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winifred

Writer Winifred Gallagher

asha

Writer Asha Bandele

 

Happy Tuesday!

On Friday afternoon, I escaped from D.C. and traveled to Annapolis.  Why?  Plage de tempsPlage de temps is a French word that means beach time.  Beach time in my world means chilling out and chill-axing.  I had a great weekend hanging out with parents, practicing yoga outside (OM yummy!), eating seafood, playing on the beach, making a beach webisode of Ananda Leeke TV (www.youtube.com/anandaleeke– will post the webisode soon), and reading the August issue of Real Simple (www.realsimple.com).  My favorite article in the August issue was “What makes me feel beautiful.”  It featured essays by several women writers.  Two writers really touched my heart with their words:  Winifred Gallagher, author of Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life and Asha Bandele, author of Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story, Daughter, and Prisoner’s Wife (one of my favorites).  Winifred was a new discovery for me.  Asha has been one of my favorite writers for several years. Her books and essays really move me.  She always speaks to my soul, mind, and heart!

Below are excertps from the essays written by Winifred and Asha. Winifred wrote about how being active every day makes her feel beautiful. Asha wrote about how writing makes her feel beautiful. They are my favorites!

Winifred – “That exercise makes me feel beautiful, struck me around age 40, right after I had taken a quick run… The way to stay lively is to stay active.”

Asha – “Writing requires us to take the world on more slowly, to notice its harshness as well as its richness.  Writing reduces the chaos in my mind.  As the gospel song says, it orders my steps and makes me feel in control of myself and therefore appreciative of the world.”

To learn more about Winifred and her books, visit www.harpercollins.com/authors/3432/Winifred_Gallagher/index.aspx. Click here to learn more about Asha and her books: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Asha-Bandele.  She is on Facebook too:  http://www.facebook.com/asha.bandele

After I read these women’s words, I sat on my parents’ deck and finished eating a healthy green salad for dinner.  In between bites, I paused and thought about what makes me feel beautiful.  A list emerged in my mind.  Here’s most of what I thought about.

  •  When I practice yoga, I feel beautiful.
  • When I meditate, chant with my mala beads, and give myself Reiki healing touch, I feel beautiful.
  • When I play on the beach, I feel beautiful.
  • When I drink green tea and eat oatmeal with raisins and honey in the morning, I feel beautiful.
  • When I work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts, I feel beautiful.
  • When I run my mile down 16th Street, I feel beautiful.
  • When I write notes and cards to family and friends, I feel beautiful.
  • When I wrap myself in my blankets and comfy sheets, I feel beautiful.
  • When I wear the colors pink, purple, orange, yellow, and red, I feel beautiful.
  • When I read books out loud, I feel beautiful.
  • When I have dates with handsome, witty, attentive, well-read, mature, and charming men at Rice, Love Café, Busboys and Poets, Utopia, and 24/7 Café in my neighborhood, I feel beautiful.
  • When I connect with family and friends through conversation, I feel beautiful.
  • When I color, paint, draw, and create wire sculpture, I feel beautiful.
  • When I get caught in a summer rainfall, I feel beautiful.
  • When someone special says my name “Ananda,” I feel beautiful.
  • When I kiss a man I like on the first date, I feel beautiful.
  • When I dance, I feel beautiful.
  • When I get in bed before 10:30 p.m., I feel beautiful.
  • When I walk or sit in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park, I feel beautiful.
  • When I host radio shows, I feel beautiful.
  • When I meditate with my People of Color sangha, I feel beautiful.
  • When I sit in All Souls Unitarian Church and worship with my spiritual community, I feel beautiful.
  • When I shop for healthy organic food at Yes! Organic Market in my neighborhood, I feel beautiful.
  • When I put on my MAC lipstick with Burt Bees lipgloss, I feel beautiful.
  • When I listen to my voice on Talkshoe.com radio shows, I feel beautiful.
  • When I touch flowers and trees, I feel beautiful.
  • When I cry after watching a good film, YouTube video, or television show, I feel beautiful.
  • When I walk home after getting a massage, pedicure, and manicure, I feel beautiful.
  • When I travel and fly on airplanes, I feel beautiful
  • When I write poetry, blogs, essays, emails, and books, I feel beautiful.
  • When I teach someone how to use yoga, Reiki healing touch, social media, and creativity to expand their vision of their life and work, I feel beautiful.
  • When I listen to music by Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Eric Roberson, Maxwell, Julie Dexter, Pat Metheney, Fertile Ground, Deva Premal, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Sista Shree, Donny Hathaway, and Dwele, I feel beautiful.
  • When I hug folks, I feel beautiful.
  • When I greet people on the street with a big smile and hello, I feel beautiful.

 What makes you feel beautiful? Please share your list in the comment section.

 Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, and Beauty,

Ananda

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