Surprise! If I am paying some reasonable amount of attention, it turns out that the Inner Beauty Pilgrimage to the Sacred-Ordinary Everywhere is a multilayered undertaking, encompassing all of daily life, as well as specialized Inner Beauty activities. Today, among many things, it encompassed Pants, or more exactly, jeans. The ones I've been wearing for 4 years straight - inherited from Timothy, who didn't like how they fit - are worn translucent at the butt. Being in Brooklyn, I thought I could do something about finding new ones, and very luckily, as Elana has more sangfroid for this sort of thing than I do, she agreed to go with me.
I wanted slavery-free pants, designed for men (because they fit my body better), in a dark wash, preferably already soft, but not fake-worn. I found them. They're as slavery-free as a fancy pair of pants bearing a label that says Made in USA of imported fabric can be. They also have a place to write my name & address, in case I drop my pants someplace rife with postal-compulsive good Samaritans. Then I found a delightful Chinese man with a stately black Singer to hem my new pants. Then Elana (wearing fetching new shorts) & I sat in the back garden of a French bakery for hours, and basked in the glow of each other's majestic presence.
In the afternoon, I set out for Philly, and therein discovered both the limitations of GPS, and the non-limitations of the heart to be with What Is. Limitations? Instead of the neat u-turn across 8 lanes that my little talking satellite friend envisioned, I wound up morassed in the line for the Holland Tunnel. Non-limitations? Remembering Kristen Neff's beautiful 3-step process for self-compassion, I saw:
I am now staying with my friend Nico and her marvelous Samoan dog, Ping:
Nico's refrigerator says:
Confidence comes not from being always right, but from not fearing to be wrong. To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.
The gift of the multi-decade friendships I have been revisiting in the last few days of the Inner Beauty Pilgrimage is that we have seen one another in all kinds of states: sick & well, broken & whole, deluded & brilliant, impoverished & abundant, and through witnessing it all in love, we have helped one another not to waste the people we are.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.