Pondering Polarities: The Truth About Ugliness
I have been doing a lot of pondering about polarities lately, about this world of OPPOSITES, and the ultimate inclusion of all things.
It is my work in this life to recognize and bring to the forefront of my consciousness, all those parts of myself that I push away, and vehemently dis-own, because of my beliefs about said things, and what I think those things mean.
I do not do this because that’s what teachers teach, or because it’s spiritual, or because I’m following some dogma or theory about shadow-work or something. I do it, because it has been my OWN EXPERIENCE, again and again, that what-so-ever I am willing to fearlessly OWN, and usher-in, and SEE, and acknowledge and ALLOW…
comes Home to me.
It opens me up with love and understanding beyond anything I can describe to you, and it ultimately restores my peace and joy.
This is not new information to anyone who has even dabbled in spiritual teachings, but I want to just re-iterate that there is a vast difference between the CONCEPT of something like this, and the actual REALIZATION of it. No one can “teach” you this – it is entirely self-taught. You must discover it for yourself, or you won’t discover it at all.
So it is with this in mind, that I continue to pull in the orphaned pieces of my puzzle whenever I get a chance, and today I invited in “Ugliness” – the opposite of beauty. I wanted to meet with her, to better understand her, to see what she wanted me to know. Lord knows she’s been in my life since forever, but I’ve been shoving her out the door all this time. Trying to deny her, trying to re-frame her, trying to positive-talk-her, trying to tell her she’s really beautiful, trying to cancel her out… and she wasn’t having it.
She wanted to be seen for what she was. She knew this was my freedom we’re talking about, and she wasn’t letting me off the hook. All of that over-riding stuff I mentioned above worked for awhile in it’s time, but not anymore. She knew it was time, she knew I could handle it now… so she turned up the heat, and I had to start listening.
So I invited her to tea.
Just me and “ugliness”, sitting down for a chat.
Here’s how it went down: *disclaimer: this is me and my own perception of my own “ugliness”, this is not some global concept – and I am not trying to define ugliness for anyone. I encourage you to get in touch with your own concept of ugliness and sit down with it. Don’t take my word for it.*
Me: Ugliness, would you like to join me for tea?
Ugliness: Yes, I would love that.
Me: Here you go… (I pour her a cup of hot tea and give her a cookie — no 2 cookies, because I know she won’t ask for more, but she secretly wants 2)
Ugliness: *smiles* Thank you. (suddenly notices she is less interested in gobbling up the cookies) *get’s teary eyed at this realization*
Me: I haven’t been very kind to you, have I?
Ugliness: No. But I understand… I’m ugly. Why would you want me around? *looks at me inquisitively*
Me: *gets teary eyed too* You know, I have honestly believed that too. and that’s why I’ve kept you away for so long. That’s why I’ve been the “mean girl on the bus” towards you inside, and shamed you, and mentally beat you, and physically abused you, because I have equated you with lack of love. As long as you’re around, I can’t love myself. Why must you be so awkward? why must you be so fucking awkward? Why these marks and scars and shapes and pounds of flesh? why?? I can’t resolve you with how I feel on the inside. Why can’t you reflect how I FEEL?
Ugliness: I am.
(*gets very still, sits up very straight and looks me dead in the eye. she is calm and absolutely unmoving, and her gaze penetrates to my core – she is crystal clear.*)
Me: *cries, and cries. sobs.* ohhhh. oh yes. Yes you are. I do feel ugly – about so many things. Not just body or physicality, but so many things. Simple, everyday-things even, things that I do that are less-than-perfect in my minds opinion.
Ugliness: Yes, I am a reflection of that. Nothing more. I will always be around, in case you haven’t noticed. I show up as you, or I show up as THEM. As long as you continue to see me this way, you can’t love fully. As long as you exclude me, you can’t love your whole self. That’s why it feels so wrong. That’s why I seem so ugly to you. Because you think I’m standing in the way of you and freedom. But the truth is I AM your freedom, I am standing as your BRIDGE to freedom, not as an obstacle to it. And every time you avoid me, you don’t take that bridge, and you widen the gap from where you want to be.
