“… he must have another look at her – not because of her beauty, not on account of the elegance and unassuming grace
of her whole figure, but because of something tender and caressing in her lovely face as she passed him.” – from novel Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy
It didn’t seem that long ago since I wrote. I usually save my letters for somewhere around mid month because like everyone else, my busiest times occur during
the start and the end of the month.
I pray all of you are safe and with your loved ones. My heart broke when I saw on the news how the earthquakes and tsunami hit Japan. Those images and videos are horrifying. There was this newsclip of a
Japanese aid worker looking crestfallen speaking to a man, “I’m sorry, I’m back here now (at the shelter) because I was told it’s not safe. I’m sorry I couldn’t find your wife.” I couldn’t see the man’s face but the memory of it really burned in me.
It made me appreciate life and my loved ones all over again. I realize how petty my concerns and annoyances are.
I am also amazed at how resilient the Japanese are. They inspire me to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Some of my local Japanese friends have gathered to raise funds for the disaster. A good friend will be putting up a dance (she’s a professional dancer) for the benefit. And so
in my own little way, I hope to help whenever I can. I would like to encourage you to help in whatever capacity you have. Check your local media for ways you may contribute.
As depressing as it may be now, I believe the Japanese will rebound and get back on their feet. You watch them! That is something I’m constantly amazed at the human race.
We have the ability to overcome, no matter how hopeless you think it may be.
This month, I worked on two elegant lessons, which are related to each other.
For the longest time, I’ve always wondered how to emulate the graceful behaviours of elegant women. If you watch older movies, especially those made from the 1950s and beyond, you can’t help but notice the elegance of the way women carried themselves.
If you have noticed the quote at the start of this letter (see below) from Leo Tolstoy, a renown Russian realist fiction writer, you can imagine he must have been inspired by one of the most elegant women who left him a deep impression of the true meaning of grace.
“… he must have another look at her – not because of her beauty, not on account of the elegance and unassuming grace of her whole figure, but because of something tender and caressing in her lovely face as she passed him.” – from novel Anna karenin
by Leo Tolstoy
Why are the actresses and women from the ‘best society’ (i.e. they had resources to develop themselves) from those times so completely self-possessed? How did they get that way?
A part of that graceful manner is deportment training. It seems that a few decades ago, deportment training was important. People back then also had wonderful models (their mothers) to emulate.
Read more about my blogpost about deportment – the art of being graceful.
That is a new section, which I hope to expand by going into further details (which unfortunately will take me some time, but you won’t miss it if you are on the mailing list.)
P.s. If you know anything about deportment or had the experience of learning deportment or have someone in your family who was trained, email me (hit reply), I would love to hear from you.
How to be gentle
The second ‘breakthrough’ for me was to learn how to be gentle. I wanted to find out
how to obtain that polished, finished manner that all elegant women had.
While I was not unfeminine in my manner (mostly), I never once thought ‘gentle’ as a personal description. Yet we can all think of someone we know who embodies the meaning ‘gentle’.
Personally, I’m a high-energy individual. In school, I excelled in sports, ran camps and campaigns, won awards for projects, gave speeches etc. At work, I could very intense and thrived on excitement. There was a lot of energy and animation in the way I spoke, especially if I was passionate about that subject.
And now? I’ve toned down a lot. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps it is due to the influence of my calm husband. It could be age. I’ve also simplified my life to gain more peace.
Maybe you are similar to me, maybe not. Some may struggle with out-of-control emotions, clumsiness, brash behaviours…and that’s where learning to be gentle helps with self-possession.
A gentle manner and nature adds to the beauty of a graceful and elegant woman.
I also realize it’s not that high energy is bad, but that learning to be gentle is a better way of transmuting that high energy into a polished ease.
See how to be gentle (if you have not clicked on the link before already.)
Be Kind To Yourself
Last but not least, I want to say to everyone, myself included, let’s not get into a self-blaming mode. Forget all the blunders you made! Don’t beat yourself up for it. If we make mistakes in our lives, let’s just move on elegantly.
We are inspired by what the Japanese are doing right now, keeping calm and carrying on.
Okay, have a lovely rest of the week! Thanks for reading!
Shalom (which in hebrew means wishing you peace, wholeness, perfect health and well-being), Eunice
s that will depend on funding and eager partners….but stay tuned!