I began living in beauty three years ago.
In truth, I began living in beautiful locales in 2009, when I moved to Mendocino county and rotated through remote coastal and inland settings. Depending on where I set up my household, my backyard contained whales, seals, sea or mountain lions, bobcats, bears, coyote, fox, deer, and several hundred other mammalian, avian, amphibian, and reptilian species – never mind the tremendous diversity of plant life.
Yet living in a beautiful locale does not equal living in beauty. (Especially when your landlords or housemates or neighbors are unhappy creatures.)
It took mold, a house fire, a water deficit, and a funereal atmosphere (four different dwellings, four distinctly intractable issues) to bring me to the point where I said enough. No more of this. Nada mas. I wanted More Better, and I wanted it on my own terms.
But how to afford my own place on a part-time university lecturer’s salary? The solution I engineered, and the means by which I became a homeowner living in a converted bus where I wake up happy every day, is a story I’d like to share. Because I’m guessing there are many others who find themselves stuck in Less-Than situations.
To me, living in beauty means being able to see untamed nature out of every window. It means breathing in the sweet tang of unpolluted air, and of hearing mostly quiet punctuated with bird calls, ocean waves, or both. It means being content with my choices and living in close alignment with my deeply held principles.
Living in beauty implies creating a space ample enough to grow our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual sides: whether that is expressed in craftsmanship, gardening, music, community meals, or other inspirational endeavors.
Living in love means that I treat each week as if it were my last week on earth: and prioritize what I do accordingly. When the most important things are always at the top of my list, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time anymore. Because I’ve been doing this for many decades now, I’ve completed several versions of my “bucket list” – and yet, there is always something else, something good, to be done.
Yes, Living in Beauty & Love is an ongoing endeavor: I’m not done yet. But the joy factor is going up, with every act of beauty, and of love, that we are blessed to carry out.