Beauty and the invitation to let go

A few days ago I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. I was delighted to see him, we hugged and exchanged some updates about our lives. I felt vibrant and enthusiastic, but somehow that didn’t translate into our communication. Something in my facial expression felt weirdly off. The feedback I got from my face’s muscles didn’t seem to reflect the emotion I was feeling.

What’s happening with my face?

The left side of my tongue had been numb for a little over a day as well, and as I became aware of the strange sensations in my face, suddenly an unsettling understanding kicked in. I rushed to the toilet and tried to smile at myself in the mirror. Bang, there it was. My face was split in half: the right half was my familiar face, with fine lines, a few wrinkles and full of expression. The left half looked years younger and strangely still… moving the muscles required hard work and sorted minimum effects. What was going on?!


Lately, I have been reflecting on the changes of my body. Skin is wrinkling and getting saggy in places, cellulitis is showing and my breasts and arms are not as firm as they used to be. My joints need longer to readjust after sitting in one posture for some time. It’s not as easy to jump a fence as it was only a few years ago. These things are moving from subtle changes into unmistakable first signs of decay. As everything in nature and life is a constant movement of birth and death, so is this body…

‘You are so beautiful’

For most of my life (and still now) I have felt incredibly blessed with having a healthy, pretty body and face. Wherever I go, people respond positively to the way I look. I have often been told I look beautiful. I have always appreciated my luck and also always known that this beauty was futile and fleeting when just concerning the outside, the packaging. That could all fall away in a split second. And then what’s left? My efforts in self development have therefore mostly been on the inside, and much less the outside. These last days, I have thanked myself over and over for that.

Bell’s Palsy

So now here it is: a facial paralysis. The doctor gave it a name: Bell’s palsy (my Mac has a sense of humor and keeps trying to autocorrect it into Bell’s party). There is about an 80% chance the nerve will fully recover within a month or three, and I trust that it will be so. (Especially when watching the video, I seem to have a rather mild case.) And whatever is here to stay, is welcome as well. I am inviting in whatever experience is here to unwind any false attachments.


It is with wonder that I look at my new face these days. In a way, it’s a look back into the past, because in the ‘silent’ part of my face, there are no more wrinkles nor frowns. The paralyzed part of my face is youthful and serene, like the effects botox would have (free trial, yay 😉 ).

Also, eating and drinking are a whole new experience. Whatever is not working now, shows the intricate teamwork of so many facial muscles that usually provide for a pleasant, clean and efficient meal.

Sad about the loss of expression

What saddens me, is the changed look of spontaneous laughter and surprise, or love, or friendliness on my face. When I express these emotions while seeing myself, for example when making a Skype call, I can see it looks off. I’m becoming aware of how much the expression of an emotion also feeds back into the experience of a situation. When I laugh out loud and see or feel my face ‘stuck’ in a different configuration of muscle tensions, the emotion doesn’t last as long and changes into something new faster.

Why hide?

Plus, of course, people’s reactions are different. With strangers I sometimes want to hide my face. With family and friends it feels ok to be naked like this. I will have the next couple of weeks to explore this further.

What’s this telling me?

And then there is the question of how I invited this medical situation into my life. It’s a huge signpost that something wants to be changed. I am making small changes to my diet, have started eating meat and fish every now and then because it feels good for my body in this moment and I have let go of sugary candies again. It’s also inviting a deeper look into self expression in my life. Writing, dancing, playing music, conversations with people, work, relationship, physical activity. I realized that I need to move way more than I have in the past couple of months.

What remains of me?

And most of all, it is inviting me to let go of any false image that remains of ‘me’. It is great to enjoy a body that works without fail and looks pretty, making it easy to connect with others and express myself. But what remains of me when that falls away? Is it anything less? As with the aging process, thoughts arise about parts of this body being unpleasant to look at, accompanied with feelings of unworthiness. The clear seeing of this knows without question that this is utter bullshit, but the thoughts arising deserve attention rather than just being cast aside as nonsense.

