MEDITATION BECOMING A CARTOGRAPHER
To plot out your map, you will need some tools and resources to assist you in surveying, analyzing, and making a connection to the lay of the land. I’ve included several exercises that will serve as tools to support you as you plot out your practice by season, each of which is represented by a tree. Trees have roots and serve as a great reminder of the truth “As above so below, and so below as above.” Treat, heal, and purify the deep roots below, and the health of the roots will be apparent above. You will identify the knowledge you will need to access each season to help you attain the optimum level of health and beauty, and plot it on the tree and in the surrounding landscape.
The tree represents a present state of mind. Because we are often plagued by issues from our past and concerns and worries about the future, there is space around the tree to identify those challenges as well so you can face them and transform them Your Slow Beauty map is a representation of your personal beauty standard, where you are, and where you want to be. You will create an embodied map a map based on the qualities you would like to integrate and express, the feelings and thoughts you choose to think and feel, and the rituals and recipes you choose to integrate into your life. Mapping all of this out will philosophically and purposefully root you in your Slow Beauty practice.
MEDITATION BECOMING A CARTOGRAPHER Photo Gallery
The Slow Beauty philosophy is multifaceted. To begin, zero in on the top three ideas that stand out for you from the Philosophy section (see here). These will serve as your three Imperatives as you plot out your map. Write them down in the illustration of each of the trees to remind you what your Slow Beauty goals are for each season. It’s likely these imperatives will vary a bit from season to season, and that’s good. Seasons change, and so should your imperatives. To help you hone in on the three Imperatives each season, ask yourself this question: “What do I need?” Use the Growing Young needs (see here) as a guideline to hone in on your necessities for each season.
SELECT YOUR RECIPES AND RITUALS
Identify the self-care recipes and rituals that you would like to try. These can include those found in this blog, they may be rituals and recipes that you are already incorporating into your life, or those that you have been wanting to try out. These are the strategies you will be enacting to support the actualization of your three Imperatives.
CREATE YOUR ACTION PLAN
Using that list of recipes and rituals you selected, apply those that you will be using in a specific season to their corresponding tree. This is the tactical portion of Slow Beauty mapping your specific action plan for each season.
You will need some tools for your journey, so I’ve provided a tool kit on the following pages for you to unpack prior to mapping. You may find that some of these approaches and exercises illuminate your mapping process and make your journey more fulfilling. Identify the tools that speak to you and include them in your mapping.
KEEP ON MAPPING!
As you begin to put your Slow Beauty practice into action using the maps you have created for each season, use the seasonal pages to write down your thoughts, ideas, tools, rituals, recipes, and anything else that comes to mind. Build upon the recipes and rituals you are utilizing. Make them your own, and take time to reflect on the process of your practice. To help you chart, connect with, understand, and measure your progress, refer back to Abraham Maslow’s signs of self-actualization (here). These will serve as signposts that the work you’re doing is actually working. Also, be sure to document your thoughts and feelings as they arise. What are you thinking and feeling throughout this process? What’s working for you? What isn’t? Where are obstacles showing up? What feels easy and natural? What feels challenging and uncomfortable? Let it all happen and acknowledge it all as it happens. Reflect on it and reflect on it some more. Fine tune. Refine.
AMELIA EARHART: MAPPING HER OWN COURSE
I’ve always been intrigued by Amelia Earhart, a woman of great courage who pursued her dreams by taking flight. In particular, I have always been fascinated by the mystery that surrounds her last voyage, from which she never returned. Until recently, this mystery remained unsolved. It was believed that Earhart had died in a plane crash somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. However, after years of investigation, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery recently revealed a new theory that Earhart actually died as a heroic castaway on the island Nikumaroro, Kiribati, where she safely landed her plane.
Amelia Earhart serves as an icon for charting her own course, pursuing dreams, taking flight, bravery, tenacity, and the unconventional. It is for all of these reasons that she has always intrigued me. In her profession as a pilot, Earhart followed maps to get from one place to another. Moreover, as the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic, she mapped out her own unique place in the world. Her story is rich with symbolism, as is each of ours.
Unfortunately, also like Earhart, sometimes we all go missing. In what ways have you gone missing in your life? And in what ways will you identify and reclaim those missing pieces of yourself and bring them home?
In spite of all of the progress we have made, women, especially, have the tendency to go missing. We find ourself apologizing for our needs, for who we are, pleading for time for ourself, for time to pursue our dreams, for justice. We need to find a way to strike a balance. To harness equilibrium.
All of the needs identified by Ashley Montagu have so much resonance. These needs, our needs, our birthright, are the touchstones necessary to make our way back so that we don’t die a castaway on some deserted island within. We go missing when we don’t have a clear vision of what we need. We make compromises when we lack clarity. I know I’ve been lost along the way. I’ve deferred often to the pressures and demands of this systemic culture, to my parents’ expectations, to the circumstances of my life, to poor decisions I’ve made. I’ve compromised too much. I haven’t felt confident enough to express my needs sometimes I haven’t even known I had needs!
We women go missing when our most natural self goes missing, and is grown over with the weeds of the unbalanced, patriarchal culture in which we are planted. And then when we have a satori moment, when we realize “Hey, where am I?” and it dawns on us that we have misplaced our self somewhere. It is then that we turn into seekers, and can seek our true self with a tenacity, resolve, and strength of purpose like no other. Once you are in true partnership with yourself, there is no need to return ever again because you are already there.
My heartfelt thanks to the Running Press team: Cindy De La Hoz, Kristin Kiser, Susan Van Horn, Katie Hubbard, Seta Zink, and Amber Morris, all of whom are an absolute dream to work with. So much gratitude to Coleen O’ Shea who, over the course of over many years, patiently encouraged me to write this blog, and to Nikki Van Noy, who made the process seamless, painless, and joyful. Thank you also to Amy Stanton for believing in me.
To my husband, Ran, and my children, Xandi and Olivia, who gave me the space and love to write this blog, and make a lifelong dream come true. I am grateful to my dear friends for their kindness and understanding.
To my mom for her steadfast presence, my brother who always makes me laugh, and to my dad for being my dad.
And to life all of it.