Do you remember the scene from Harry Potter, The Chamber of Secrets when Harry meets Fawks? The bird is scruffy and motley. His feathers are tattered. He looks old and tired. Dumbledore expresses regret. He explains Fawks is a Phoenix and this is a burning day.
Today, I feel like Fawks.
I feel scruffy and bedraggled. A deep grey stripe cuts the crown of my head and to me, it matters. I’ll happily accept other people’s hair in all its guises but if mine doesn’t match my expectation of how it ‘should be’, I worry. It’s not concern over what other people think, it’s deeper. It’s personal.
You’ve caught me on a burning day and my hair echoes my thoughts.
My hair springs from my head. The roots extend into my skull and if they’re grey, it feels as though my thoughts are grey. When my hair is ‘neat’ my thoughts are neat, when my hair goes its own free way, my thoughts are free. When I add colour, my thoughts are fresh. It feels as though when my hair is colourful and curly I get more done. My thoughts are more creative, my writing is lighter and I’m confident. Weird huh?
Maybe it’s not so weird.
Hair can be a metaphor. It has certainly been done before.
Remember the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. Samson told Delilah his great strength came from his hair. Unfortunately, Delilah betrayed him. She cut his hair and Samson lost his power.
Maybe you can see where I’m going with this?
Often strength is tied to self image. Physical appearance, or how you keep yourself, can reflect internal processes. Expressions such as ‘you are what you eat’ or ‘dress for success’ are examples. They show how appearance can extend beyond what other people see. They relate to your perception of yourself. They reflect self respect. How you think of yourself is often mirrored in the care you take with your appearance. When you respect yourself, it shows.
Of course there are times I’ve thought I looked good and others thought the opposite. I remember arguments with my parents where I thought I looked sensational but they were horrified – ‘oh no Nicole’ they’d say, ‘you’re not wearing that’.
Putting generational fashion sense, social conventions, uniforms and business attire aside, our personal impression of how we look and the effort we’re willing to put into our appearance may offer metaphorical clues to what’s happening internally.
Again, I need to be clear, I’m not advocating a particular appearance or specific level of self care. I’m also not saying one way is better than another. Rather, I’m suggesting you consider your eccentricities in terms of dress or, as in my case, hair. You may learn something about your personal metaphors.
I feel better when my hair is the way I like it – be it curly and coloured, straight and refined or serviceably tied in a ponytail on the top of my head. I style my hair for a particular moment. Then my thoughts are in order and ready for a particular situation. I feel strong and able to do what I need to do.
The metaphor runs even deeper. Remember Fawks the Phoenix. He is scruffy on a burning day. However, when he looks his worst he is ready to combust, burn and rise from ashes. He starts again from a raw state and matures into a strong force. It is a cycle.
This is what I remember today. Today I feel scruffy and disheveled. My thoughts are scattered and messy. But tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow the grey stripe will disappear and, just as I can change my appearance, I can change my state of mind. This hair metaphor helps me see I have the power to choose more playful thoughts. It also reminds me when things seem to be their worst, change is just ahead.
I will be strong again.
At this point I need to make a confession. This post was based on a journal entry. I wrote the journal the day before my hairdresser appointment. The journaling process helped me move through troubling thoughts. Rather than being stuck in grey, I’m not worthy judgments, I used the burning day metaphor to understand what was happening in my mind. Rather than worrying, I wrote. Journaling was my burning. Today, I reflect upon the journal entry. This offers even deeper awareness. I remember I am the author of my story. I remember I have the power to redirect my thoughts and I remember when I change the story, I change my life.
What story are you telling yourself today?
(image credit https://www.pottermore.com/image/harry-meets-fawkes)
Nicole provides the tools to feel better about yourself and your decisions. She offers a mindful approach to a strength based narrative. Nicole coaches you through the process of identifying your stories and distinguishing the ones that serve you from the ones that have been limiting you. We can arrange face to face coaching on the Gold Coast or in Sydney. Alternatively ask about our Skype sessions.
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