1. Having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.
Well, that really did not satisfy what I was looking for. I simply can read a great deal more into the word qualities. I think each one of us would have our own list of qualities that qualify as beautiful. Then there is the age piece. What I thought was beautiful at 20 is not maybe the same as I think now at 40. However I think it is a powerful question. Giving the society we live in today and attempting to raise 3 socially conscious girls that will sometime soon be women, what is beautiful?
To sound like a complete flower child I would start off by saying nature is beautiful in a breathtaking, stop me in my tracks way. The sunrises and sunsets that I am afraid to tackle when I paint. A valley filled with wildflowers that seem to dance to the wind as it sings to each bud as it goes by. That is true beauty to me. Birds flying and soaring through the sky or a butterfly silently flapping its beautiful wings as it sits on a flower. If I told this to my girls they may stop and think for a millisecond, sure…. than back to fixing hair and makeup in the bathroom mirror. Not that I can judge them, I was that teenager not too long ago. I understand trying to achieve the ideal of being beautiful, what society and the media states is beautiful. But at what cost? How far will we go to be beautiful? I think pretty far.
This is what I have learned recently. I goggled harmful chemicals in skin care products… 1,760,000 results. Are you kidding me? Anyone that can read and has access to the Internet can do his or her own mini research. We have all the information we need to know about what is harmful for us. It truly is all there. Yet we continue to feed our ego with products that are harmful to our bodies for the sake of looking better. The Beauty Industry is said to be about a $69,000,000 industry. That means a lot of people are making a great deal of money selling products that are harmful to our health. That is staggering, don’t you think?
I learned that there is no law what constitutes something labeled Natural… “In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled “natural.” The term “natural” on skin care or food products is an unregulated term and does not mean a thing. Many of the synthetic items that are put into the products for skin care are actually carcinogenic and eventually build in your body until you get cancer and diseases in the later years…
I started reading labels on everything; my cleaning products, my food and yes my skincare products. I realized it wasn’t so much if I was buying natural for my family but buying organic. I switched all my cleaning products over four years ago to help with reducing my allergy symptoms while at the same time reducing chemicals that will be put back into the environment. I feel even if my allergies don’t subside it is better for the planet. I did the same thing with my food. I try to buy organic when it is available and affordable which does not always go together so sometimes I have to pick and choose very carefully my produce, meats and dairy products. I knew all this and was happily living in, what I felt was, a healthy home. Yet, I seemed to have forgotten something…. I loved those gel manicures, Brazilian blowouts and smelly body lotions as much as everyone else. I mean sometimes I can wait over a week to get a manicure appointment. The salons are BUSY! With all their hairspray, hair dye, Brazilian blow outs and manicures that guarantee the polish stays on for life, and I mean life unless some sort of sandpaper is used and I am still not sure that will take it off. Is it hard to imagine that I really did not think about how much my skin, my nails; my body absorbs the products that I put on and use. I knew very well about what I put in it and what I clean with because I don’t want to inhale something toxic but hey lets slather it all over on my body because it promises I will look younger, glowing, thinner and smell good all at the same time. There was a real disconnect happening here. You can bet if it was happening with me than it was certainly happening with my children.
One of my daughters that shall remain nameless, out of fear that she will get me while I sleep, was having a small acne problem. Not all over her face but enough to cover her forehead with blemishes that looked like they were painful not only to look at but also to deal with when attempting to survive a suburban middle school as a teenage girl. As the great parent that I am, I purchased acne products that can be bought through a Dermatologist at a very exuberant high cost. After using these products for a while her face was clearing up…or it could have been that it was “ripping the skin right off my face,” as she eloquently put it. Hmmm I wondered what could be in it…. Well, I won’t bore you with a list of ingredients that could rip skin off her face or yours for that matter because quite honestly I think you can figure that out, lets just say I told her to stop using it. She responded with, “I already have.”
This brings me to my journey of Pangea Organic products. No, this is not a big infomercial…it’s an I wish someone told me this a long time ago mercial. I found Pangea a few years ago and started buying their Body Oil. I was hooked from the moment that oil hit my bath water and I smelled the calming lavender after an event filled day with three almost teenage daughters at the time. I never knew a skincare product that was organic and good for you could honestly make my skin feel so smooth and really smell good at the same time. You know those organic products that smell of dirt and a little more dirt… Not Pangea. I immediately went back to the website and ordered body lotion, shower gel and more body oil. Could this really be true? Everything smelled wonderful, nothing greasy and my skin was only absorbing ingredients that if I really wanted to, which I did not, I could eat. So…I returned to that website that now was saved on my browser and added the hand soap to the other list of ingredients that I was continuously purchasing. These add on items every time I ordered continued on for a few more years. I was happily moisturizing and smelling good, it was my bliss. Then Pangea emailed me…. would I be interested…. Beauty Ecologists…. selling Pangea Organics to friends and family…. have a facebook page…. get your products discounted…. WHAT!? I can get my products discounted…I can get that yummy Body Oil at a discount? It was to good to be true. Lets just say I didn’t think twice about signing up to be an Independent Beauty Ecologist for Pangea Organics. With that I would just like to say that I have added the hand and eye cream to a long list of products that I HAVE to use.
