Substance Over Form

"I'm learning that for a variety of reasons, I've spent much of my life focusing on form rather than substance. My focus has been on having my hair done perfectly, wearing the right clothes, having my makeup applied perfectly, living in the right place, furnishing it with the right furniture, working at the right job, and having the right man. Form, rather than substance, has controlled my behavior in many areas of my life. Now, I'm finally getting to the truth. It's substance that counts."

There is nothing wrong in wanting to look our best. Whether we are striving to create a self, a relationship, or a life, we need to have some solid ideas about what we want that to look like.

Form gives us a place to begin. But for many of us, form has been a substitute for substance. We may have focused on form to compensate for feeling afraid or feeling inferior. We may have focused on form because we didn't know how to focus on substance.

Form is the outline; substance is what fills it in. We fill in the outline of ourselves by being authentic; we fill in the outline of our life by showing up for life and participating to the best of our ability.

In life, we're learning to pay attention to how things work and feel, not just to what they look like.

Today, I will focus on substance in my life. I will fill in the lines of myself with a real person - me. I will concentrate on the substance of my relationships, rather than what they look like. I will focus on the real workings of my life, instead of the trappings.

-Melody Beatte, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents©1990

Another week goes by, so quickly, so very quickly. The seasonal decorations are on the houses, and in the forests as well. Brighten yourself up, even through the gloom of the weather, the short days and long nights. Take heart that, at the end of the seasons of decay and cold, there will be those of light and rebirth. Under the stark bones of the landscape that winter brings lies the seeds of new life and magnificent beauty.

Mulch the garden, and make beautiful that which you can in your yard, now. Days of Indian summer today will remind us of what has passed - and now is nearly gone - but not forever. Again, take heart! The Promise will be kept, and all will be restored, more beautiful and perfect than before.

Questions show the mind's range, and answers its subtlety.
--Joseph Joubert



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