Me: Oh. (still a little stunned – noticing now it’s me who’s the small confused one, and ugliness is looking quite magnetic at the moment actually, sitting up straight, and absolutely still, with burning clarity and knowingness) **takes long pause to cry and to say sorry to ugliness, to acknowledge how cruel I’ve been, to take her IN, and to thank her. repeatedly. To hug her, and hold her, and let her hold me.**
Me: Ugliness, is there anything I can do for you? What can I do to help you, to bring you in, and to usher us both to the in-between place… the balance?
Ugliness: Stay with me. When you kick me out of heaven, you kick yourself out of heaven. I am a piece of the whole – YOUR whole. Exclude me, exclude yourself. See how this works? Without me, beauty doesn’t EXIST. Without me, beauty is EVERYTHING. I have come to be, so beauty can be experienced. But when you disown me, beauty cannot be truly experienced. Beauty becomes a concept you chase — a shadow on the wall — it’s never “perfect” you can never quite grab on to it, or attain it, it remains forever SEPARATE from you, because the thing that DEFINES it, is left out. Think of a chessboard, and think of the black squares as beauty, and the white squares as ugliness – the contrast of the 2 tones allows a game to be played, it allows apparent “movement” through a field towards a goal. Without the ugliness (the white squares) – to define the beauty (black squares) -it’s just a black board. No game, no movement, no journey, no experience. A beautiful flower calls to you from a garden, it is surrounded by weeds, it’s beauty is truly experienced because of that contrast. If it is in a sea of lilies in a field, the lily is not discovered, or truly experienced. Nothing is truly ugly or beautiful, and each is in the eye of the beholder. But your consciousness has experienced your body as “ugly” so that it can be “the weeds”, and the lily — which is the heart of you, the source of you, the core of you — can be revealed out of that contrast. Ugliness defines a path, for each of us, in it’s own way, regarding different things (bodies, the world, situations, events, behaviors, regrets, etc.)
Me: oh wow. this is so “beautiful”! I see, yes I see, that makes so much sense. Thank you ugliness. My god… *gets choked up*… you are so beautiful.
Ugliness: yes. I’ve always thought so too. *no smiles – total ownership* All polarities arise from the same source. ALL is beauty… I am beauty’s cloak. For a time.
And here you were thinking I was the one who wanted 2 cookies. Believing what you’ve been believing about me, it’s a wonder you don’t want 12 cookies. ;)
Me: yes!! My goodness.
Ugliness: This is all for your joy, and your adventure. Same goes with all polarities. Sadness is your ultimate happiness. Anger is your ultimate calm. Heavyness is your ultimate lightness. Danger is your ultimate safety. Scarcity is your ultimate abundance. Desires and wanting are your ultimate fulfillment and contentment. Not understanding is your ultimate Understanding. Non-presence or busy-minded-ness is your ultimate presence and peace. Ignorance is your ultimate knowing. Selfishness is your ultimate self-less-ness. EXclusion is your ultimate INclusion. They carve the path…
Me: …to Center.
Ugliness: to Center.
Me & Ugliness: mmmmmmmmmm…. yes! *clinking of tea cups, knowing smiles, and more hugs all around*
** Side Note: After I wrote this, I went to find a picture for it, and decided on this absolute loveliness by Alex Yael… and knew in an instant it spoke so beautifully to this realization of opposites – one side of the flower in dichotomy of the other. At first I thought that the lower half of the flower was dead or dried up, however, after I got the larger photo from her, I realized that in actuality that side of the flower is not dying, it is OPENING, it is in the process of opening, and has just not fully OPENED yet. I mean… c’mon… really?? Symbolic full-circle richness just doesn’t doesn’t get any sweeter than that! (if you’re not following: what I thought was “ugly” was actually an OPENING… into full bloom.)