"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey

Beauty Redefined ~

What makes me feel beautiful and empowered?

I’ve been reflecting on that a lot lately, and not in a “state the parts of your body you love” kind-of-way, but in a genuine, fully encompassing, LOVE for myself. We are constantly bombarded with images that remind us to be this, and be that, and breathe this in, and that out, and focus on this, but absolutely never on that. Some mental and spiritual affirmation exercises focus on empowering ourselves to have faith and self-appreciation for our abilities, accomplishments and even our bodies. I am all for this. But at the end of the day, affirmations complete, head on our pillows, if we continues to accept that beauty is on a spectrum, can we truly overcome self-doubt and love our bodies? I think we need to redefine beauty, in our own terms.

Here’s what works for me –

The less I “doll myself up” and the more I “get in the dirt,” the more beautiful and strong I feel. The sweatier, the better. The further from town, the better. TRULY. Conventional beauty tells us that there is a spectrum from ugly to beautiful, and you and I are placed on said spectrum. How horrifying and disempowering! Traditionally, beauty is make-up and fashion and slim bodies! Beauty is femininity and yoga pants and instagram!

But back to what makes me feel beautiful. Beauty, for me, is moving my body in a way that makes me feel unbelievably CAPABLE. What if beauty is connecting to nature – savouring the sun on my skin, or the chill running up my leg from a dipped toe in an alpine lake? Maybe not your kind of “beautiful,” but I dare you to give it a try.

I’m not exempt from this societal view of beauty. I often find my mind going back to wanting to be skinnier, or prettier, or trendier…but it’s been happening less and less. When I eat healthy and move my body, I feel like a frickin goddess!

When I smear my way up a rock-face, I am gorgeous – face streaked with chalk and dirt, nails filed by the granite rock, cuticles bleeding, hair whipping around in the wind, and skin glistening with sweat. I’m not worried about what my body looks like. I FEEL incredible.

No one is watching me perform, and yet here I am putting on the best performance of my life, for no one but myself. I move because it makes me feel good. And I do it…again, and again. THAT’S loving myself. THAT’S loving my body. THAT’S embracing my beauty. When I see how capable I am – physically, artistically, and even spiritually – I feel beautiful.

I am outside.
The sun is shining.
I am moving.
I am free.

I am beautiful.

And so are you, wild, adventurous friend.