36 tips for artful living. plus one.

Hello Beautiful!

We celebrated Labor Day yesterday with a picnic by a waterfall, and I woke up this morning to gorgeous slanted fall sunlight and cool crisp air. My to do list is really full, but I still want to find some time today to go out and pick blackberries along the edges of our meadow. Finding the beauty is easy on days like today.

I'm getting ready to launch the four week intensive Artful Life eCourse, so I've been working and playing a lot with the Seven Keys to an Artful Life. We're at the beginning of a new month, and the cusp of a new season, such a great time to integrate new habits and activities and dreams into your routine! In honor of that, I'm sharing some of my favorite little ways of infusing each area of my life with beauty, wellness, and creative joy. See if you can sneak a few of these into your life soon:

  • Be in nature. We know this is healing to the spirit, but it's also healing to the body. Inhale healthy forest phenols, bask in the mood elevating negative ions released by a waterfall, improve your balance and leg strength by running on soft, uneven forest paths. Soak in healing sea water or hot springs.
  • Dance! This is a great time of year to sign up for a class in something new (I'm trying Nia), or you can try an online tutorial or, and I highly recommend this, turn on the music, close the curtains, and dance around your living room until you're completely out of breath.
  • Add an Omega 3 to your supplement regime. This is the one supplement I won't do without. For my brain, my emotional balance, my skin, my joints - it's my well-being pill.
  • Yoga. You already do yoga, right? No? Then try it! For me, it has been so much more than a work out - it can make your body a laboratory for learning emotional balance, inner strength, and even how to be happy.
  • Listen to your body wisdom. Your body knows what you need - and don't need - to be healthy. Cultivate the ability to be still and hear its messages.
    • Visit - or create - sacred space. Whether it's a beautiful place in nature, a church, temple, yoga studio, art museum, or your own home altar, try to make regular visits to a place that feeds your spirit, a place you visit with no goal other than engaging with the sacred.
    • Cultivate daily ritual. Greet the sunrise with a word of gratitude, meditate for five minutes in the morning, engage in prayer daily, bring love and positive intention to your food preparation,  say loving words to yourself in the mirror as you get ready for your day.
    • Read sacred or spiritually uplifting texts. There is so much beauty in sacred literature! Try the poems of Hafiz, the Rig Veda, the contemporary Buddhist writings of Pema Chodron. Read or reread the poems of Whitman or Wordsworth, the writings of Thoreau. I could go on and on. Share your suggestions in the comments.
    • Give of yourself. Selfless service is an aspect of every great spiritual tradition. It also feels really, really good (so maybe not so selfless?) I don't believe in "give til it hurts." I believe in truly giving of your time and talents in a way that doesn't empty you out. Right now, I'm giving through my 108 Buddhas Project.
    • Practice the art of contemplation. Allow contemplative time. That means time when you are not doing, just being. Quiet time. In a quiet place. Open up space for your spirit.

      • Remember, art can be in everything or anything you do: an artful display on your bedside table, a gorgeously prepared and plated meal, wildflowers in a clay jug on your mantel, pretty writing on your to do list, adventurous accessorizing... practice art all the time.
      • Create a simple on the go creativity kit. Learn how here.
      • Don't censor your wild ideas and crazy schemes. This is key! It doesn't mean you have to do every wild thing that occurs to you. It just means let your lateral-thinking-wild-brainstorming -often-silly side have the floor once in a while. An artist is someone who knows how to nurture and respect this crazy talking inner creative.
      • Start really looking at the world around you. Cultivate an artist's eye. Admire the shapes, colours, strange visual combinations or gorgeous compositions that surround you all the time. Practice some Iphoneography to capture them!
      • Read and do The Artist's Way. I know so many people who reclaimed their creativity through this book! 

        • Value your life-energy. Treat it with the same respect you give to the other resources in your life.
        • Prioritize health care. Don't neglect the basics! Schedule necessary tests, get to the dentist regularly, be well-informed about the status of your health.
        • Use baby steps to cultivate nurturing habits - slow and steady change is more likely to stick.
        • Schedule your self-care just as you do with other commitments. Give real time to the things you do to nurture yourself. Take your commitment seriously.
        • Self-care is rest, good health care, and responsible habits, but don't forget it's also the fun things that bring you joy and make you feel cared for and worthy - mani-pedi's, beach days, bed days, art classes, e-courses, long lunches, new perfume.

          • Think of all five senses when creating your home sanctuary:
          • Fill your home with delicious color and pattern. Fashionable or safe color doesn't matter. Bring in the visuals that make your heart sing. Pay close attention to lighting - use candles and low light in the evenings, let the sun stream in in the day.
          • Do you live in a noisy city? Use white noise to create serenity at home: a fountain, recordings of nature sounds, or soft music. Live in the country like I do? Turn off the radio and TV, throw open the windows and let in the sounds of wind, birds, crickets, frogs, ocean, rain.
          • Textures are so important. Smooth cool clean countertops, soft natural fibre pillows and upholstery, good sheets, a cup that fits your hand just so, weighty cutlery, fluffy towels; all these little details add up to a house that FEELS good.
          • What you serve is a huge part of what makes the experience of your home memorable for guests. Stock your cupboards with simple, lovely things so you can present a little something whenever someone visits your home - good quality, fragrant tea with pungent lemon, organic fruits in season, gluten free herb crackers, a fantastic cheese.
          • I love my home to smell good. And to be honest I find commercial air fresheners yucky. If you don't like incense, room sprays, or scented candles, go natural and simmer some herbs or spices on your stove. My new favorite combo is fresh rosemary, lemon slices, and a vanilla bean. Heavenly!

            • When you are with someone you care about, put your phone away. Seriously. Be present when you are with those whose presence you adore.
            • Partnerships need tending. Weekly date nights aren't just fun. They're like relationship fertilizer. You need to experience new stuff together regularly. It feeds your love. Prioritize that weekly date night, and do new stuff.
            • Do community work. Volunteer for something that gets into contact with your community. You're not too old to make new friends, and your community needs your gifts.
            • Remember why you love them. Devote a journal page or two to remembering. It will help you to be more loving.
            • Be kind. It's the greatest gift you can give to those around you. And it's a great daily challenge to build your spiritual muscle.

              • Take time to discover your gifts. What are you most passionate about? What do people compliment you on most often?
              • It would be wonderful if your livelihood was fully aligned with your gifts, right? What a fantastic thing to work towards. But in the meantime, find as many ways as you can to bring your gifts to your current livelihood, whatever it is.
              • Be brave. Offering your beauty to the world feels vulnerable, but the act of offering makes you strong.
              • Don't wait, do what you can now.  Instead of "I'm going to write a book," how about "Today I will share a haiku on Facebook." Take baby steps, get feedback, build muscle, take more baby steps.
              • Be generous. Don't hold back. Bake a cake, write a poem, do a dance, solve a problem, write a proposal, crunch the numbers, take a photo, do your thing, then get it out there.
              • Know that you are loved, and you are worthy.

              Did this post inspire you? Immerse in a full month of Artful Living beginning September 15. Click here, learn more.

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