This past weekend I attended the Sharp Women’s Health Conference at the Sheraton Hotel, right on the lovely bay. As soon as I found out Glennon Doyle Melton (author of the lovely blog, monastery and the book, Carry On Warrior) I knew I wanted to go. Unfortunately by the time I tried to get tickets they were sold out. I asked about a waiting list, but even that was filled up. I was super bummed. Not only would I get great professional training hours here as an MFT but I so wanted to hear G speak.
The week before the conference a dear, sweet lady by the name of Peggy emailed me to say they had a few tickets open up and to call her as soon as possible!!!
Needless to say I was thrilled at the opportunity. I was able to attend workshops on fianances, feminine sexuality, sleep disorders, and even a self-defense class. The lunch was full of nutrious ingredients, and the salad had all the essentials and more with a variety of nuts and veggies. The roast chicken with the quinoa was done just right. And there was ice cold tea and dark chocolate. Even my gift bag was filled with treats of lotions and oils and lavender smelling soaps. Seriously my kind of day and place. The exhibit hall had a pet therapy booth with all different kinds of dogs including black Labradors. They were so sweet and gentle. I felt like my cup was overflowing. I just kept filling up on all this good and beauty.
I also went alone and planned to meet up with my friend and mentor later at G’s talk. But going alone was not like being alone. Everyone there kind of felt like a sister to me. Everyone was excited. I met so many interesting women who were encouraging and honest about their journeys. During the sleep disorder workshop I met a woman who told me she struggles with sleeping. She normalized all my sleep habits and talked about different things that have worked for her. But what really made the difference was the way she looked me in the eye and told me, You’re not crazy, you’re normal and I struggle too. So now when I wake up from a vivid nightmare I think of her kind smile and her saying, Hey, you’re not the only one and you’re not alone.
By the time I got to G’s talk I was ecstatic and already so filled up on everything good and beautiful. She was just what I envisioned. Hilarious, personable, raw and exactly who she is. She talked about what it means to be beautiful. To be beautiful she said means you have to fill up on beauty. She said each of us have to decide what we find beautiful.
If want to be beautiful, we gotta FILL UP WITH BEAUTY.
She talked about her struggle with her body image, bulimia, drugs and alcohol. She talked about her struggle with being a mother. She was honest about her marriage and how it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. She said it’s easy for us to identify more with our roles than with our souls.
It made me think of my roles as a wife, sister, friend, daughter, as a therapist, an educator and an aspiring-to-be writer. It made me think about my soul and what makes me FEEL beautiful. Without all my roles, do I believe I am still loved and still beautiful?
G wrote, “I spent three decades thinking about what I look like. It was boring. I plan to spend the rest of my life thinking about what I’m looking AT. Less boring.”
Yes indeed, very boring. If beauty is what our culture has deemed it to be than it is quite dull, narrow and boring. It's space is as small as the mirrors in our bathrooms. But what if beauty is what you and I make it? If beauty is what God intended than it is wide, free, wild and creative. This beauty takes me breath away.
Her whole talk made me think of what beauty means to me and how I can FILL UP on beauty every day. I trust that this act will actually make me beautiful more than a face lift, cosmetics and a boob job. So for the next few days I will be thinking of what is beautiful and what makes me FEEL full of beauty in my soul and deep into my toes.