Dear Beauty,

Regardless of your gender, can you embrace the fullness of woman?

Her inner and outer beauty as well as her “flaws”?

I have been reflecting on all aspects of woman this past week.

Perhaps it is because I’m surrounded by them every day all day in my dance school.

Women of all ages and backgrounds, sizes, shapes.

Women with different personalities, moods, histories.

Beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful women.

They are warriors.

They are devotional. Loving. Moody. Temperamental. Generous. Kind. Sweet.

Perhaps I’m reflecting on the fullness of woman because I am in Mother India.

I celebrate her fullness. I celebrate her beauty as well as her challenges. She always has a story for me. A lesson. A reflection of myself. 

I was reminded of the fullness of woman this past Saturday as I watched my beautiful teacher perform “Durga” Odissi Classical Dance Choreography (in photos above, taken by Carrie Stiles). I think this was what inspired my current contemplation on the fullness of woman. Her performance set a mood in me that I have been aware of ever since. 

The first half of the epic dance piece highlights Durga as Divine Mother. Giver of life. Sensual. Ripe. Abundant

The second half of the piece celebrates Durga Ma as the slayer of demons (aka “illusion”). Fierce. Focused. No mercy. Chops off heads.

When most of us think of Durga Ma, we picture a fierce Goddess with multiple arms carrying multiple weapons. The slayer of demons, yes. But this dance piece reminds us that Durga IS Divine Mother embodied. That mother is a full embodied woman. She IS fullness.

I was also reminded of the fullness of woman as I witnessed my insecurities, fears and even jealous tendencies surface recently during a particularly challenging aspect of my dance training here in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

I was reminded of the fullness of woman as I adorned myself this past Wednesday with my teacher’s beautiful jewels and colorful clothing for a dance performance at a grand wedding.

I was reminded of the fullness of woman as I shed many tears today. Tears of relief, exhaustion, gratitude, hope, grief, desire, love, regret, guilt, fear, freedom, and wonder.

Women are complex. Women are multi-layered. Women are paradoxical. Women are phenomenal.

Embrace the fullness of woman. She is your sister, mother, daughter, friend.

She is you. She is me.