stories I tell myself about all of the wonderful things in my life.  Through gratitude. Through appreciation.  It sounds a little kumbaya, I know, and I'm not saying such deeply rooted beliefs and insecurities can be changed over night.  But I am saying to embrace what you do have and what you can do from a place of love and acceptance is extraordinarily powerful.  And it will 100% show through on your skin. 

Beauty is a feeling, a way of being as much as anything else. And I love this definition because it creates space for something we have complete control over: our actions.  Beauty is a choice – one we get to make as deeply and fully as we dare. 

I choose to make today beautiful by stopping to enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face.  What can you do to create beauty for yourself today? 

Brusha Brusha Brusha

Let's Talk: Dry Brushing

What is it?

Dry brushing is a skin- and lymph-stimulating self massage that not only makes your skin soft and smooth but also feels pretty groovy too.

Why should you do it?

The long…

You’ve heard of your lymph nodes; probably felt them swollen in your throat when you’re sick (Swollen glands? That’s them).  These nodes are part of the lymphatic system which is responsible for bathing our bodies in fluid and filtering out bacteria and other ickies at the nodes.  The lymphatic system reaches every cell of our bodies, but unlike the circulatory system, doesn’t have its own pump.  Its primarily moved by muscle contraction and deep breathing – great when we walked 8 hours a day as hunter-gatherers, not so good since we’ve collectively become sitter-stressors.  And stagnant lymph can lead to all sorts of problems including acne, frequent colds and flu, fatigue, cramping, tenderness/swelling in joints, arthritis, fibrocystic breasts, and food sensitivities/digestion issues.  Clearly no bueno.

That’s where dry brushing comes in!  It promotes healthy movement of your lymphatic system and in turn creates all sorts of benefits – improved immune system functioning, increased detoxification, possibly even a reduced risk for cancer.

And the short of it.

  • Increase circulation of your lymphatic system (key detoxifier of the body and home to much of the immune system)  
  • Exfoliate dead skin cells
  • Stimulate the production of new healthy skin cells
  • Get your whole body buzzing with delightful (calorie and stimulant free) energy

The How

Ideally you’ll get yourself a natural (not synthetic) hard bristle bath brush.  I got mine from Whole Foods, roughly $8-$12.  I’ve also heard World Market and of course anything can be found on Amazon.  If you can’t be bothered, it’s still worthwhile to do the procedure with a washcloth. 

 

Before you shower, ditch your skivvies and all jewelry.  Starting at your feet (Sometimes I use a washcloth rather than my brush on the bottoms of my feet or I skip it), begin brushing with light, gentle strokes toward your heart.  Long strokes on the long bones, round strokes on your knee and elbow joints.  Scrub all of your body parts in this manner, continuing to brush towards the heart.  You can use a towel to gently scrub your head and face as well.  The whole process should only take between 2-5 minutes.

You Should Know:

THIS SHOULD NOT BE PAINFUL.  It might smart a little your first time or two no matter how gentle you are, but in general it’s a light touch and shouldn’t hurt.  The lymph is just below the surface of the skin and doesn’t need much to be activated.  FYI though, its normal to develop some temporary redness (5-15 min), especially when first starting. 

Be gentle around your lady parts, but don’t be afraid to brush where your leg meets your body as well as thoroughly in your armpits and around your breasts (avoiding the nips).  These are very key lymph areas for women and brushing here may even reduce your risk for cancer. 

It’s wonderful to make dry brushing a daily ritual, but if your routine is already tightly timed or if your schedule is constantly changing like mine, you’ll still see benefits with just once a week.