• Tag Archives beauty
  • Breathe in Beauty

    If you have ever tried to meditate, you have probably experienced the difficulty of controlling, or even slowing down, your thoughts. Your mind races like a wild monkey, gathering ideas here and memories there, all the while leaving a nagging sense that you should be able to direct your thoughts, but can’t.

    While it may be difficult to control your actual thoughts, you can have complete control over the tone and tenor of your thoughts.

    Consider this:  Do you generally think kind, affirming, uplifting and expansive thoughts? Or do your thoughts tend to be of a more negative, critical and contractive nature? I would like to suggest that we are happier when we think positive thoughts, and less happy when we think negative thoughts.

    And what is the easiest way to flip the switch from negative to positive thinking?

    This can be answered in three words: Breathe in beauty.

    Let me explain.

    When our thoughts are spiraling down a path of negativity, they will continue in this direction because it is the path of least resistance. Months or years of pessimistic thinking create grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. The result: the more frequently a thought pattern is repeated, the more likely it is to be repeated in the future.

    Breaking this unwanted pattern requires an active shift of focus. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to think of something beautiful.

    For example, think of a dramatic golden sunset. Or imagine the sound of your child’s merry giggle. Or remember the feeling of delight when you lost yourself in creating art or solving an equation or playing a song on a musical instrument.

    Do you feel better?

    The point here is that you can’t think negative thoughts and beautiful thoughts at the same time. Nope, it can’t be done.

    So, begin to retrain your brain. Breathe in beauty. The next time you catch yourself with a negative or worrisome thought, try one of the following:

    • Look at something beautiful
    • Smell something wonderful
    • Listen to something inspiring
    • Recall something delightful

    Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep inhalation, and breathe in that beauty.

    Repeat. As needed. Allow this way of thinking to become your new  normal — your new neural path of least resistance. And see if you don’t feel happier, and perhaps even calmer, than you did before.

  • Floral Sunshine

    floral sunshine

    I have been traveling this week and have not been able to post as often as I would like.

    So, I am sharing a burst of floral sunshine with you instead! I took this picture last week and it lifts my energy each time I look at it.

    I hope it lifts your energy, too.

    And next week, I’ll be back with a wrap-up of my minimalist fashion adventure, The Black Dress Challenge.

    Until then, have a terrific weekend!

    image: © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

  • Always Leave Room for Beauty

    Hydrangea Bucket

    If you have but two coins
    And long to be fed,
    Use one to buy flowers
    And the other for bread.

    ~ Christianna Pierce

    I wrote this little stanza as a paraphrase of many similar sayings I have collected which express the importance of beauty as a vital contributor to the quality of our life.

    Because we need to feed our spirit (or essence or inner self) as much as we need to feed our body.

    I am reminded of the example of my mother. She and my father married when they were very young and they started a family right away. Neither had a college education, and they struggled financially in the early years to support themselves and their three children. With careful budgeting and simple meals, there was fortunately always enough to eat. And, amazingly, there were always fresh flowers in our house. A simple vase with a bright spray of forsythia from the yard or some wild sweet pea blossoms were a constant presence in our lives. A little spot of bright color to enhance the day.

    When I came home from college to visit my family, my mother invariably placed a sweet little vase of flowers on the table beside my bed. It was never something she discussed, it was simply something she did. A gesture of welcome and beauty that did not require words but which spoke volumes, nonetheless.

    When my mother died, we mixed her ashes with wildflower seeds and sprinkled them in a beautiful private meadow. The lovely floral blooms each summer continuously remind me of her gentle, compassionate nature.

    And now our oldest son is in college. When he comes home for a visit, he often finds that I have placed flowers in a small vase on the table by his bed.

    No words are spoken. But I think he knows how l feel, nonetheless.

    image: Fresh Hydrangeas. © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

  • “It Should be Beautiful”

    “If you touch it every day, it should be beautiful.”
    Nate Berkus, O magazine, May 2010.

    This quote stopped me in my tracks because it so perfectly encapsulates my theory of simplicity and interior design. We are affected by the things in our environment, often at a level below our conscious awareness. For instance, a lovely vase of flowers can lift our spirits every time we glance at it, while an unsightly stack of out-of-date newspapers can pull our energy down without us being aware of the reason.

    I would even extend this sentiment one step further:

    “If you see it every day, it should be beautiful.”

    I am referring, of course, to those things which are within your ability to change. The unsightly billboard on your way to work, for example, is probably not under your control. But the growing pile of junk mail by the front door may be something that is in your sphere of influence and can be changed.

    To give a personal example: there was a large woodpile in our back yard. Probably ten feet tall and 6’x6′ at the base, it was partially covered by a ratty blue plastic tarp and was a major eyesore. Every time I looked out of our dining room window into our back yard, my vision was distracted by this ugly structure. It’s not that I have anything against woodpiles, per se.  In fact, I am grateful to have such a nice supply of wood stored up for use next winter.  It’s just that it was unsightly and did not have to be located where it was…

    So, last weekend, I asked my husband if he would mind moving the woodpile. And he kindly honored my request. (Fortunately, it was a sunny day and it took him less than twenty minutes).

    This is what I see now. The red arrow points to where the offending woodpile once stood:

    backyard from dining room

    Now, looking through the window into our yard and into the the tree-filled forest beyond, I feel much better.

    And it was a simple change (well, that’s easy for me to say. My husband may beg to differ…) But the point remains, sometimes dealing with those little nagging pieces of visual clutter can reap the greatest rewards in terms of renewed energy and a sense of peace.

    Your turn: Is there one nagging “something” bringing you down every time you look at it? Is it something you can easily change? Is there anything stopping you?

  • DIY Recipe for Glowing Skin

    Rolled OatsAs a dietitian, I am especially aware of the importance of choosing the healthiest foods possible for optimal wellness. I always try to select the freshest, most unprocessed and organic foods for myself and for my family.

    But it is equally important to consider what you put onto your body. More specifically, it matters what you rub onto your skin. Many, if not most, chemicals penetrate the epidermal layer and are absorbed through the skin into the body.

    Therefore, it makes good sense to apply ingredients externally with as much thoughtful care as deciding what to take internally.

    Which brings me to my vinegar and oatmeal skin care recipes. I have been using variations of these recipes on and off for several years. By using these two simple products, in addition to following a plant-based diet, my skin has never looked or felt better. The oatmeal is a gentle, natural exfoliant that removes dead skin cells and related debris. The vinegar toner helps restore the acid mantle to your skin to maintain its optimal pH. And gentleman, this works equally well for you, too 🙂 .

    The recipes are a snap to make and cost pennies per use.

    Oatmeal cleanser: Simply grind up 1 cup organic rolled oats in a blender or food processor until you have a fine powder. Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

    To use, splash your face with warm water. Put about 1-2 teaspoons of oatmeal powder into your hand, and add enough water to make a paste. Gently rub this paste into your skin, using a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly.

    Powdered Oats

    Follow with vinegar toner:

    vinegar toner ingredients

    2 oz. Green tea (I use jasmine green tea, 1 bag steeped in 4 oz. Water x 10 minutes)
    2 oz. Filtered or distilled water
    2 oz. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

    Combine all ingredients in a glass container. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and store in refrigerator. I pour out about a week’s supply and keep it in the bathroom cabinet. This portion does not require refrigeration.

    To use, saturate a cotton pad with toner. Pat onto skin. Let dry before applying moisturizer/sunscreen of your choice.

    Vinegar Toner and Oat Scrub

    How about you? Do you have a favorite DIY natural skin care recipe? Please share it in the comments.