The Art of Beautiful Living

Laurel Colins |

Interior Decorator Vancouver

Interior Design Vancouver BC

Beautiful Living is simple enough. It is the art of finding the beauty in life. The beauty in every moment of every day.

Over the years it has become my practice to always look for the bright side or put a positive spin on any given situation. Thankfully I realized early in life that the power was within me to adapt to situations, either learn from the bad and move forward or wallow in it. I have done my fair share of wallowing, and I actually believe it is an important part of beautiful living.

It makes sense that to really appreciate the beauty and miracles in this world you need to experience pain and suffering. To me beauty and ugly(for lack of a better word) are one in the same. You don’t get one without the other, it is yin and yang. It is in the accepting of the ugly and allowing it to ‘be’ and appreciating it for how wonderfully ugly it is that the beauty emerges.

I adore finding beauty in the imperfect and unexpected and it is my mission to help others find beauty when they have thought it is lost.

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Although I have always been a positive person and could always find the bright side did not mean I was happily living a beautiful and fulfilled life. Quite the opposite actually. Sure I could make a pretty home and dress well and get a nice haircut and cook a lovely meal and put on the façade, but there was a big hole and it was empty. I spent the first 40 years of my life being so busy I could easily be distracted from what lay beneath.

Then it hit me. Wow, 40, enter mid life crisis. Long story short, years of searching, reading and self- therapy in a red wine haze.

I had felt so unfulfilled in my life and overwhelmed and confused that I couldn’t even decide what I wanted my beautiful life to look like? It was so hard to create the vision, why was it so hard?

Fast forward to 50. So grateful for this journey and for the compassion I now have for myself, and for others who may struggle with the same issues. I realized I was not leading a life of honesty and integrity and at the root of it was judgement.

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At the very core of Beautiful Living for me, is Honesty and Integrity. We need to be honest with ourselves and with others. It took me a long time to be honest with myself. I spent most of my life thinking of what others needed or wanted or would think. Somehow I was under the impression that what I needed was not very important??

Many of us are the same. When we are not honest and do things out of alignment with our purpose and essential needs, we end up feeling unfulfilled. We need to have integrity. I thought I had integrity, I am very accountable and do what I say I will do. But wait! Not for myself. This is where the problem lies!! I would put off my needs for others regularly. Once again, my needs are okay to put on the back burner?

We think we have integrity, yet we blow off our own needs and priorities, so essentially, we don’t have integrity at all. This was a big eye opener for me. Wow, do I really think that poorly of myself??!

But wait, it gets a little deeper and uglier!!! These things we don’t allow ourselves, you know, the things we don’t have the integrity to make happen because we are giving them up to do for others, can be the very things we may, secretly or even unknowingly, be judging others for when they allow this for themselves. I almost feel embarrased to write this ugly truth of myself, yet it has been one of the most profound lesson of my life.

Oh my, now we are back to the honesty, did I honestly think its okay for others to take time for themselves, for health and fitness and massages and manicures when I don’t allow this for myself? I realized that I was, deep down, judging others for making themselves a priority or for following their passions.

It is insidious, I didn’t even realize how this whole crazy chain of thoughts was working in my brain and it was not beautiful. I don't think I am alone. I think many people make sacrifices for their families and bosses and charities and on and on.

Wow, what an eye opener this was.

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So as you can see honesty and integrity are monumentally important, and I am not saying be selfish and only think about you, but don’t fool yourself. Until you allow yourself to have your needs met and your hearts desire filled you can never be your best for others. Also that underlying disdain we don't think we have for people who are doing what we wish we could be doing, (but we don’t have time) will eat away at us like a cancer. No wonder there is so much disease in this world.

So take a good look at your life. Are you living honestly? Are your essential purposeful needs being met? Are you secretly judging others? I know I was, I just did not realize it, and the biggest eye opener was that I was unknowingly judging myself even more. Sacrificing our needs for the sake of others does not make us better people. It can make us unfulfilled and steal our sense of value and self worth and it can suck the Beauty out of life.

Gratitude, again so simple, yet so hard. Why must we always tend to focus on the negative? It is just another bad habit, but a simple one to change and a great new step in living a Beautiful Life. There is always something to be grateful for. So start a gratitude journal today. Go ahead and write 3 things every night that you are grateful for. At first it might seem difficult but it will get easier. Don’t put it off one more day. Practice the art of being grateful. Grateful for honesty, for the integrity to keep agreements with yourself and be grateful for this life and all the lessons it brings our way.

We all have a beautiful life, we just get so off track sometimes we don’t see it, but it is there and we have the choice to find it in every moment.

Creating rituals is an important part of beautiful living. A gratitude journal is a ritual, sitting down to dinner with the family is a ritual, morning yoga is a ritual. Start creating rituals for yourself that feed your soul and warm your heart. Your rituals will be unique to you. Own them and love them and keep them.

The Art of Beautiful Living is the Art of Love. Everything is perfect right now, even if it doesn't look perfect, if you take the time to appreciate what it is you will see the beauty of your life, today and every day. Be gracious and kind hearted and have compassion and forgiveness. Be the person you want others to be for you.