Why You Should Picture Yourself Through Your Best Friend’s Eyes

What if you could see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you?

That “someone who loves you” would notice the particular way you gaze out the window when you’re pondering something big and heavy, or the adorable way you furrow your eyebrows when you’re concerned.

They would notice how the light catches the ring of color around your iris, momentarily causing it to glint like a candle being lit by a match.

They would fall a little bit more in love with you each time they saw that smile you get when you’re really excited about something, and little wrinkles crinkle like origami art at the corner of your eyes.

Your mistakes would just be a part of the beautiful whole that makes up the essence of you; they wouldn’t be seen as nearly as ugly as you imagine them to be.

Now, what do you see when you look at you?

How many of us miss the details that are undeniably lovable about ourselves because we’re too busy picking at our flaws, ignoring all the rest that is valuable and good and worthy?

“It doesn’t make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don’t really see ourselves. We don’t watch ourselves sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with chests rising and falling with our own rhythm.

We don’t see ourselves reading a book, eyes fluttering and glowing. You don’t see yourself looking at someone with love and care inside your heart.

There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing and smiling and happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly yourself.

-Author unknown

You are more lovely than you know.

You are lovelier than you know.

Surrender

Soft light. The kind that drapes across skin and wood and eyelashes like vintage lace, delicate, and faded white. It fills the room and nudges our skin, causing a healthy rose-colored glow. I’m here to do yoga, but more so, to remember my body and what it feels like to be present inside of it.

Blonde hair cascades down the arc of her head and leaps into the easy arms of gravity pooling below. The waterfall of hair hangs frozen in the air with the tips just barely grazing the purple yoga mat underneath. Her legs form a triangle with the mat as its base. With a single movement, her hamstrings tighten, pulling her pelvis toward the back of the room, while her torso melts forward over the fold of her hips. Two delicate wrists lay crossed over one another a few inches in front of her face. Her upturned palms look like faces gazing at the sunlight-bathed ceiling.

We breathe.

Let the thoughts fall, the voices tumble out, the tight spots stretch, the heavy heart sink to mother earth. Surrender. You are held here. You are safe. Nowhere else to be, nothing else to do.

We breathe.

I glance at her hands again, open to the world, and feel the calm emanate from her body — emanate from my own — and I want, for just one moment in time, everyone on this earth to experience that sort of bliss, that sort of surrender. It’s a powerful feeling.

Waterfall

Putting on my Now Shoes in Southern Germany

I left Steinbach, Germany with ashes blowing in my face. There were the ashes of the past and what used to be, and there were the literal ashes from the cigarettes Sebastian and his girlfriend were smoking in the front seat as we careened down the autobahn toward Frankfurt at 120 mph. When you are travelling at such a speed, there isn’t much time to waste. Every time I was a passenger, I did my best thinking, not knowing if I would walk away alive. I have to say, I don’t like moving through the world that quickly. I would rather walk at a pace slow enough to notice the details. But, oddly enough, I worked through a lot of emotional details in my heart while sitting in the backseat on the autobahn.

Little white flakes floated on the wind to cling to my dark hair. I guess that’s what happens when you light a spark and let it burn. One way or another, you are left with the ashes, the memories. At the train station, we said goodbye and I shook out my hair.  I glanced at my feet. Two white sneakers poking out from beneath my denim jeans, a big ‘N’ scrawled on the side of each shoe. My “Now shoes,” I thought to myself with a smile. Time to be here now and let go of the past.

In the days before, we went to one of the oldest cities in Germany that survived the war, Bamberg. We also went to a local county fair in Bavaria where everyone stood on the tables to dance and clap in unison to folk songs. There were teenagers in red converse shoes and the traditional Bavarian dress with the poofy sleeves and lace-up bodice. The young men wore leather trousers with suspenders. I tasted currywurst and local wine. we brought two of Sebastian’s friends home with us to extend the party into the early morning.

Driving home, I felt like my brain might explode. Blaring German punk music throbbed in my ears, while Sebastian drummed with his drumsticks on the front dashboard. We were zooming around curves with deathly cliff drops below at a speed i couldn’t decipher. The cigarette smoke soaked into my clothes and my hair. Matthias in the backseat kept trying to ask me questions, yelling over the music. The German and English language began to blur together into a confusing babble i couldnt understand. We had been going hard non-stop for days: hiking, exploring, driving, drinking, sight seeing. I was so exhausted, my eyelids felt like they were made of lead. At one point, i lost my cool. Sebastian kept asking me if i remembered historical facts and names of places and music artists we had discussed in the previous days, and i was so overstimulated and exhausted, i told him to stop asking me to remember things. I have a hard enough time remembering English names and facts, let alone names in another language i have never spoken. That’s when i realized, i was experiencing the side effects of culture shock. It was impossible to understand the conversation Sebastian and his friends were having. I couldnt communicate when i wanted to, unless the other person spoke English. There were other nuances and cultural differences I couldn’t fully grasp. Often, I didn’t know what we were doing. We would just pile into the car and I would surrender to trust, watching what everyone else did when we stopped somewhere. For example, are we stopping to grab something at someone’s house, or should I bring my bag in if we are staying? These misunderstandings happened constantly and I had to have a sense of humor to keep up a positive attitude.

On my last evening, we hopped a fence to cross a bridge over a wide section of river. It was closed for construction, but I followed the others, even though I knew it was a bad idea. Thankfully, they decided they didn’t want to have a “dead American tourist on their hands” and we turned back.

After Steinbach, I took a train to Berlin, where I fell in love with the world all over again. My next post will be about all I experienced there.

Xoxo