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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Loses Itself In The Sunset

I've been pondering a fictional dialogue from a Madeliene L'Engle novel that still resonates with me (I wonder sometimes about how my most significant conversations seem to be with dead authors or their characters). But the seeds to germinate on are these: when are we most ourselves and when are we happiest. When we are caught up in who we think we are, introspection, self-consciousness and a slew of other things we aren't being natural/organic. When we are able to relax or pour ourselves wholly into a task that consumes our attention then our true natures come out--we aren't thinking about our posture or if something we say is going to sound stupid--we simply are. Likewise, I often feel happiness is best found not by seeking to please ourselves through a series of indulgences (although I do like donuts for breakfast), but once again when we're able to empty ourselves of expectations and perhaps focus on someone else. Like the high after a service project or some other selfless act that doesn't fade, but adds to our overall sense of well being and accomplishment. When you put someone before yourself and act with genorosity, you are helping someone but you're also gaining a positive definition of self--unlike an indulgence that feeds a temporary desire but only gives a fleeting euphoria and leaves one empty (or full of sugar). It's like earning girl scout badges, but not needing a sash to display them on; the real change is how you perceive yourself (conscious or otherwise).
Of course, running in opposition is self-preservation. As necessary as doing good for others and focusing less on ourselves, self-preservation keeps us from wearing ourselves to the bone, becoming locked in unhealthy relationships, and being downright reckless. It's hard sometimes to figure out that balance. When are we neglecting very real needs (instead of just wants) and when are we shutting ourselves off from the world and other people through a desire to feel safe?

Outfit details:
Tulle coat (similar here)
Seychelles booties (old)
*pictures by Jon

9 comments:

Shannon Willardson said...

Love this! In fact I really love all the dresses you post!

GBOfashion.com

Marzipan said...

I loved reading your words, Rebecca. You are so pretty, you have the best lovely dresses and you are a really nice person. You transfer emotions in what you write and in all your pictures.

Bivisyani Questibrilia said...

An insightful thought, as always. It is true how hard to define that, really. But I think, when we can't limit ourselves to what we want/need, the world does it for us. Sometimes who we really are and what makes us truly happy aren't up to us. The world sometimes forms us too.

Marvellous photographs too. Tell Jon what an awesome job he did!

Penny said...

all the pictures are so atmospheric- especially the last one; it's as if you sit on a cloud!!!

Kathryn said...

This has been so much in my head lately. I like your take on it - it has offered me something new.

Ester DurĂ£es said...

aww you look stunning! I absolutely love your outfit :) oh and the photos look amazing, I specially like the one of you sitting ;)

Drawing Dreaming

Sally | Queenie and the Dew blog said...

Love these whimsical pics. I've been pondering the concept of happiness myself lately. Simply by asking myself 'what truly makes me happy' I've come up against all sorts of dead ends. A knee-jerk reaction for me could be 'food', but if I eat too much or the wrong kinds, I feel guilty and unhealthy, so that's not true happiness. Similarly, being kind makes me happy, but feeling like people are taking advantage of my generosity makes me sad. The idea of happiness is as slippery as trying to catch a fish in water. I'm spending this year doing a 'Happiness Project' where I try and define what happiness means to me. I hope you find it for you too :) xx

www.queenieandthedew.com

My Hideaway said...

The balance between self-indulgence and self-care, in doing for others and letting others do for you, takes some time to figure out. Having said that, though, I'm always struck by people who've somehow made it to adulthood without learning any of these lessons, who barrel through life taking everything they want and giving nothing in return, who think happiness is found in consuming (food, clothes, whatever) rather than in making and giving and doing. I do my best to give such people a wide berth and focus on making my own little corner of the world a better place. Also, it's very possible to be cautious and play it safe to a fault and miss out on amazing experiences and relationships.

Laura Weber said...

You make a very lovely point, and I have been thinking something like that recently but I haven't put it into words as nicely as you do.

It's weird that you mention that author. I have been on a Madeleine L'Engle kick this past week - catching up on the books ! used to read all the time when I was a bit younger, and still turn to when I need something familiar, but as deeply profound as ever. Which book is that thought from? I haven't read all of her novels, so it's been a while so I may have read it and just not remember it.

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