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  • Writer's pictureJulie McCammon

Hidden in Plain Sight

I confess - I have a wardrobe packed to the brim with beautiful things that I don’t wear. For years I have loved to buy gorgeous clothes, jewellery and accessories in an attempt to make myself feel beautiful while wearing them. It has only worked for the briefest of moments.

Earlier this week while on holiday in Portugal, I had a difficult few days. I was self-conscious about my body. This experience is heightened without fail every summer; that time of year when we wear lighter clothing and expose more parts of our bodies to the sunlight.

We were out for an evening meal, in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the sea with its deep blue/green hues and the gentle sound of the waves caressing the stones below. My daughter who was sitting opposite us took a photo of my husband and me. As I looked at the photo all I could see were my ‘fat wrinkly’ arms. “Take another one, but cut my arms out of it, please,” I asked. My husband and daughter looked at me in dismay and shook their heads. They told me how crazy I sounded and offered advice to try to wake me up to the fact that my thinking was screwed up and I was believing it.

In a low mood, I was listening to my thoughts and boy did those thoughts look so very real. When I looked at the photo I naturally saw some wrinkles and saggy bits, thats the reality of life at age 55 but my judgemental, critical thoughts were stickier than super-glue and I was convinced they were true. If ever my thoughts were creating how I was experiencing my body, it was definitely in that moment.

Thought creates our world and then says, “I didn't do it.” David Bohm

I knew it was my thinking that was making me feel so much self-loathing, but knowing this in my head didn't make it any less sticky. I could even hear Mavis Karn say “Know not to trust your thinking when you are in a low mood.” But it still looked real. That's what the power of Thought does- it looks real and it’s particularly good at it when you are in a low mood.

So fast forward two days and my mood has lifted. I am reading a book called “Upside-Down and Backwards” by Thomas M Kelley and it hits me; I have spent years trying different diets and buying silly amounts of nice clothes to try to gain control of my insecure thinking.

All along I haven't understood that the source of my emotional pain is my thinking, so I have spent so much energy and expense reaching outside of myself for solutions. This has been my coping strategy in attempting to minimise my pain. I've been searching “out there” for a source of relief but it's been futile.

I've been innocently living in the illusion that I need another beautiful item of clothing in order to feel good, to feel comfortable in my body. This need for something new, is me misguidedly thinking that self-image and confidence are tied to “stuff out there.”

My insecurity and need to wear something that might make me feel good are products of my own personal thinking. My urge to buy another lovely item is just another seductive personal thought that comes to mind particularly when I am feeling low about myself.

All my shopping is an attempt to quiet my compelling, sticky and habitual thoughts about being insecure and hating myself.

Up to now, I have used shopping for something new, to cope with those sticky self-critical thoughts. I've been looking outside for something to quiet my personal mind and distract myself from those painful feelings.

But maybe it's time to see where those feelings are coming from. Whatever I am feeling is always and only determined by how I use the power of Thought, Consciousness and Mind. Knowing this in my heart and not just in my head, means I am no longer a victim, I no longer need to feel insecure. Indeed my security and confidence have been hiding in plain sight all this time, it's only now as my personal mind clears and the mist lifts, that I trust I can find true and lasting peace of mind.

“Thoughts have no power of their own, only that which you give them.” Sydney Banks

I have paid way too much attention to how I looked in the mirror, thinking it defines me rather than listening to my body and trusting the wisdom within. I have all the confidence I need, it's just got covered over by the layers of thinking, judgement and beliefs that I have developed over time.

Looking inside, common sense points me towards actually wearing the beautiful clothes already in my wardrobe, all the items that I’ve never had the confidence to wear up till now, because they are beautiful and not because they will make me any more beautiful.

I have a choice about how I experience my body in this moment! So I choose not to ruminate, not to contaminate and judge, instead, I trust my guide inside to nudge me towards curiosity, compassion and love for myself.

Today I walked into a restaurant to meet family and friends, wearing my vintage hand-crafted Indian wrap skirt of various stunning shades of turquoise, green and red, never before worn. I wore my vivid gold and turquoise drop earrings, the pair that's hidden away in my jewellery box because they might draw attention to me. It felt good to allow that bohemian part of myself outside in the daylight. I walked taller with my shoulders back, despite thoughts that I wasn't enough crossing the screen of my mind, I recognised them as old judgements, I blessed them and sent them on their way. I walked in beauty.

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