In yoga, students are encouraged to go to their soft edge–to stretch deep enough where you feel the stretch but not so deep that you hurt yourself. It is at this soft edge that the muscles release and then you can breathe in and stretch just a little bit further.
In life, as we shift and change, we push up against a lot of soft edges. It is where our biggest growths happen.
This past week I gathered with my Mastermind-coaching circle. We are an intimate group of 14 women who are all upleveling our lives, our businesses, our dreams with our coach Christine Kane. It is an amazing opportunity to share and support each other as we stretch and push to get clearer and closer toward our biggest visions of ourselves.
There is an incredible amount of trust and vulnerability among us. I guess that’s why I felt comfortable enough during one of our dinners, to ask my friend Kathi,” so what kind of lipstick do you wear?”
It seemed like a pretty innocent question. But it led me to an edge I never thought I’d push against.
If you know me at all, you know that I don’t wear makeup. Or dresses, or panty hose, or even much jewelry. I will always choose comfort over style. Always.
But for several years, I’ve wanted to have a girlfriend go with me to the lipstick counter and help me pick a color. I’d like my lips to not get so lost on my face.
So I asked Kathi, “What kind of lipstick do you wear?”
“I don’t really like lipstick,” she said. “It’s too thick. I used to love Carmex, until I found out it had phenol in it.” I smiled in happy agreement. “But now I wear lip gloss,” she said. She told me how it makes her lips so shiny and the next thing I knew, she was telling me how simple and easy her makeup routine is.
“Just shake, tap, swirl and buff.” She circled an imaginary makeup brush quickly around her face. “That’s it. Less than 5 minutes. And it doesn’t even look like I have makeup on,” she said.
It’s true. Her face looks natural, simple, and not at all “made-up.”
And then she offered to show me on my own face.
My first reaction was NO WAY! I DON”T WEAR MAKEUP!!!! I was only MAYBE thinking about some kind of lipstick.
But then I stepped back from my reaction. And in that moment of detachment, I felt a strong wanting to say YES! YES! This is something that leads me to my bigger vision of myself.
“I don’t want to look like I have makeup on.” I finally said.
“Oh no,” she assured me, “It’ll just make you glow. And feel pretty.”
When I showed up at her hotel room the next evening, she had her powders and brushes lined up on the bathroom counter. I thought I would feel anxious, hesitant, maybe even want to change my mind. But I was relaxed, open, ready.
That’s what happens when I say YES!
Yes is accepting. Yes is moving through the uncomfortableness. Yes is stepping toward that bigger vision of myself.
So I tapped and swirled and buffed, quickly moving the brush around my face. I painted over the areas where I needed a little more cover. I brushed another product where the sun kisses my face. I curled my eyelashes and thickened them with mascara.
It wasn’t about covering my face with layers of fakeness. It was all about evening out my skin tone, covering the the spider veins around my nose, the blotchiness in my chin so that you focused, instead, on the light of my eyes.
“OK, now which lip gloss?” She handed me a subtle peachy gloss.
I painted it on, then looked in the mirror. “Oh no, way too obvious,” I said. All I could see was my peachy, shiny lips.
She pulled out her other choice, a deeper purplish red, and dabbed a little on my peach lips. “Oh God, now I feel like I have a big clown mouth!” I said, looking in the mirror.
“I know how you feel,” she assured me, “but really, it looks good.”
I looked at her, looked at myself and decided to trust. It was only lipstick.
When we joined the rest of the gals for dinner, I didn’t want them all to “know,” to be pointing at me, making a fuss. But they did. And I liked hearing that I looked fabulous, that I popped, that I was pretty.
I wondered if they were just saying those things because they knew ahead of time that I’d be wearing makeup. I wondered if they would have even noticed if no one had told them.
But then I realized it didn’t matter. I did it for me, not for them.
I did it to try something that I’ve always been adamantly NEVER going to do. I did it to push myself beyond my own limitations. I did it to move toward that bigger self I envision, who stands in front of large groups of people, who will NEED to wear makeup so that my features don’t get washed out in the bright lights.
I did it because it is time to start saying YES!