The Art of Living Beautifully

Life Is Never Devoid Of Wonderful Moments

“Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing.” – Socrates

In the 1996 movie Jack, the lead character played by Robin Williams announces at his graduation: “Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end none of us has very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish, and think of me. Make your life spectacular.” There is something memorable about that passage that drives deep into our soul. True to his words, Robin Williams lived a remarkable life equalled with an illustrious career. This article is not a surmise on the late actor, rather an invitation to “Make your life spectacular.”

The art of living beautifully is a call to know oneself without exception. Otherwise we are at the mercy of external events which disrupt the foundations of our inner life. To know oneself means to align with our authentic nature. Regretfully, many seldom explore the complexity of their emotional constitution until it’s too late. A life of beauty arises when we move beyond our fixed reality and dare to explore the life we dream possible. It means to live fearlessly, beyond the walls of a comfortable existence. To live a beautiful life means to transform disempowering states into positive life experiences. Life’s events can scar us, leaving us vulnerable. Seemingly, we cease taking risks for fear of getting hurt. Whilst universal, the drawback is to retreat without ever reaching for the treasures we long for. Are you comfortable with this idea that a beautiful life involves stripping away anything not aligned with our highest intent?

The greatest mind of our century, Albert Einstein once said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Therefore, I urge you to explore this sentiment by trusting in the mysterious where the seeds of opportunity lie. Life is hardly predictable. Like torrential rain on a sultry night, when change ushers through, it can leave a deluge of uncertainty in its wake. For this reason, consider your problems as an alluring adventure instead of a melting pot of frustration. Whilst challenging, a change in perception allows us to appreciate difficult moments to cultivate personal growth. We must be mindful of these opportunities as they arise, rather than concede life is devoid of wonderful moments.

Slow To The Speed Of Life

“Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our own submerged inner resources. The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths.” – Epictetus

Most people strive for happiness these days. Bookshelves are littered with advice proclaiming the secret to attain happiness in thirty days or less. Yet research shows we are less happy than in the past. Maybe technology is to blame for creating insincere connections devoid of social interactions. To be in service of others is a way out of the unhappiness trap. It is not a transitory practice either, rather an opportunity to deepen our connection with ourselves. Clearly, we know happiness is not tied to owning the latest smartphone or sports car. Whilst the advice seems obvious, many people fill the emptiness within by amassing material objects. This creates more desires and if we have limited financial resources, creates further pain and suffering. Not that you need my assurance, though no material object will complete you more than what lies deep within your soul.

To live beautifully means to live according to our highest values. In doing so, we form meaningful connections with others that enrich our life. Likewise, we must avoid seeing life as a sequence of daily routines and events which pass by at the blink of an eye. If we subscribe to this way of thinking, we succumb to the monotony of living a Groundhog Day existence. Miracles take place right before our eyes. We miss them because we rush about our day scurrying to the next event or trying to meet deadlines. Miracles cannot be experienced by analysing the past or future, for they will pass us by like a high-speed train if we are unaware. So, disconnect from processing thoughts for a moment and move into your heart, the source of all wisdom where your soul calls home. Are you willing to set aside what you think you need to allow life to gift you with something more appealing?

Similarly, a beautiful life calls us to recognise what is of value to us. One way to experience beauty is to stop, listen and connect with our surroundings. This means to slow to the speed of life instead of running around like the mad hatter in Alice in Wonderland, hoping to get everything done yet achieving little. To be present in the moment is challenging because life leads us in different directions. Before long we have succumb to external forces, instead of abiding by our inner blueprint. We must relax and let go of unnecessary stressors that are not tied to our long-term happiness. Unwelcomed stress affects our capacity to enjoy life because we react to events, instead of allowing them to pass through our lives.

Visualise a boxer backed into the ropes, battling punches from his opponent. He cannot move into an offensive stance because he is trapped. Life can have that effect on us because we are pushed and pulled to our limits and retreat in resignation. Sure enough, the next blow arrives stronger than before and if our guard is down, we’re knocked to the ground harder than before. I wish to leave you with a quote from the epic motion picture Braveheart in which William Wallace declares to the Princess of Wales: “Every man dies, not every man really lives.” To live a beautiful life is an invitation to live passionately while we still can.

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