A few days ago I got my hair cut shorter than I have, ever (if you don’t count the time I shaved my head). I had been contemplating a short style for quite some time, inching my way closer and closer with tentatives every few months; cuts which took me from shoulder- to neck-length. Cautious would be one term to qualify these attempts. But to me these “snip-ettes” felt bold. As bold as did the changes I was making in my life at the time. I’d had long-ish hair for awhile. The style had accompanied me through a marriage, raising children, a separation, a divorce, seeing my children grow and leave the nest, a new relationship… and its recent end. Each haircut marked a shift in my relationships, and a letting go of an identity. One hairstyle at a time.
So when I arrived in Switzerland for a family holiday soon after the long-time-coming finalization of my divorce, change was fresh in the air, fresh in my psyche and in my cells. It was time. Time to let go. Time for a new cut.
I will not lie. I was nervous. Well, excited and nervous. I reached out to those closest to me and asked my mama to come along for the ride. She did so, enthusiastically. Her enjoyment was only multiplied by the complimentary espresso, French gossip-magazines and repeated requests for her input about the style, cut and color by Maria, the hairdresser/artist/counselor extraordinaire.
Neither my mother nor I were prepared for the transformation that took place. The process, which took most of one whole afternoon (!), had whispers of the magical in it. As Maria aptly put it, the butterfly was emerging from her cocoon.
And what a surprise. The form, colors and magic of a new look, and a new life.
Midwife to this metamorphosis, Maria was full of encouragement, wisdom and humor. I couldn’t have asked for a more skilled and insightful attendant. In our conversations that flowed intermittently between the snips, hair flips, coloring, plastic wrap, brushing, washes and clouds of vaporized hair products, something gelled (Yes, yes. Pun intended).
One after the other insights and understandings came into focus. Clear as the cut, as bright as my new highlights. Bam, bam, wham. Was it the fumes of the non-organic, non-anything-natural- beauty products getting to my brain? Or was it just one of those moments in life when things click into place, like the pieces of a puzzle do? Who knows. Whatever it was, here they are:
- Dare to change. Here’s the deal. I’ve always had my part on the same side, on the left. It’s the easiest and laziest way to go. Maria’s first move was to change that. One flip of the comb and “poof”, the look was completely different. Maria very matter-of-factly told me that habits need to be broken, otherwise we fall asleep to ourselves. I dared to go with her suggestion and am so happy I did. It was a reminder that when the opportunity to change an old habit arises, it is wise to go with it. So, my friends, shake things up, live it up and flip your part! You will be amazed by what you uncover.
- Do something you have never done before. I’ve never had bangs (willingly), or something crossing my forehead. Nor have I ever indulged in a far-out-hair-dresser-doo-wop-day. Other than simply dropping a habit, it’s incredibly liberating and revealing to try something new, to venture into foreign territory. There is nothing more powerful to breathe some new life into yourself.
- Be clear, state what you want and the Universe will meet you there. Going in I knew I wanted to look gorgeous, feminine and “me”. I also knew I wanted something short. All of these factors were so alive in my focus that they fell into place. Bam! Stop over-thinking, stop dragging your feet. Take your time, get quiet, get clear and go for it.
- Admit what is present and alive in you. I told Maria, straight up, that I was nervous about this procedure. She met me right where I was and tuned in. Reassuring, without being overly so, she sensed when I was ready to take a leap, and guided me to the edge.
- Dare to be drop-dead beautiful. Beauty is pure you-ness, truth and love. Claim all of that and radiate it. This is life calling itself.
- Focus on what is beautiful, positive and unique about you. Spend so much time doing so that you have no time left to criticize others. You’ll have so much more to share with the world when you do.
- Live life in full color. For the hair make-over we added highlights, streaks of blond (my natural color before some grey and heavy metal city water toned it down). I considered the fact that there were most-likely some funky toxic materials in the white goop Maria was streaking through my hair. After contemplating the potential side effects for all of 5 seconds, I decided I could live with it. Pick your battles. Have fun. And let the color shine through.
- No one knows how to take care of you, better than you. Asked if I wanted the massage chair turned on while I had my hair washed, masked (yes, that happens!), and god knows what else, I said “yes” to the offer. All smiles, Maria affirmed: “Il faut savoir se gater, ma belle. Personne d’autre le fera aussi bien” (One has to know how to spoil oneself. No one else will do it as well as you).
- Life is too short to settle for less than your heart’s calling. We’ve heard it said before, and I will state it again, do not waste your time being miserable, praying for the other to change, wishing your life were different than it is. Change yourself, switch your perspective, do everything to take care of yourself, to open your mind, your heart, one baby step at a time. Believe in yourself and know you have the strength and courage to transform yourself. Dance to your Soul’s tune; it is part of the Universe’s symphony. Do this, and watch how those around you will join in, dancing themselves alive.
Toxic fumes and flashes of insight aside, here is what I know for certain today: We are Spirit manifest, made of star dust, made of the Universe itself. And just as the stars shine, the sun rises and sets, the oceans sway in tides, just as all elements of the manifest world do their thing, we are here to do just that…to be exactly who we are, as we are, beautifully imperfect and messy. Absolutely, unapologetically, outrageously, radiantly, gorgeous. For today and for all times, dance your dance, sing your song. You are invaluable. You are Life. Shine… shine…shine.