Own Your Magnificence!
Not long ago the amazing Dr. Maya Angelo passed away, leaving a legacy of words and actions that continue to inspire us to find the courage to figure out who we really are... who we really want to be. It took a re-reading of her marvelous poem called "Phenomenal Woman" to reignite my memories of another amazing woman who first taught me how to take ownership of my own magnificence.
Years ago, when I was a professional photographer -- one of my many incarnations -- I had the pleasure of photographing a fabulous "French" American born woman who had moved to Paris at the ripe old age of 20, simply because she adored everything French. After years of being a model, stylist, and beloved wife of an apparently adoring (deceased) husband, she was now in New York living a grand life to its fullest. To this day I don't know what possessed "Ma Mère," as I called her, to take me under her wing, but her sharing her secret has since taken me to places women far more beautiful, accomplished, wealthy, and successful have only dreamed of going. I say secret, opposed to secrets, because when the day was done, everything always came back to the most important lesson any woman or man can ever learn: How to Own Your Magnificence.
In a hundred different ways she encouraged me to love every single part of myself so there never would be any doubt of my own self-worth. Self-respect and self-confidence in whatever you chose to do were absolute. While other young women were being educated in the great value of mastering domestic skills and the various ways to accommodate others, I was being taught to embrace your own femininity, while always taking full responsibility for your mind, body, spirit and experiences. This jewel of a woman taught me the importance of only being led by the thoughts that empower and serve you, while consciously being on guard to eradicate and eliminate any negative ones -- no matter from whence they came -- that could get in the way of you loving your one-of-a-kind sparkling unique self!
I can still see Ma Mère sitting with me in the garden over afternoon tea, captivating and mesmerizing me with her fascinating stories while she weaved her lessons throughout, as one does with silk threads through fabric, to create a beautiful tapestry. With a glow coming off her that could light up the darkest corner she would begin to teach her little mentee this very important life lesson.
"Mon Chéri, if you want to be the kind of rare jewel worthy of love, adoration, and special care, you must develop a powerful ownership of your own magnificence -- which can only be generated from the inside out. The depth and the strength of your inner light is what makes a woman truly beautiful. When the outside begins to change possibly not so much to your liking -- as it will eventually for everyone -- others will barely notice. The brightness of your love and inner wisdom will diffuse any so called flaws, making you irresistible and unforgettable. Just like an expensive bottle of French parfum you will become cherished and intoxicating!"
Ma Mère was one of the most beautiful and exciting women I have ever known and those qualities never diminished. Men and women of all ages were enamored with her magnetic charm and the ageless beauty she wore like the finest cashmere scarf. She had such respect for the natural gifts she had been given, and embellishing them with care and adornment, was as natural to her as breathing. She could never understand why anyone would "poubelle leur temple," trash the temple that cares their soul. "How could anyone have such little respect for the body that the Source of it all has given them for the most incredible ride of your life? C'est fou, it's crazy." She totally believed in the idea of polishing "the outer stone," so that your body and physical presence metaphorically had the luster of a top grade jewel. But even more importantly, was working on all the inner wisdom and intuitions that makes every woman her own priceless work of art.
Lighting up every room you walk into means to always Own Your Magnificence. Owning your perfection without any false pride or arrogance is simply knowing how special you really are, and how lucky any man or woman, lover or friend is to have you in their life. Some of the best advice my adored Ma Mère gave me was to never forget that unequivocally, nothing is more irresistible than a truly confident woman. She would say, "You must always be 'à l'aise dans votre peau, comfortable in your own skin, and never be an imitation of anyone but yourself." When you Own Your Magnificence you send out an undefinable energy that makes you light up every room you walk into and everywhere you go. You become like the Eiffel Tower light show at midnight on New Year's Eve: Unforgettably electrifying. En-JOY!
This is an excerpt from a new release coming this Fall entitled, Life -- Lust & Love, Shared Secrets from a Seasoned Woman.