Behind The Eyes

by Julie on December 8, 2010 · 17 comments

Beauty appears when something is completely and absolutely and openly itself. ~Deena Metzger

Reverb10 Day 08 – Beautifully Different.
Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

::

I tend to not like to compare myself to others. I used to do it often. I found it never brought me much peace of mind – in fact, it brought me the opposite.

So, today’s prompt stirred something up inside me about being different and how that ties into being beautiful. I prefer to look at being beautiful from the quote I shared by Deena Metzger – that beauty appears when we are being completely and absolutely self.

We are all different from each other, yet I can’t tell you how I’m different from you. I can be different in the things I do, the places I’ve gone, the life I’ve lived. These are measurable things we can see from the outside. They tell me nothing about who and how and what you really are, nor do they tell you about me.

I only know how I am. Any comparison would simply be either comparing myself to what I think the ‘norm’ is, or what I think makes you You. And, again, I don’t think conjecture helps me to know what makes me beautiful.

Yesterday, I had a beautiful twitter love fest with some of my favorite tweeps. What they shared with me shed some light on how they see me and what it is I do that lights them up. So, I do know others see me in a certain way.

I also know it doesn’t serve anyone to hide our light, our brilliance, our heart. When we don’t try to hide ourselves, when we are simply what we are, our beauty appears.

::

What I love.

When I am really being me, I can range from being totally silly to totally serious. I do like to wax on about serious things.

I love the esoteric. I love math. I love touch.

I love devotion, and being devotional to the Source of Life. When I am, I’m filled with a love so radiant, I feel totally and completely full. Nothing is needed or wanted.

I love to dance. Hard and long. I dance the 5Rhythms. Two hours with 150 people dancing at our max…in silence. Heaven.

I love beauty, and creating beauty.

I love working out really hard, where my body gets completely heated up. I can feel the toxins releasing, the muscles relaxing, the sweat cleaning me out from within.

I love to love people, you know, the kind of love where you find you appreciate everything about them because it is who and what they are.

::

Somewhat of a rebel.

My life has been pretty unusual, far from the ‘norm’ of this culture.

I attended Stanford as a non-traditional transfer student. I was 42 when I entered as a Junior. I stayed three years, so I could go to Florence to study. While I was in school, my first grandchild was born. I was the first grandmother to graduate with an undergraduate degree from my department.

While I was there, I was involved with other transfer students. We put on orientations for others in the same situation. One day I was speaking to a young woman, another student. She was all of 23. She was asking me all about my life, and I was sharing. I mentioned something about my life being really different. I think she could sense my reticence about that, and she said something to me that I’ve never forgotten.

She said, “There’s more than one way to do life.”

What a brilliant statement. Somehow, the words she shared allowed me to settle into the differences between my life and those of the majority of the undergrads there. Her words invited me to drop the feeling of being so different simply because my life had taken a different trajectory than most.

Her statement also points to doing vs. being. We can see things about people from what they do and how they live their lives. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to really know someone, especially if they’re reluctant to be real, to be truly themselves. Most of us try to be something other than what we are, because we learned at a young age what we were wasn’t enough.

When one is willing to allow their radiance to shine, to be wholly themselves, we begin to catch a glimpse of the brilliance, the luminosity that lies behind their eyes.

::

It’s Serious Love.

I have a story to share with you about coming to know my beautiful self.

A few weeks ago, I had a photo shoot with one hot photographer, Siddiqi Ray. I mean, look at her art. Really.

Siddiqi loves your pictures right out of you. It’s serious love.

According to her site, I’m one of her perfect clients because I hate(d) having my picture taken. I can now add the ‘d’ because with Siddiqi, I loved having my picture taken. For anyone who really knows me, they know what a transformation that is.

Siddiqi came up to San Francisco for an afternoon for client shoots. She brought the most amazing make-up and hair artist with her. This woman made me up and did my hair in a way that I felt adorned and adored, rather than being made up to hide my flaws. Big difference.

Then, after I had been adorned and adored, Siddiqi began to take pictures. After a few shots, she sat down across from me and proceeded to do a soul reading. This was not your average reading, because where she took me, as she spoke softly and clearly about what she saw, was straight to that which is clearly and deeply me.

by Siddiqi Ray

by Siddiqi Ray

Straight to my soul.

Bammo.

I dropped right down into this place of complete knowingness and serenity.

She spoke of what I am her to do, and it was directly in line with what I know.

THEN, she took my picture. And she captured me, from deep within my eyes.

Bam.

Boom.

Dropped down in.

The eyes don’t lie. To me, this is beauty. Not in how we’ve been taught to see it, but rather because it captures me, so completely, so totally. I don’t have to tell you things about me, you can see into me, into a place where we know each other completely and utterly.

For being someone who hate(d) having her picture taken, I didn’t even have to really stretch to take this in, because they did it with such integrity and truth.

One thing I know about me is that I have a vision. When she took this picture, Siddiqi was sharing how she saw me and I was clearly standing in the vision I’ve been shown.

