The Dharma of the Diva: Collision Course or Compromise? ~ Angie Wright-Nash

Via elephant journal
on Jun 1, 2013
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Source: via Ruben on Pinterest
Source: via Ruben on Pinterest

I’m fancy—I might even be a little prissy and I am definitely girlie.

I am a self-professed high heel and handbag aficionado, as well as a lover of all things cosmetic-related.

I enjoy it—I read the blogs, I write a blog (sporadically—you haven’t heard of it) and I don’t remember a time when this wasn’t something that appealed to me.

One of my earliest memories is watching my mother sit at a mirror and put on makeup, and then don a pair of go-go boots to go out for the evening. She was a single mom in the late 1960s, and she got me a pair of boots that matched hers; I haven’t been the same since.

Not long ago, someone mentioned to me that my little shoe fetish (okay, not-so-little) and love of eyeliner makes me a “bad Buddhist.” I’m not “natural” enough—I am too engaged in craving and desire, and don’t have a deep enough understanding of true suffering, if I’m hosting a kick-ass shoe collection and 24 shades of Lip Tar, or I own more than one designer handbag, or I use shampoo.

I’m sorry, what?

I’ve met a lot of Buddhists throughout my journey; very few of them were obviously unwashed, and as far as I could tell, most of them were wearing shoes. So I will take a moment to thank my acquaintance, for sending me back to the teachings of the Buddha for my answers and a deeper understanding, rather than marinating in a pool of anger and continuing to move forward in darkness.

As we all know, the Buddha was born into a life of wealth and privilege. He chose to leave that environment to seek enlightenment at the age of 29, realizing that luxury could not provide the keys to life’s happiness. I feel strongly that while I enjoy shoes (and purses and makeup and all the other “girlie” things), as long as I do not attach spiritual and emotional happiness to them, it does not interfere with my spiritual journey.

Likewise, individuals pursue hobbies and purchase things for those hobbies; at no point in Buddhist dharma does it discourage the pursuit of a hobby nor is it indicates that the only true path is one of pure asceticism.

I feel equally strong in respect to the disposal of my clothing, shoe and handbag items; for example, when I tire of things, I dispose of them through donations to charitable organizations or I give them to people that I know can make use of them.

When I purchase products, I purchase from corporations who demonstrate responsible business practices.

I purchase items made from sustainable materials, whenever possible. I recycle my containers (many companies have their own recycling programs, now—MAC Cosmetics immediately comes to mind, where if you save five containers and return them to the counter, they’ll reward you with a new lipstick).

Responsibility is key, and it’s all about being personally mindful.

The things that I enjoy, and my desire to enhance my appearance, do not interfere with my personal journey toward enlightenment. I have a good grasp of the concept of impermanence based upon the relationships in my life, both those I have and those I’ve lost.

Trust me when I say that it’s a lot less painful to break a heel on a favorite pair of shoes than to suffer through the loss of a 12-year marriage—the lesson of impermanence and “letting go” has been well-learned on more than one occasion.

If I had to walk away from it all tomorrow, I have a strong grasp of the concept.

So, all of this to say?

There’s no longer a crisis of conscience here.

The dharma side of my personality walks holding hands with the diva side, and they both respect and complement each other nicely.

Being a Buddhist doesn’t mean that you can’t be pretty; being stylish doesn’t mean you’re living a life at odds with seeking the truth and walking path toward enlightenment.

So look for me in your next yoga class: I’ll be the one wearing waterproof mascara and lip gloss.


Angie Wright-nashAngie is a grandma to one and mom to three grammar cop who doesn’t pay attention to anything long enough to actually finish it.




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5 Responses to “The Dharma of the Diva: Collision Course or Compromise? ~ Angie Wright-Nash”

  1. @yogatwit says:

    You go! 🙂
    Thanks I liked that.


  2. JAG says:

    In Southeast Asia, many countries are primarily Buddhist. There are many people in these countries that are wealthy and middle class and have their fair share of materialistic items. So those that say you are not "Buddhist" by having material items, well they should take a look in the part of the world where Buddhism originated and try telling these people that they aren't true Buddhists. It is the same as any Christian, Muslim, or Jew that practice their faith but also live in today's world.

    Time changes. Culture changes. Ideals, beliefs, opinions, and politics adapt. Religions are not stagnant. They are human created therefore they change with the times… And that's okay.

  3. Ryan says:

    Stuff…hmm. I’m not sure there’s a good way to consume stuff you don’t need.
    I always try to ask myself if I would still want something if I were secluded on a desert island with no one else around to see it. That way I know I’m buying it for me and not my ego. I don’t care how consciously or sustainably you consume something, if you buy it for your ego its not a good thing- whatever your religion. I have some things that could be considered extravagant, my stereo for instance, but you bet your ass I would still have bought it if I was the the last person on earth. I still buy stuff I don’t need but I’m not proud of it and it usually makes me feel bad later.

  4. Jenny says:

    For me, there’s a fine line—- between noticing the fine lines on my face and wishing I was younger. This was a good piece on acceptance and celebration, accepting one’s humanness and celebrating authenticity. However, I do think it worth asking ourselves if the need for external validation and preconceptions of beauty is corporate society’s vision or our own?

  5. Julie says:

    I like this article and its honesty. Some people view makeup or shoes or whatever as a need for external validation or feeding the ego. But for others, it’s just FUN. I’m not a big makeup or handbag person, but i am usually the only person in my yoga class with painted toenails, sometimes purple, blue or bright turquoise. Not because I care what my toenails look like to others–I don’t even imagine that others notice!– but because it adds some color and fun to my life. These things are not always about ego, but even if they are a little, then it just means we are somewhere along our path…very few of us can say we have completely squashed all of the signs of our ego peeking out.