Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Live a Life of Beauty

In a recent conversation with a dear friend, she mentioned how she had decided to live a life of beauty. Instantly intrigued, I asked what she meant by that.

"Well, it's about choices. For example, which would you rather do? Sit down to dinner with the depressing evening news blasting from the TV. The dishes are tossed haphazardly on the table, but you hardly notice because you're too busy shoveling some non-descript boxed food down your throat while watching the woes of the world. Or...

Would you rather sit down to a nicely laid table complete with cheery tablecloth and a small bouquet of flowers. Happy music is playing softly in the background and the meal, while not gourmet, is delicious, simply prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients?"

I caught myself nodding in agreement. The latter is definitely the much more pleasant option, but what about the time factor? Do we have time for such 'beauty,' I asked.

"Sure! The most important thing is to be aware. Be conscious of your actions. Once you've managed that all it takes is a small amount of preparation. For instance, if you decide you'd like to enjoy your meals in the way we mentioned, be on the lookout for something to cover your table. It could be a conventional tablecloth but a lovely quilt or a length of charming fabric would work just as well. Next when you're at the grocery store, its just as easy to pick up a few fresh ingredients as it is to pick up boxed junk. Oh, and grab an inexpensive bouquet of flowers while you're at it. Have a small CD player in the dining room with your favorite music nearby. Learn a few simple cooking techniques and voila...you have a delicious, lovingly prepared meal in under half an hour."

My friend was on to something huge! I decided I wanted to also live a life of beauty. I took a small amount of time out of my weekend and came up with these changes:

  • A music area that has a collection of my favorite CDs
  • Flowers are now a staple permanently written on my 'grocery' list
  • I strung white twinkly (Christmas) lights around my ficus trees
  • I pulled some lovely pieces from my fabric stash, cut and have them neatly folded for tablecloths

I now sing more, I dance and I smell flowers. Cooking has become a pleasurable, almost soulful end to a busy day and mealtime, well, I'd rather sit at my own lovingly prepared table than dine out now. Those few hours of preparation have increased the quality of my life immeasurably. And that's just the beginning. I now look everyday for new ways to 'Live a Life of Beauty.' And you...what will you do?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nightly Reflection

After reading about the success of one particular Wall Street Banker in
How to Win Friends and Influence People, I took his secret to success, a soulful look inward...and made it my own.

Every evening I take 10 or 2o minutes of quiet time for inner reflection. With my list of dreams in front of me, I ask myself these questions:

  • What was I thankful for today?
  • What did I do well today?
  • What did I not do well today?
  • How can I change that?
  • What steps did I take today towards meeting my dreams?
  • What steps will I take tomorrow towards my dreams?
  • What is holding me back from reaching for my dreams?
  • How did I treat others today?
  • Did I encourage someone else towards their dreams today?
  • What can I do tomorrow to help someone else reach their dreams?

Anything I want to remember I jot down in my own personal 'book of wisdom,' a simple notebook that has become my beacon of inspiration...Da Vinci was on to something!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Soulful Look Inward

Many years ago there was a Wall Street Banker whose rapid rise to success in the industry was a puzzling mystery to many since he had little formal education.

When asked the secret to his success, he replied he owed it to just one thing:

"Every Saturday night, my family knows to leave me alone. I reflect back on my week and ask myself a series of questions. I feel so strongly about the power of this that nothing other than a catastrophe or death can stop me."

A powerful interrogation, no doubt! Yet, surprisingly the questions were as simple as:

  • What did I do well?
  • What didn't I do well?
  • How can I improve on that?
  • What steps did I take towards my dreams?

He said that more often than not, he'd come away from this soul-searching quite displeased with himself.

Yet this weekly self-imposed report card propelled him into a world he would otherwise never have participated in.

His story inspired me to create my own soulful look inward...My Nightly Reflection. I am now creating my dream life.

And you?...what keeps you moving towards your dreams?

Monday, September 8, 2008

List of Dreams

"You know what the most important thing on a person's tombstone is? It's not the date of birth or the date of death...it's the little dash that connects them."

This profound truth was spoken by my dear friend, Darrell.

He was right...one tiny dash. All of our experiences, adventures, joys and heartaches are represented in that one diminutive mark.

The conversation had begun over the news that, Dave Freeman, author of 100 Things To Do Before You Die had himself died at age 47. Had he, I wondered...done all that was on his list?

We commented on the sad irony...but...then paused to consider something else...

Here was a man who had lived more in his 47 years than most live in 80! His was a life to emulate! Surely, he would've been the guy who wanted a huge raucous party to celebrate his life rather than a somber wake to mourn his death.

He lived his dreams...shouldn't we?

I've taken inspiration from Dave Freeman's life and have begun my own 'list of dreams.'

  • Sail the Greek Islands
  • Write a 'screenplay' memoir of my life in Northern Japan
  • Have a home on the beach in Hawaii
  • Take singing lessons
  • Watch the sun set over Mount Kilamanjara
  • Finish writing my book and get it published
  • Learn to draw, paint and do all manner of artistic things.
  • Inspire others towards their dreams

I observe a few quiet moments with myself each evening with a soulful look inward. Because of this practice and the Japanese method of 'goal-getting' known as Kaizen, my dreams will be represented on my 'little dash.'

And you...what's on your list of dreams?