Tanya Wright is an actress (Orange Is the New Black and True Blood), author, natural hair influencer and all around curlfriend so when she shared an excerpt of her book "I Found God In My Hair, 98 spiritual principles I learned... from my hair!" we were intrigued. Tanya is currently fundraising for her latest project "HAIRiette of HARLEM," the first interactive natural hair web series. You can help support HAIRiette here.
The following is an excerpt from her book "I Found God In My Hair."
For many, “God” is a very loaded word. I get it. I grappled with changing the title for fear that I might alienate people, especially the ones that were too cool, too smart or simply didn’t believe in God. Trust me, I’ve gone through my own rocky relationship with the man (or woman?) upstairs. I went round and round on this and came back to my first choice title, mostly because it was true.
This book is about the things I learned about life via my relationship with what has been the bane of my existence for most of my existence: MY HAIR! I was responsible for putting the physical time, research and energy into the book, but the inspiration to write it—the thing that kept goading me forward—is something (or someone) I can’t fully explain. Also inside are fun quotes by some folks you know and love, plus photos of my various roles as an actress and all my hairstyles along the way.
Read on to see the first seven of Tanya's 98 spiritual principles she learned from her.
one: infinite possibilities
I am a dreamer--for sure. But dreams rarely become a reality until you take action. I am an obsessive finisher and terribly, terribly determined -- perhaps it's the Taurus in me! Once I get a goal fixed in my mind, I rarely veer off course until I have achieved it, no matter how large the task.
Here's the thing: I believe that one of the prerequisites of dreaming is that you have to believe that what you dream is possible in order for it to become true! And the truth is anything is possible! The world is made up of infinite possibilities.
Our hair is made up of millions of hair follicles, too; follicles are CIRCULAR in shape, like the letter "o" or the number 0. According to the dictionary, this shape is also representative of "pure potentiality," it is also the "number from which all numbers spring forth." In essence, we have thousands and thousands of "o's" atop our head.
My hair is a reminder that I have infinite possibilities at my disposal.
Length is a popular desire among most women with textured hair—who doesn’t want a long, luxurious mane? But growing your hair requires patience—length just doesn’t happen overnight. When you see a gal with long, flowing coifs you can be sure that it took a while to get it there.
For me, patience is the “trait most desired”. Whenever I feel myself getting impatient, I instinctively switch my thoughts to the present moment and start breathing– whatever it is I’m waiting for invariably comes without me being stressed and pressed about it and often when I’m not looking at all. I does feel like “a watched pot never boils.”
My hair journey has been very long and extremely windy. My hair teaches me to have patience.
Did you know that our hair is the most indestructible part of our bodies? It contains our DNA—that’s pretty strong! Sometimes we get swept to and fro by the tide of life—we are happy when we have ‘good’ days, and not-so-much when we have ‘bad’ ones. There is a part in all of us that isn’t swept by the tide, no matter what our external world looks like, no matter what changes in fortune for us.
My hair teaches me that, no matter what I may ex- perience in the external world, that I am indestructible.
Ah, curls! I have lots of them, all over my head. Springy coils that swing to my shoulders when wet and shrink up toward my scalp when they’re dry. I can pull a curl taught and release it and it snaps back—like a rubber band. Life is full of changes, so sometimes, I have to change direction, chart another course. This has hap- pened to me more times than I care to count!
My hair teaches me to be elastic so that I can deal with whatever twists and turns life throws at me.
“People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.”
— Dolly Parton
People tell me all the time I’m a chameleon—I can look very different from one day to the next. The truth is, my look—what I wear, how I wear my hair— depends largely on how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I am an actress so my profession demands that I be versatile, but in life, I have found it’s good to be versatile, too. The ability to relate to different kinds of people—to move from one group to the next and have something in common with all of them—is a sign of a versatile person.
My hair teaches me to be versatile.
My hair journey started from one simple idea: “if I could get control of my hair, maybe—just maybe— I can get control of my life!” My professional life is always changing—it’s unpredictable! It’s hard to plan things in advance because the circumstances of my life can change on a dime—and often has. Before I read the book “Curly Like Me” (a great book for women with naturally textured hair written by Teri LaFleur), I had resigned myself to the fact that my hair was just something I would not be able to control— ever. ‘Curly Like Me’ gave me hope; it helped me to see that there WAS a method to the madness, and there WAS a way to deal with my hair where I was in control of it instead of feeling like it was always in control of me.
My hair teaches me that I have control.
“It’s the way we treat the hair once it’s on top of our heads that literally makes it or breaks it.”
“My hair is like a box of chocolates: I never know what I’m gonna get”. Rather than get attached to the result of something—of thinking that things should look and be a way that they aren’t—I have learned not to get attached to a fixed picture in my mind. Letting go of attachment is, perhaps, one of the most profound life lessons I’ve ever learned. Almost all of the world’s spiritual teachers say that attachment most often leads to misery.
My hair has taught me to detach myself from results.
Be sure to check out "HAIRiette of HARLEM," the first interactive natural hair web series. You can help support HAIRiette here.