We can try to tell each other about who we are, but words can never really capture the depth of what can be seen behind the eyes.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Square-Peg Karen December 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

What an incredible experience the photo shoot sounds like! And Julie, your self IS soooo beautiful – so very beautiful. Eyes don’t lie!!

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Kathy December 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

oh yes, beautiful soul – this is my all time favorite of ANY picture I’ve EVER seen of you. So REAL. I also dislike having my picture taken. No that’s not true, I like it, but I always “strike the same pose” – you know? Would love to have this same experience.

Mostly happy for you to receive the gift of seeing yourself in this way from the outside now, as well as from the in. xxoo

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Lindsey December 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Your beauty and wisdom shines out of your eyes – I’ll give Siddiqi and her makeup/hair artists some credit, but most of it is just plain YOU. You are such an inspiration … you make me feel an ache deep down in my heart to be more authentic, more real, more true. Thank you. xo

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wholly jeanne December 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

i like what you say about comparisons. that’s one thing that’s bothered me today as i read through hundreds of blogs – people compare themselves to others. as you so wisely point out, that serves nobody. we have to teach people how to treat us, how to see us, and we start by seeing the beauty in ourselves. the stand-alone beauty in ourselves.

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Beth December 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

This is exquisite. Truly. Also, you gave me a twinge of hope for my own future. I had to give up school to be a mom and to work full time. I’ll be 42 when my youngest graduates from high school. ;) Back to university for me.
P.S. I adore the name of your blog.

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bahiehk December 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm

thanks for this…

the picture by Siddiq is absolutely stunning.

those eyes. those eyes.

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AlaskaTeacher December 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I LOVE the Deena Metzger quote. It’s my new favorite quote about beauty, and finding it was serendipitously timed. Thank you!

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Amy Palko December 9, 2010 at 4:25 am

I remember when you updated your twitter avatar with this gorgeous photograph – it was like you leapt out the screen. It has so much of your beautiful presence – I just love it.

I was actually just talking to my husband the other night there about the difference between true beauty and cultural aesthetics. To me, true beauty is when we are brave enough to peel back our layers and are willing to be vulnerable – there the truth of who we are shines through, and that is beautiful.

Aesthetics, on the other hand, is what we’ve been conditioned to believe is beautiful, and so much of this is wrapped up in gender politics and hierarchies of cultural capital. It’s engineered to promote a certain belief that the infantilisation of femininity is desirable, rather than full-hearted, embodied womanhood.

However, I sense I’m getting on my high horse here, so I’ll stop. But once again, your words have broken open my heart, and for that, and so much more, thank you.

Amy
xx

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Amanda December 9, 2010 at 5:26 am

This is SO lovely. The last line really gets me. In thinking about it, though, I realized… it’s an unexpected sentiment for a writer and blogger! I absolutely understand what you mean by ‘behind the eyes’ versus ‘words about’ and yet…so many of us in Reverb 10 are connecting precisely via WORDS. Maybe the key is to use words to show what’s ‘behind the eyes’…?

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Renae C. December 9, 2010 at 6:30 am

What a beautiful experience. I’m glad you let yourself be seen.

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Alicia December 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

Your photo is beautiful and raw. I am inspired by the quote you referenced from your days touring student “There’s more than one way to do life.” So true.

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mrs mediocrity December 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

wow. the beauty of your soul, captured right there on camera.

this was an amazing piece, loved every sentence. you are, indeed, unabashedly beautiful.

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mark December 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm

“I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

That also sums up your life path, by doing your life in a less conformist way. Would tend to agree that comparing with others is a fruitless exercise, yet we all do it to some extent or another. I long for the point in life when I no longer care so much.

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Fabeku Fatunmise December 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I loved this. Every word… deelish!

But this?

When one is willing to allow their radiance to shine, to be wholly themselves, we begin to catch a glimpse of the brilliance, the luminosity that lies behind their eyes.

Chills. Because it’s so totally true.

Thanks for rocking the luminosity so clearly + so fabulously.

And that picture? Amazing.

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Amy Oscar December 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

You are absolutely beautiful. (But I knew that.) And I love this post. It’s so simple – and I need that tonight, when I’m weary of reading all this beautiful output from so many bloggers. I don’t want to be weary of beauty. And I came here, and it was like drinking from a well. And Im no longer weary.

I wanted, though, to remark on one thing you wrote: “Siddiqi was sharing how she saw me and I was clearly standing in the vision I’ve been shown.” I love this, I love the way that we reflect each other back to the self. I love that we can SEE one another and in doing so, hold the space for someone to step into their own truth, their own vision. Beautiful post.

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Marjory December 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Julie,
it amazes me how we can tap into the truth of a soul, its mission and beauty all streaming through the eyes portal. Your post struck a chord in my heart, a deep one.
I love this story.Thank you. My eyes and my heart say it. You are BEAUTIFUL.

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