The Art of Being Lovely

”If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~~ Roald Dahl


(Photo Courtesy of Humanity Behind a Sunbeam)

Who out there has ever read a Roald Dahl book or seen a movie adaptation of any of his books? If you’ve seen or read “James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (think Willy Wonka), or “Matilda” and enjoyed, then you probably appreciate Dahl’s ability to write things that make us stand up and take notice.

In my yoga classes this past week, I focused on the concept of energy. Lots of people associate energy with “levels”…you know, when people say things like, “She is so high energy!” or “Man, I have no energy today.” But I’m talking about your TYPE of energy…in other words, positive vs. negative. You know what I mean?

Merriam-Webster’s Web site defines energy as:


So the energy I’m focusing on in my classes with my students relates to definition 1C above, which is “a usually positive spiritual force.” And THAT is what Roald Dahl is talking about in his quote above, which comes from his book, “The Twits”. In that book, the main character’s wife is considered to have grown uglier over the years due to her ugly thoughts. The full quote is this:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. … A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

You know, I think this is SO TRUE! I really do. I can’t tell you how many people I know who wouldn’t be considered “lovely” or “beautiful” when judged by the conventional definition (I include myself in this mix, by the way)…they may be overweight, or have physical deformities, or (God forbid!) GRAY HAIR! But when I look at many of these people, all I can think of is how lovely and beautiful they are. And it’s because of their positive energy…they just radiate it from the inside out to a degree that it’s infectious and makes me feel great about the world.

There are others I know who are DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS. They could be in magazines, as they are THAT stunning. But there are many of them who, if you asked me, I would call UGLY. And it’s because they are nasty on the inside…never a nice thing to say, never thinking of anyone but themselves, never happy. Who wants to be around someone like that? Not me!

There are many people who tell me I am beautiful, and up until this week, I always thought to myself, “OK…what drugs are you on and can I have some? You MUST be on something if you think that about ME!” But, if I think about what Dahl said, then maybe I AM a lovely person. At least, I’d like to think so.

Of course, I know with 100% certainty that I have been prone to thinking ugly thoughts over my lifetime. I’m only human after all. I’m not sure anyone can be in Utopia ALL of the time. But I can say that the more I’ve evolved in my yoga practice (both the physical and the spiritual sides of yoga), the more I am able to be positive about things. I see good more than negative now, and that certainly makes me feel beautiful…probably because I just see more beauty around me with this more positive perspective.

A quote I shared with the classes I’ve been teaching this week has been one I came across by Shakti Gawain, who is an author of several personal development books. She said, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”

Hopefully, your inner guidance is one that is positive. If it isn’t, then think about evolving your own practice in a way that allows you to develop more positivity. Don’t expect perfection. We all have times when it’s just not easy to find something good in a particular situation. But if you can start to be more positive, even just a fraction of a bit more, you’ll be surprised at how much stress you’ll be able to shed, how much beauty you’ll begin to notice. Things suddenly don’t look so glum when there are sunbeams shining through.




5 thoughts on “The Art of Being Lovely

  1. Mary Kathryn Bailey July 4, 2014 — 1:09 AM

    What a beautiful and well written post!


    1. And so are YOU! Thank you for making my day…I needed to hear that today!


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