Beauty - Life Expressing Itself
Beauty, as it is used in this magnet, catalyzes the qualitative experience of feeling enriched or bringing pleasure to one’s senses, mind, and/or spirit. The story of this magnet is revealed in the findings below. It was added after the other magnets were complete and the picture of the whole emerged. The process of growth is the process of creation. Stepping back away from the whole, I hold the stories with my awareness of their beauty - the qualitative experience of life expressing itself. As I reflected on our discussions over the course of the research, one particular story stood out.
Christy began her story by reading a favorite poem by Rumi. She asked that her story given the same title as the poem, “Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do. ” Having been deeply moved by the poem and its connection to her story, I thought, “Sure, sounds good. ” I let it go and went back to my analysis.
Now, here lam at the end of my analysis, and everything that has most resonated for me has been included. Except one thing: Where does beauty fit? Beauty was discussed in relation to power, sexual abuse and safety, so at first I put it in the power magnet; I felt that exploiting or demeaning one's beauty is a misuse of power, and that one’s authentic expression of Self or dominion is often recognized as beauty. However, as I worked with the power magnet, the beauty piece always felt like a leftover. I dabbled with forcing it back in, because I had the rationale for including it, and I felt its potency in my body.
“Oh, but then again, there’s also a painfully exquisite beauty in the differentiation process. Yes, it should go there, ” I decided in a moment of triumph. But again, as with power it was always the last leftover piece.
About the same time I was finalizing the findings in the power magnet, all the rest of the remaining pieces of the magnets merged together, so that what emerged was a sense of the whole. I describe this experience in the Theory section of Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusion; one product of the experience was a diagram which, as I worked with it, reflected this feeling of completion. It was nuanced and detailed enough for a sensual feeling of rightness and satiation in my body, and simple enough to clearly communicate the complex process in a digestible form. As I wrote my final reflection on the process I had just outlined, I realized in a moment of vivid awareness that I was looking at the whole of the creative process in my diagram (included in Chapter 5). The word “beauty ” immediately rose to mind. In an instant I realized that beauty needed its own magnet and a capitalized first letter. I came to see the see that beauty can't be seen up close at the level of power; one must take a step back and see the whole. Like a panorama or a sunset, one must get some distance to see the details blend for a sense of the whole. I had needed to stand back to perceive the profound beauty in the process of growth. Finally Beauty had a place and became it own magnet.
The following discussion of Christy’s story first seemed to belong with the magnet, Call to Differentiate. However, Rose and the co-researchers pointed out the nuances that made this example so poignantly beautiful. More than just revealing the “product” of the process of differentiation, Christy’s journey, through Christy herself, reveals the beauty of the process of life.
After reciting the Rumi poem and introducing the items on her altar, Christy began her story thus:
Christy: I was born with birth defects. I’ve got to tell you that phrase has damaged so much inside. What is it to be defective from birth?
If you read Christy’s story [see Appendix K], which I hope you do, you will discover that she has had many more emotionally and physically disfiguring experiences than any one person should have to bear in a lifetime. A woman living with her physical realities and the emotional reality of being labeled defective from birth must, like all women eventually, define beauty on her own terms. As one of the elders in our group, Christy taught us a great deal about defining our own beauty. That is the true irony of the powerful beauty of her life.
Like the beauty of Christy's story, Rose's comments stand on their own. Therefore, there will be no discussion following these findings.
Rose: I’m not sure if I’m resonating with this or if I just feel so moved by it. Your story. The whole journey, with all of the health issues and then sort of being scapegoated in your family because of it. All the hardship around all of that and yet the incredible spirit that is beautiful and has flourished in spite of or even because of it. I was wondering, at times when you were talking about all the difficulties, even as such a young child, if that had everything to do with the mystic that you have become. The deep connection and understanding that you have that is well beyond most people.
Christy: I think you’re right in the sense of I’ve become exactly who I am because of all those things. While I wouldn’t wish sexual abuse on anybody, it’s also that which has spurred me to do something different in my life. To take it consciously and work with it and somehow shift it, change it.
Rose: It makes me think of your little story about “I will find beauty” you know. Having been dumped on and abused or whatever. Then here you are coming out playing the harp! What kind of image is that? It’s the power of the spirit to survive and thrive. It’s beautiful.
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