So here is where my journey is not ending but only beginning. I have come full circle. I am not only treating my body well on the inside but now on the outside too. I am happily using organic and mostly vegan products to help me define what beautiful is without smelling like dirt…. I smell really good. I am not afraid that the cream that I put on my face in the morning and at night will somehow be the blame for not only how young I look but helped cause cancer going through my body. I love that I can sit down with friends at their house or mine and share my passion of using healthy skincare and helping them choose their favorite Pangea product. I love knowing that I am teaching my daughters, who will inherit the earth after I am long gone with their children, to have a better understanding on how to love our bodies, our planet and one another by the conscious decisions we make everyday with the products we purchase and use. And Yes my lovely, beautiful, teenage daughter is now using her Pangea Organics skincare to keep those blemishes away without ripping her skin off.
I would love if after you read this blog you said I am ordering Pangea Organics from now on. But really, if this just stops you and makes you think. Really think and then you stop and look into what you are using on yourself, your family, in your household than that would be good enough. Real, true change can only start with small steps forward…not backwards but forward. What will your forward steps be today? I know what mine will be. When I am done here I have a very important date with this great smelling body oil….
If I close my eyes gently I can still see her. Her smile lit inside of me a feeling of love and trust. She was the one constant, strong and honest person in my life. I knew if I felt scared, hopeless or in danger, I could go stay at my grandmother’s house. I am not sure if her house was similar to any other grandmothers in the 1970-1980’s but I have always felt it wasn’t. She was not the typical grandmother of those years. Sometimes it seemed as if God preserved her in a time warp for me so I could have some home grown old fashion goodness instilled in my spirit.
Growing up in those years felt like things moved fast, she didn’t. We had old fashioned, family, Sunday dinners. There were family games played outside and many hours helping her in the kitchen. If she needed something at the store…we walked. She didn’t have a driver’s license and didn’t want it. She wore knees highs or tights everyday because that is what a proper lady wore. She wasn’t a woman of leisure or means but she was a woman of integrity, decency and goodness. Her qualities extended to family, friends, neighbors and yes, strangers. Really, she never saw a human as a stranger. They were someone she just didn’t get a chance to meet yet. She smiled and talked to everyone and they all smiled and responded back matching her kindness.
There wasn’t any toys, money, or any of the little extras around her house. I don’t even think she had a Grandmother’s rocking chair to hold her grandchildren in. I didn’t see any of that or need it with her. I saw her life full of love, hard work and joy to have her family around. There were hardships behind her smiling eyes but they were lessons she taught me silently, without words. She taught me with the touch of her hand on my hand, warm caring eyes as she looked at me her eyes seem to say… it will all work out in the end, don’t worry. I did worry though. I worried a lot. I was the kid with anxiety, stomach aches and some aches I can’t quite categorize even now with my adult vocabulary. She knew though, she always did. She would just sit me down and feed me. No real words of wisdom, just language of love through her labor. She understood and knew pain and heartache more than anyone. She buried two sons and a grandson. In her later years she buried her husband too. I never saw her break but I am sure she must have wanted to at times. I witnessed her family torn apart and put back together through the years but again she did not stumble or waiver. She guided each one of us as she went. It was our choice to listen and follow though she never used force. There were a few times, however, when I was really young she threatened me with the wooden spoon but I digress…
As her Birthday approaches next week I find myself thinking of her more. Not a day goes by that my strong Italian grandmother does not somehow influence me. I keep her with me through her recipes in my kitchen and through my oldest daughter Carina Rose who proudly shares her name. I have planted her a tree in my yard and many times through the year I am under it silently speaking to her still. I will always be thankful to the simple, happy, good and kindhearted woman named Rosina for helping my parents shape me and mold me to the woman I am today. Her heart is my heart and her spirit is the fire that burns bright inside of me. If you see me and experience my light in this world just know that is a light that has burned over generations. I hope my own future granddaughters will continue to be the torchbearers of Rosina’s light.
I am not even sure how to eat. I never had a problem with that, though others might say, “She was always a picky eater.” Can I really ingest animal products ever again? Well, maybe a turkey meatball or chicken cutlet would be fine but I have no desire to have it right now… sorry Mom!
