When my husband and I married 18 years ago, my brilliant friend and author, Sue Monk Kidd, delivered a charge to us under a canopy of cedars: Go, she said, and feed the world with Beauty. Sue had watched me over the years probe the texture and shape of beauty, wanting to understand its power to move and elevate our lives. Not conventional beauty. Not white-washed beauty. Not pretty. I was drawn to deep, diverse, culturally saturated beauty. Bold intense, unapologetic Beauty. Natural, authentic, soul-infused beauty,
I took up the charge and pursued it with Ibu, wanting to focus light on women around the world, their faces, as their lives, more beautiful for the aspiring, ambitious hope in them. Their skilled hands making love to their craft are beautiful to me. Their mother-to-daughter creativity spilling from generation to generation gives birth to a kind of deep beauty.
So steeped I am in this realm of Real Beauty, that I've become immune to the next trend in fashion, the color of the year, the latest flavor of celebrity style. I'm not interested in what passes for currently chic nor the stream of endless, pouty selfies some find addictive. Rather, I seek continuously the fount of deep beauty—that place of solidness, strength, and sovereignty within our being from which our own light flares up. To my eye, that is astonishing beauty.
The Greek word for beauty, preceding ours, comes from the word hour, and suggests that beauty is associated with being of one's hour. A fruit in it ripeness is beautiful, but a person trying to appear younger or older than her age is not. How delicious! To be of my own hour.
On the wall of my teenage bedroom was Mahatma Gandhi, giving his life for justice, yet saying, as he did: Real Beauty is my Aim. I knew, even then, what he meant. Goodness we may try to do, as best we can. Truth is what we strive to know. But beauty is the reason—the ultimate aim and end—the enchantment which makes our whole existence sing.
We have three pillars which ground our work at Ibu and I visit them at the beginning of each year to check on how we're doing. Feeding the world with beauty is one of those pillars. Re-enchanting the world—yes, that's it—with the beauty of and by women everywhere, each living into their own brilliant hour.
All the Best,