Braided hair has both aesthetic and historical significance. Interwoven strands bound together in elegant formations, being beautifully practical. Functionally, braids keep hairs out of our face, so we are able to carry on the work of the day. Aesthetically, braids are an accessory to frame the face and accessorize the head. Many cultures throughout history have created braids that hold special significance relating to age, religion, status, etc. However, today we seem to have lost these meanings. Instead we focus specifically on the pleasing design.
I love the braid, but I prefer to go beyond merely its beauty. I want to share with you four lessons that the braid has taught me about life.
First Lesson: Community. With the braid, many strands are brought together as one. We as individuals are many and have our own minds, do our own things. Generally, we go our own way-not to the benefit anyone else. But when we come together, there is strength of mind, a singularity of purpose, with the same goal.
Second Lesson: Variation. The braid is created by overlapping sections of hair one over the other in a predictable way, the left-middle-right-middle-left-middle path continues as such until arriving at the braid's end. In life, too, there is variation and change. Good things happen, and then some not-so-good-things happen. Especially at "bad" times, it seems as if more of the not-so-good occur than the good or the "just okay". But if you step back from any specific situation, you will see it resembles more of the braid-like cycle.
Third Lesson: Empowerment. The braid orders what is not in order. It guides the hair with predetermination the finished product. Empowerment is when we realize that we can have an affect on our world. We can guide what is out of line, clarify that which is confusing, control what is out-of-control, and order our life in a way that better suits us. We, like the braid, are able to do this.
Fourth Lesson: Completion. The braid is always completed in a clearly defined way, by rubber bands, ribbons, hair clips, thread, bobby pins, beads, braiding to the tip, twisting ends or by some other method. If not, all the work will become undone. An ending always signifies completion of the braid. Whenever we start a project we must finish in a significant way to indicate we have done the job well and our work cannot come apart. How do we finish a task, project, or job? Make sure the order that is created at the beginning is what you end with. Make sure what is created will maintain itself after moving onto another project. A secure finish means to create the means or mechanism that insures that will happen. Whether your "braid" is raising a child, setting up a restaurant, or studying for a test. With this, you will know you're braid is complete.
Remembering these four braid lessons are a help to me. They remind me to make good choices and walk in the right direction.
So next time you don't know what to do in a situation-perhaps you should gather your hair for some braid wisdom.