My mind is buzzing with all this information but it’s floating in circles without processing anything. It’s a borderline headache, heartache and any other ache I could come up with. Sure that goes over well, sorry I am unable to function today because I have been staying in isolation with ten other strangers in Montana who, by the way, are my new family. Even though you really are my family and I am home and I am happy to be home, I just can’t function. Maybe it was the plane rides, time change or just the really friendly guy that tried to talk to me the whole time on the plane when I just wanted to sleep.
Really I am not asking for sympathy, empathy or anything else with athy attached to it. I have downed 6 cups of the Woman’s tea blend that I brought home, which is supposed to help with hormones. That could explain the light headiness, but to no avail I am useless. Maybe I should head over to the Coffee Traders in Avon for some high octane. That is my favorite afternoon run when a pick me up is in order.
To understand that spending five days, writing, talking, sharing…..no negative comments please!!! Maybe I will use that with the girls; time for dinner, homework, clean your rooms…….no negative comments please. This trip has awakened a fire that wants to spread, move, burn but its course is unsure. Especially with water sprouting everywhere threatening to burn it out. Yet it is just day one. I am sure in no time I will adjust and be running around like the crazy mother, wife, dog owner, horse lover, painter and now writer that I usually am. If you see me around town anytime soon and I look like I just left a cult it’s OK really. I will be back to myself in no time at all.
Posted on March 7, 2013
Tibet the Rescue Dog…
He sat in his cage at the pound not moving. He was dirty, filthy dirty. In his left eye was a large, swollen bubble of skin. I would later learn that is called a cherry eye. He looked very sad and quiet. Everyone else was looking at the cute little Shih Tzu named Bella. She was wearing an even cuter sweater and jumping up and down with the prospect of meeting a new family. But he just sat there, not moving almost not breathing, as if to say I know you won’t pick me. My heart felt complete sorrow for him. I didn’t know how old he was. I didn’t know his history. I didn’t even know if he liked kids when I asked for him to be taken out of his cage. I would learn that he had been there for three weeks and no one wanted him. I would learn that the volunteer at the facility was worried he would not become adopted and would be ruined by being in the pound for so long. I would learn that he was sick with worms, and a double ear infection, which most likely caused him lots of pain. I would learn that he rescued our family when we rescued him.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I drove out to the pound out of complete need and desperation. We had just buried our beloved family dog Tucci less than 30 days before. December 9, 2010 to be exact. The Christmas Holiday was a blur that year. I found it difficult to walk around being joyful when I only felt grief and loss. We went away for a week right after the Holiday. While flying home I knew I could not return to our home without a dog…dog less felt so raw and I wasn’t willing to do it any longer. I knew I needed the presence of a dog in our home.
You see I am the one that spends the time with our dog. The kids go to school and my husband goes to work but I stay with our dog. I feed the dog, walk the dog and play with the dog. I like to say I have a dog… our dog likes to… I hadn’t truly accepted that I was without a dog. With a car packed full of luggage and hearts filled with hope we set out to meet our new dog. We made one stop to meet some friends. They offered to make the trip to the pound with us. They brought their dog along hoping we could find a dog that liked to be with other dogs. Our friends knew the importance of the trip and how it would help us heal.
When we arrived at the pound the original dog I was hoping to see was no longer available to us. “Sorry but we can’t adopt him out to anyone with small children. He snapped at someone today.” Our hearts fell, our faces fell and so did our spirits. The nice woman must have noticed because immediately she said, “Please go look at these two dogs back there but that’s it, just these two.” So we went. The kids were all excited as if it was Christmas morning all over again but I wasn’t. I didn’t want to deal with one more disappointment.
As I looked into the eyes of our soon to be dog it was if his pain was mirroring my pain. I felt that the last month led me to this exact spot looking at this exact dog. I felt his need for us matched our need for him. He wanted love, food, water, a warm shelter to call home and a gentle hand to guide him. We wanted a dog to love, to play with, cuddle with, to give a better home to, and to be the gentle hand that would guide him. We both had needs that needed to be met. The question was could we meet them for each other?
When we brought him to his new home,we gave him a name, Tibet, we gave him a collar, a leash and his very own crate. I told him he could borrow Tucci’s bed. I told him he had some pretty big paws to fill. He immediately set out trying to capture my heart. He followed me around begging, pleading with his eyes for love, daring me to open my heart to him. Eventually he earned his own dog bowls, toys, and blankets and yes his very own bed. He slowly worked his magic over all of us. While we healed and opened our selves up to him, he healed by basking in our love. He has earned the “Top Dog” spot in our family. Someday some other dog may be told as they lay on his bed, “You have some very big paws to fill.”