Letting go of non-essentials so that you can joyfully embrace what’s most important to you—that’s what it means to live a “simply beautiful” life. (La Vita E Bella) Choosing simplicity involves clearing away clutter that detracts from your life’s true purpose and beauty.
It means taking a fresh look at what you value and making sure you’re spending your time, energy, and money to support your cherished goals.
Voluntary simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean a bare-bones budget or shunning the wonders of modern technology. It may mean buying that new notebook computer so that you can spend time writing under the pine trees at your uncle’s cabin.
It may mean splurging for the month-long overseas trip you’ve been dreaming about for decades. But, since we all have different values, gifts, and dreams, our ways of simplifying life will naturally represent a delightful range of choices.
There is no one right way; we each must follow our passions, listen to our heart of hearts, and create our own simply beautiful lifestyles.
La Vita E Bella
Once, an off-course test pilot radioed back to the control tower. He said, “I’m lost, but I’m making record time.” Many of us are like that test pilot, moving faster, doing more.
With little time for reflection, we squeeze one activity after another into our frantic lives. But are we getting anywhere, or worse yet, will we end up in the wrong place?
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LIVING YOUR VALUES. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.
Take a few minutes to write out your responses to the following four items:
- Think about your dreams, values, and life goals. List the five most important things you want to do with your life from this point on.
- Next, pretend you’ll die suddenly in three months. List the several most important things you want to do with your remaining time.
- Look over your answers to the first two items. Are your two lists in harmony with each other? Of all the things you listed, put a star by the three most important.
- What new steps toward your dreams and key goals do you want to begin taking?
Some wake-up calls are dramatic, such as surviving a plane crash with minor injuries, being revived from cardiac arrest after a near-death experience, clinging to life through the horrors of a concentration camp, or the death of a loved one.
Other wake-up calls are more subtle, but the result is always the same:
A reminder that this life of ours is precious, that we no longer have time for pettiness, that we have much to give, and the time for doing what is important is now. The words of cancer survivor Anita Siegel echo sentiments familiar to many who have had close brushes with death:
In a way, I’m happy I got cancer. It changed my whole concept of what life is all about. My goals became different. My interests changed. The last eight years of my life have been much different from what they could have been if I hadn’t been faced with the fact that my life might be ending. I accomplished more, and I’ve experienced more than I could have imagined.
After a wake-up call, one becomes less interested in things and more focused on the treasures of relationship, spiritual growth, creative expression, and service to others. Clearly, wake-up calls remind us not to give undue attention to the material side of life.
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DO WHAT YOU LOVE. La Vita E Bella Quotes.
Although it’s been said, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” it’s not always that simple. Yes, it can work that way and often does.
However, sometimes an individual launches out and does what he or she loves, and enough money to live on does not follow. Or it may take a long time before sufficient financial abundance starts to flow.
Nevertheless, a key element in leading a simple, focused life is following your passion and doing what you love as much as reasonably possible. Listen when your heart says, “Wasn’t that fun!” or “Wouldn’t you like to do more of this!” Your soul often speaks to you in signs of joy, satisfaction and increased life energy. Pay careful attention.
Either you will receive confirmation that you’re already on target, or you will be prompted to make minor, or perhaps major, changes in your life. As you move through life your aspirations naturally may shift as new opportunities arise and fresh insights dawn.
When we start to make positive changes in our lives we often run into resistance. It can come from fears, doubts and old habits as well as from family and friends. Just knowing opposition may crop up can help you get through it. You’ll be more prepared to face it and respond creatively.
Starting a Simply Beautiful Journal, in which you record your dreams, goals, struggles and progress, will help you weather the storms of opposition and discouragement. While having a spouse or other family member who shares your interest in voluntary simplicity is ideal, it is by no means required.
Another invaluable aid is exchanging support with like-minded friends. Many also report that inspirational reading, quiet time, being with nature, and learning to say no have smoothed their way on the simple beauty journey.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH BEAUTY
What sings to you? What pulls your heart? What do you find pleasing? Engaging your heart and all your senses, begin paying more attention to aspects of everyday life that enchant you.
Focus more on beauty . . . in household items and other belongings, and in people and nature. As you dwell on beauty, you attract its healing qualities into your inner and outer worlds. Beauty delights the heart. Beauty creates comfort and harmony. Beauty nourishes our souls.
PAUSE AND ENJOY
Tune into life’s simple joys: The invigorating spray of shower water cascading down your back, the colorful faces of wayside flowers, the warm touch of a loved one, the delight of interesting conversation with a good friend. Make a list of simple pleasures that truly appeal to you.
Costing little or nothing, they are yours to embrace. Every day, all the time, life surrounds us with countless wonders. Make it a point to tune in more frequently, to pause for a few seconds and enjoy what is. Remember: The past is a memory, the future a dream. But right now—this moment—is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.
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A GRATEFUL HEART. La Vita E Bella.
Heartfelt thankfulness—a simple practice that awakens us to the goodness of life and reminds us that we are awash in a sea of blessings. The more we count the many gifts of life, the deeper our appreciation and contentment grow.
Gratitude helps us attract what we truly need and opens doors where before we saw none. In the words of counselor and author Melody Beattie: “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. . . Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”
To be content with what we have at this moment, to bloom now where we are plantedthis is the wisdom of gratitude, this is the very foundation of a simply beautiful life.