I must admit, I never thought I would write a spiritual reflection about a manicure. But here it is.
I walked right up to a stranger at a school reading event and said, “I love your poems.” We have been friends ever since. I learned over our shared lunches that Carla is the mother of five children. When her youngest went off to college, she decided to go back school. She is strong, smart and loves to talk about life. I adore her, and look up to her as a mentor. She is a fierce supporter of my writing as well, and we always leave our little dates energized and alive.
Last week, she sent me a note asking if I was free to meet on Thursday. When I said yes, she informed me that she had made two appointments for manicures. I am not a manicure type of gal. Between doing sports as a kid and living an active adult life, I have never been able to keep my nails long or chosen to take the time to care for them. But I wanted to spend time with my friend, so I accepted the invitation.
I got off the train after a long day of work and walked into the spa with two heavy bags. A woman took my bags from me and motioned for me to sit down. I was not used to letting other people carry my load. When Carla arrived, I had her pick a color polish. I wasn’t used to making decisions that were purely aesthetic. She looked at me kindly and said, “You don’t do this much do you?” At that moment, I decided to surrender and enjoy every moment of being pampered. Carla had decided to do something fun and spontaneous just because, and I was going to make the most of it. A beautiful woman massaged my hands, soaked them in warm water and meticulously coated my nails multiple times. She carried my bags over to the drying area for me and massaged my upper back while my fingernails dried under warm blowing air. I felt the stress from the day thaw away. I smiled. It felt decadent and lovely. A small celebration of a part of my body I rarely take the time to notice or tend to.
I don’t think Thursday persuaded me to get manicures on a regular basis. But the invitation from Carla to do something out of my routine and let another person offer affection and attention for a brief time was a welcomed reminder that our spirituality, in part, is expressed through our bodies. When we acknowledge and celebrate our bodies, it can be part of our spiritual practice. Every time I look at my purple nails, I am reminded to take a deep breath and commit to being kind to myself, my body.
Do you have a friend like Carla, who can make you feel more alive?
Does sharing meals with people help you build intimacy in friendship?
What are activities that encourage you to be mindful and live in the moment?
What are ways that you let others take care of you?
What are relaxing activities that you enjoy alone? With your friends?
How will you take care of you today?
Photo courtesy of Your Sweet Bippy via Creative Commons License