Guest Artist Series: Thru Beauty's Lindsey Lugsch-Tehle
This week on the Guest Artist Series we're learning a bit more about how mental illness has informed the process of Thru Beauty's Lindsey Lugsch-Tehle. This is an incredible story that is close to my heart - I know you'll enjoy catching up with Lindsey. <3
Throughout my life I have struggled with depression and anxiety.
I was initially diagnosed with minor/moderate depression when I was 18 years old and then again when I was in my early 30’s. Minor/moderate depression is sort of difficult to explain. It isn’t major depression or bipolar disorder, there are not specific symptoms to point to and say, “look, see, I’m sick”; rather, it is more of a low level undertone of lethargy and disconnect that I felt from people and life in general.
At several points my relationships with friends and family suffered, which left those closest to me wondering what was going on with me. It can be hard for someone who has never had such an experience to relate, and at times people have said to me “it isn’t like there is ‘actually’ something wrong with you or your life”. I get it. I do. Unless you’ve lived it, it’s really difficult to understand. I don’t even understand most of the time, and I’m the one living the challenge.
With anxiety it has been a little bit different. I have never been diagnosed, and I haven’t struggled with it for as long as I have with depression; however, in the last couple years of my life it has been a bit more of a burden than depression ever was. Essentially everything in life became a task on my to-do list—from making dinner and doing laundry to connecting with friends and talking with my husband, and as such I became very transaction with people, rather than relational— lacking emotional connection and vulnerability.
Truth-be-told, my depression and anxiety seemed to feed each other. It’s as though I moved through life experiencing disconnection and overwhelm. While there are other factors, much of this feeling escalated when I launched my business just over a year ago. It is easy to get swept up in the hype that in order to make it as an entrepreneur we must “hustle”. But I’m not so sure.
My journey to lift the fog of depression and remove the chains of anxiety had lead me to believe that there is a major difference between trying to force things to happen through busy work and being actively engaged in my craft from a place of flow. For me, the former is hustling, it is out of sync with the rhythm of life from a place of scarcity, fear, and control—it is exhausting. The latter is heart, it is moving with the rhythm of life from a place of gratitude, humility, and trust—it is life-giving. Engaging in life from a place of scarcity and control has only ever increased my symptoms of depression and anxiety, while engaging in life from a place of gratitude and trust has lessened their hold on me enabling me to actually do the things I long to do and be the person I long to be.
So how do we make this shift from hustle to heart? Interestingly, this is what my work is all about! Beauty.
“Our joy in the Beautiful is as native to us as our breath.” ~John O’Donohue
Think about it, do you have to convince yourself to be happy at the sound of your favorite song or the smell of your favorite food? Do you have to talk yourself into joy at the sight of a glorious sunrise or the smile of a wee baby? No! The beauty of such experiences instantly ignites a joy in your veins you cannot deny. In the same way that you need not be conscious of your breath to breathe, you do not need to be conscious of that which is Beautiful to be enlivened by it. However the more conscious of Beauty you are, the more meaningful your experience of it.
“What delights us in visible beauty is the invisible.” ~Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach
It is that ethereal, ephemeral, indescribable thing that makes the beautiful Beautiful—the spirit that pervades and animates all of life. Realizing this can transform our relationship with that which we perceive as beautiful, especially our own beauty—for each of us is beautiful. Truth-be-told we are often encouraged to stop seeking validation as a way to be Whole. And while in theory I agree, I think it’s more nuanced than this.
I wholeheartedly believe we need to behold our own unique beauty—what I call the ABC’s of Beauty: appearance, brilliance, and character—and recognize that we are our own validation. Our validation is inherent in our worth as noble souls. So yes, we need to stop seeking validation outside of ourselves, and instead seek for it in the mine of our own beings. For each of us is a noble soul, and once we accept this truth, with humility at the recognition of where this nobility truly comes from, we will be validated in a way no outside person or force can provide.
“Beauty calls us beyond ourselves and it encourages us to engage the dream that dwells in the soul.” ~John O’Donohue
Recognizing this inherent beauty within us awakens our own calling and invites it out into the world. It beckons. It draws our attention to our purpose, and provides us the energy and is the volition we need to engage in our work. For me, this has been the antidote to my depression and anxiety. When I honor Beauty and express all that is noble within me from my heart—from a place of gratitude, humility, and trust—I am no longer held captive by the feelings of scarcity, fear, and control that locked me away in the first place.
About the Author
Lindsey Lugsch-Tehle grew up on a farm in rural Iowa—surrounded by the sounds, fragrances, and colors of the natural world. This environment stimulated both her intellect and her spirit, cultivating within her a curiosity and creativity that has translated into the work she does today. With a deep affinity for all things beautiful, Lindsey strives to capture moments of beauty with her paintbrush and camera lens—both languages that transcend syllables and sounds. Her calling has always been to assist individuals to return home thru beauty—the kind of homecoming within one's self that only true beauty can provide. She is a beauty activator, branding photographer, and abstract painter.