Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Ultimately, beyond the professional and personal goals that we set for ourselves, what each of us really wants is a beautiful life.  The type of life I am talking about isn’t the lifestyle that we see in commercials.  It isn’t about owning overpriced purses, driving high end cars or having perfect bodies.  It has nothing to do with wealth.

Having a beautiful life is about how we enjoy what God has given us.   It is about the choices that we make with regard to our food, clothing, shelter and free time.  Do we grab a burger from a fast food restaurant, or do we make a summer salad?  Do we watch television, or do we go outside and look at the stars?  Do we daily choose beauty over the mundane?

The description of what constitutes a beautiful life is different for every person.  However, there are certain common things that each of us needs each day so that our lives are more than work and laundry.  To that end, here are some things that each of us can do to create a beautiful life.

Music: If there is anything that feeds the soul, it is music.  I love all kinds – classical, jazz, pop, R&B, the old standards, big band, Christian rock – you name it, and there are certain musicians in each genre that I particularly enjoy.  Music should mentally transport us to a beautiful place, and top notch music has the ability to bring us peace when we are frustrated.  Every day try to listen to music that you love.  If you are a musician, even better – make music! – but have it in some way be part of your daily experience.

Nature: Whether you live in the country, the suburbs or the city, there are opportunities to experience nature.  I live in the suburbs and am married to a man who loves to garden.  As a result, we spend our weekends tending to the flowers, plants and bushes that make our yard more pleasing to the eye.  This past month, my daughter and I cleared a path through our woods, and walking on it is simply magical.  There is something very special about creating beauty in nature.  Nature is already beautiful, but adding to it with your own hands and then enjoying the fruits of your labor is rewarding in a way that folding laundry is not.

Food:  My observation over the years is that a large part of our happiness relates to what we eat.  Food doesn’t just feed our bodies.  Tasty, healthy, creatively prepared food makes us feel good mentally.  Our standard of living seems to increase when we have beautiful meals.  It matters little where we eat the food – in a modest home or a mansion – what matters is the quality of the food.  Regularly making beautiful meals is an easy way to take your lifestyle up a notch.

Home:  We all need to have a place where we can rest, and where we feel good about inviting people over to socialize.  You can’t enjoy your home, and you won’t want people to come over, if your home is a mess.  The first step to creating a beautiful space is simply to clear out the junk and organize your belongings.  Where you live should be beautiful.  It isn’t about having an expensive home.  I’ve been in enormous houses that have been a train wreck of clutter, and I’ve been in tiny apartments that have been carefully decorated and have perfect ambience.  Make your home, whatever its size, a place that you not only want to be in, but that you would want to invite others to enjoy as well.

Literature:  The pleasure of reading should be part of every person’s daily experience.  I personally don’t know what I would do without books.  I look to books for guidance.  I read a book when I want to be transported to another world.  There is nothing that calms me like sitting in a quiet place to read.  It is sad that so often as children we are turned off from reading because our schools choose books that have little or no interest to kids.  I myself did not learn to enjoy reading in school.  Instead, when I was working during law school, I had a boss who loaned me one amazing book after another.  Thanks to him, I found a love of books that will never leave me.

A friend of mine recently sent me the following quote by Goethe:  “Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.”  Even in the 1700s, people were thinking about what it means to live the beautiful life.  Take time this week to think about some ways that you can begin adding beauty to your own life.

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