The Tao of Marie

Cousin It Derek
I read yesterday’s post and decided that I’d had too much turkey, too much tryptophan actually, to have sufficient mental clarity to properly opine on the divine. Today I possess mental acuity thanks, in part, to the fact I have yet to break my overnight fast. The turkey omelet must wait while I wax philosophic for a spell.

Scientists search, a bit like pigs after truffles, for cures to heal us. Doctors prescribe drugs to relieve us. Cosmetic manufacturers create creams and gels and shampoos to give us a healthy glow. Dieticians create programs to slim us down, bulk us up, bolster our energy, keep us young. Mostly they make us poor and depress us. The diet industry alone took in more than $50 billion last year but has, get this, a 95% failure rate! What the hell? Why aren’t these people in jail?

If the divine can be bothered to dwell within us, doesn’t it make sense that all we seek might possibly reside there too? Why do we allow lesser mortals to define our highest and best? If the path to enlightenment is one we walk alone, the road to self-actualization is simply the other lane. The time spent hunting for essential oils would be better spent looking for the essential self.

I cannot, for a minute, separate my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves and still feel a sense of well-being and balance. Perhaps I am particularly sensitive in this area. Perhaps the essential “I” is a tightly-woven braid that feels mussed at the slightest breeze. Actually, I think the popularity of Bo Derek’s terrible movie 10 was a collective recognition of our inner corn rows. Perhaps you are pig tails or a pony tail or a big tangled mane. Perhaps you can stand in the midst of a cyclone and feel unruffled and focused. Maybe you even enjoy the wind in your hair because, after all, it is still hair no matter the form. But a braid does not have this luxury.

I am not mentally healthy when I am not physically sound. My thoughts scatter, if I can be bothered to think at all. To me, a rational and precise thinker, this does not feel right, or safe. I am emotionally fragile when I don’t have the support of my other strands. When I can’t think clearly, or I don’t feel physically healthy, I am a mess. Once, only once, I had what, in retrospect, was a migraine headache. I laid face down on the couch and sobbed, aloud, until it went away.

I am a hairy wisp of a girl in every way. Only when I am integrated can I feel the power of my inner braid. As if this necessary tidiness wasn’t difficult enough to maintain, there seems to be a power struggle within my strands. The physical strand determines the hairstyle. This is not a rational choice that I have made. It seems to have little to do with my conscious self. But from experience I know that if the physical strand feels powerful and centered, I am free to play with the other strands.

Psychologists have affirmed that this is the case for many. The physical is the lowest rung on Maslow’s ladder. It is primitive. A beast that must be pacified. Woe to the other strands if the physical isn’t happy. Only when I am pregnant can I let my hair down, let the strands commingle, and still feel whole. Maybe it is because I am sharing my body with another human being in an vital way, maintaining health my highest purpose, that the physical knows its importance and loosens its grip on the other strands. Or maybe it’s hormones or other biochemicals manifesting their influence. They are, after all, the scrunchie of the essential I. Without their cooperation, there is no braid. And they know it.

Human beings are unique. We each have different power structures, styles, desires, needs. We’ve encountered different weather conditions and live in different climates. If we want to know what our particular hairstyle is, and how it’s faring these days, we don’t need to look at a magazine or a television or even at our friends and family. No, to ascertain the condition of the hairstyle, the true self, the essential I, we need only natural light and a hand-held mirror.

1 thought on “The Tao of Marie

  1. Dearest Divinerie, please, oh please, do tell… what might a head of messy spikes, stripped of all essential color, reveal about one’s true self?

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