I can see how this party Mr Bell is throwing for me could be here to show me exactly that.


PS: although the video shows the case a bit milder than it actually is, I have already seen some improvements since this morning and I am in good hopes that all function will return. Many cases of Bell’s may be more severe than this one.


About the Author:

I love being creative in helping people (and their businesses) glow. As a person and an entrepreneur, my motivation is to live a free, happy and meaningful life and to inspire and support others in doing the same. I create websites for socially conscious entrepreneurs, write articles, cater retreats and facilitate workshops, often traveling, while mostly based in The Netherlands. Connection is key, so drop me a line in the comments or head over to the contact page!


  1. Ton Bil September 5, 2015 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Dear Judith, I am one of those who always saw your beauty. Let me tell you two things: (1) whatever decay, I think a human body is like a flower: it’s beautiful in every stage of its life. (2) whatever happens to your mind, your self is beautiful as well. I think you might become a maniac or anything, and I would still think you are worthy of my friendship and love.

    Does this mean you’re not special, and I would express this to everyone in any situation? Jein, “ja und nein”, as the germans say. Yes, you are not special – you are one of trillions of sentient beings who live on the planet and display the beauty of their very existence. No, I admit that I’ve been so lucky as to experience your smile, full of love and friendship, of good intentions and a cultivated soul. You are dearer than dear to me, and I am very grateful to know you, and be able to express this on your blog.

    Worries about your worthiness are understandable – and really, there is nothing to identify with, apart from your sentience, your awareness, which you have so carefully cultivated that it shines like a diamond as long as you live.

    May Mr Bell’s party end one day soon, may you be in good health for all of your life.

    • Juuth September 5, 2015 at 4:06 am - Reply

      Thank you, my dear dear Ton, for your loving words <3

  2. Edu September 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Hey Juuth,
    Congrats on the way you face the decay we all encounter on our journey throug Life.
    But don’t worry too much about this nerve infection. I’ve had it myself a few years ago and after my physician identified and explained it to me, I decided to stay alway from antibiotics as there was no proof that this would be effective. And lo & behold, a week later everything was back to normal.
    It can hit anybody at any age, there’s only speculation on both what causes it and what will help.
    But it will go away and as your physical condition was o.k., sooner rather than later, me thinks.

    All the best!

    • Juuth September 24, 2015 at 1:57 am - Reply

      Right Edu, healing is going rapidly! Thanks for the support!

  3. Ronja Sebastian September 6, 2015 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Hey Juuth, thank you so much for sharing this! Your words touch me.
    I love you!

    • Juuth September 24, 2015 at 1:58 am - Reply

      And I love you Ronja, sweet kiss 🙂

  4. Cynthia September 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Dear Judtih,

    Today on Facebook I saw that Carla had like something you had posted and I was curious, thinking: Judith, Carla’s niece, I haven’t seen her since the remembrance of Carla’s mum. On your Facebook page I saw a photo that led my to this blog. What a wonderful blog, what a beautiful text, and funny too!. I can really relate to it, as I have often asked myself the question: who am I? In terms of my bad knee, my career, my love life. Who am I without good mobility, without a thriving career, without a boyfriend, without a huge social circle of friends…. What remains, what defines me….My answer is, the me beyond all that, beneath all that. Sometimes hard to find, but so much more fulfilling than the hustle and bustle of every day life. Like you write: ‘there is nothing to identify with, apart from your sentience, your awareness…’ Even so, I wish for you a swift recovery, good health. And you still look amazingly beautiful to me. Thanks for sharing, love, Cynthia

    • Juuth September 24, 2015 at 2:03 am - Reply

      So nice to hear from you Cynthia! Thank you and indeed, I find a truer ‘me’ beyond all appearances, beyond form and beyond words and thoughts, just conscious presence witnessing the eternal joke ;).

  5. Juuth - Coconut Lemongrass Ginger Curry September 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    […] healing from Bell’s Palsy (a partial face paralysis) and chronic sinusitis, I notice my body feels like eating lots if roots, bulbs and […]

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