Since I was a little girl, I have loved beautiful hands and manicured nails. (I also find hands that are twisted and knotty like tree trunks beautiful, but that’s an ode for another article. I think I might have a hand fetish. That is yet another article or, better yet, a craigslist post.)
Before I dive in, though, I will confess that I feel a certain degree of some kind of way about claiming that getting my nails done positively transforms the ills of the world in which we live. However, I am perfectly comfortable saying that there are times when pleasure for pleasure’s sake (or beauty for beauty’s sake) nourishes our souls; people with nourished souls are maybe less inclined to be out and about in the world being terrible to others. I think, by the end of this tribute to the ways in which manicures have changed my life, you might just be on board, yourself.
Getting Manicures Cultivates a Sense of Gratitude
I have said, on more than one occasion, that if I had financial resources without limit, I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time buying stuff, but that my patronage alone would keep the alternative health care service industries of Northern California in the black. I love massages. I love them firm, I’ll tolerate them soft. I love almost any kind of getting pampered. For a very short time I thought I might want to go into massage as a career until I came to my senses and realized that I wanted to get massages not give them! Consequently, though, I am deeply appreciative for the time, effort and energy it takes to provide any sort of well-being care to clients. I love people who take on doing things I don’t want to do and then do them really well.
Whenever I get a manicure I take some time to close my eyes, breathe deeply, focus on the sensations and the smells (which I love, unhealthy though they may be), and to practice consciously receiving and feeling my gratitude for every moment. I’m sure I look like a wackadoodle but since I usually go to a salon near San Francisco’s Haight street, I’ve decided I’m probably the closest thing to normal they see all week. It can be easy to go in and zone out, talking on the phone, reading or surfing on the ever present webs. I’ve found, though, that when I approach this time as a deliberate slowing down, consciously experiencing each step of the process, I leave there feeling as though I’ve released weeks’ worth of tension. I’m lighter, freer and plus my nails are so pretty!!!
Getting Manicures Brings Families Together
My sweetheart and I recently shared a lovely chuckle over my passionate response to a manicure. He was laughing at the number of times I said, “Look how beautiful my hands are!” in a two hour period. I was enthralled by the beauty of the sparkle on my fingertips. Whatever the reason, the amount of time we spent smiling and gazing into one anothers’ eyes during that exchange surely got some endorphins flowing.
Happy people share their happy with others.
Getting Manicures Makes One a Financial Glamazon
I made a commitment to begin treating myself to manicures at a time when it felt like all of the money coming into my bank account already belonged to someone else and I was just holding it for them until they came and took it from me. I took some time to reevaluate my budget and decided that, if the money was going to flow, I was going to be more assertive about choosing it’s direction. In short, I stopped being a victim of my finances. I figured out how much I needed for all of my bills to be paid on time and in full each month and decided to begin putting a certain amount of money into a ‘Pleasure’ checking account. I found that it was easier to stick to my budget, track my monthly expenditures, and develop a savings cushion when I had an account where I could spend EVERYTHING in it, each month, with no regrets. Having that monthly manicure to look forward to motivated me to stay on top of my other money management responsibilities.
In addition to all of that, I’ve found that my pleasure in having beautiful hands and nails extends to loving to see my hands writing checks and paying bills and taking care of business, in general. I feel an increased sense of appreciation that I can pay my bills and feed my family every month, and gratitude for those whose work provides the services that support our home.
Getting Manicures Makes One a Philanthropist
I first began getting my nails done as a treat, thinking it might only last a couple months. Then I realized, that if the money was going to be “spent” and I would reach a “zero sum” each month then I had room for other things like generosity for others, too. As a result, 2013 was the first year that I consciously selected an organization doing good work in the world and decided to commit to making a monthly donation to support what they were doing for others. (By the way, the organization I selected was the Homeless Prenatal Program. Check them out, donate or contact them to learn more about volunteering opportunities.)
Getting Manicures Brings One Closer to the Sacred
As I already stated, getting and having my nails manicured has deepened my skills as a meditating mama jama. From the process of receiving to the activities I am doing every day, manicures are a great anchor to keep me focused and appreciative in the present.
Getting Manicures Brings One Closer to the Sensual
Well, obviously, you go and get stroked and massaged and then coated in shiny colors, you’re going to be oozing happy. Or at least I am. Maybe manicures just aren’t your thing and won’t be. Whatever your thing is, though, I encourage you to be unwavering about finding something that makes you ooze happy. It will get all over the rest of your life and cause all kinds of lovely transformations.
For some reason, I keep returning to a challenge a teacher (and a sacred sensualist in her own right) presented to me a couple years ago, “How do you expect to create peace in the world if you can’t even find peace within yourself?” Slowing down, finding stillness, being in gratitude and appreciation, stepping into personal financial excellence, practicing generosity toward others, making time and space to honor myself and to celebrate beauty and much more have all come out of my year of sacred manicure practice. So now, I invite you, I’m changing my world one manicure at a time. Would you care to join me?
Nadirah is a sacred sensualist, a mother, a writer, and, clearly, obsessed with manicures and pampering as sacred arts. While writing this article, she paused “to allow the words to flow” and gazed at her nails at least 32 times. You can learn more about Nadirah at her site Sacred Sensual Living and by liking her Facebook page.