Monthly Archives: May 2014

The beauty in Lent

Lent always sneaks up on me and I usually spend the first week thinking of something to give up. This year it wasn’t Facebook, sweets or coffee. It wasn’t like that at all, actually. It was a lot harder. It was giving up my idea of beauty. You see, my definition of beauty has been shaped by the media, society, and unrealistic expectations.  Throw that into a pot and mix it with my judgmental, prideful, yet insecure heart and it’s now a habit of subconsciously comparing and criticizing other women’s appearances.  This of course happens most on the metro. Nobody likes the metro and no one likes anyone else on the metro, especially during rush hour.  It’s crowded and there are six people touching you at all times.  This loss of personal space also means a lack of filter for how I feel about these people.

Lent was the period of time that I realized how ugly my heart could be and so this became my 40 day challenge of finding women on the metro beautiful.  It’d start with me catching myself wanting to compare myself to someone. Then it’d turn into “She is a child of God. She was made by the Creator of all things. She is really beautiful. I wonder if she believes that”.

40 days of standing on the metro and repeating this to myself not only changed the way I viewed the metro, rush hour and Parisian women, it changed how I view myself. Now it’s a daily reminder that is quickly redefining and revolutionizing my once weak idea of beauty.

You are a child of God.

You were made by the Creator of all things.

You are really beautiful.

I wonder if you believe that.

I really hope you do.

Change of Seasons

I have a lot of expectations for my time in Paris. Whether it’s different museums I should see, places I should go, or just all of the history to take in, there is a to-do list I feel needs to be accomplished. However, it’s been getting warmer in Paris, so my motivation to do anything more than sit in the gardens every afternoon is very little. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing– buying a baguette and some cheese and spending endless hours people watching.
Random parks. No agenda. Just peace.
Half of me lives for taking in the beauty of these warm and sunny days, never wanting to leave that place of happiness; however, the other half of me feels unproductive and as if I am missing out on the bigger things in Paris.  Maybe it’s the Wheatie in me or maybe it’s the fear of not checking things off my bucket list that binds me to a tight schedule of seeing and doing.
This is one of the biggest lessons I’m trying to learn right now– living life without an agenda, without a need to feel successful or accomplished. Learning to enjoy each day and what it brings me.

While this is still a work in progress, the times I have spent countless hours in parks have been rejuvenating, relaxing, and without a doubt, most needed.

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