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Turning Life into Art

If I were to invite you over to my house for an hour, pour you a cup of tea, sink into a comfy chair and tell you all the ups and downs of my dating life in the last ten years, your tea would still be too hot to drink before I was finished. I just haven’t spent much time in that arena.

But recently my friend Merrill invited me over to his house for breakfast. When I arrived, he had just finished cooking some wild mushrooms he’d harvested earlier that week.

Instead of sitting at the kitchen table, I followed him to the patio where he had prepared a table set with the finest plates, napkins and wine glasses. He had artisan breads and personal servings of his toasted pecan huckleberry ginger jam made even more perfect by the variety of fine cheeses.

He placed a large Tibetan singing bowl in the middle of the table and before eating we hummed along with it, and he gave thanks for the experience we were about to share together.

After breakfast, he took me out to his garden where we removed our shoes and grounded our energy, aligned our chakras and set our intentions for the day.

This. Was. Just. Breakfast.

I watched as this man masterfully turned eating breakfast into an experience that I will likely remember for a very long time.

I know other people like this. People who turn life into art.

My oldest sister, Michelle, has this gift as well. Years ago, she moved to Idaho to help me on a business venture. I had plenty of room in my house and she moved into the basement with her husband. I will never forget her first night there. After a full day of traveling and carrying boxes, I went downstairs just before bed to see if she needed anything.

She had now lived at my house for five hours but walking into her room felt like I had just stepped into a five star resort. She had a tree in the corner and the bed was all made with the blanket turned down. A diffuser filled the room with the enticings of a warm fall afternoon in the kitchen.

She had turned an utterly ordinary room in the basement into a living breathing sanctuary of tranquility. She created her own place of beauty, and I wanted to move in immediately.

My friend Phyllis does this, too. I met Phyllis years ago when she dropped into my store with her sisters. She noticed on our first meeting that the giant planter out in front of my shop was empty and returned a few days later with plants of all sizes.

She skillfully guided my two young sons as they removed the plants from their containers and nestled them into their new home.

I would later go to her house and find myself insisting upon a two hour tour of all the little details…plastered embellishments she added to her bathroom wall, funky magnets on her fridge, painted cities made out of rocks. Art wasn’t just something she put on her walls. She turned everything into art. It WAS the very substance with which she had built her home.

And then there’s Tara. Tara is a hands-on, take charge, capable doer of large tasks. Last year they bought one of those fixer uppers you would see on HGTV with old carpet and plaster walls. The kind of house that hadn’t been remodeled in 50 years.

Once the papers had been signed, I watched as my very pregnant friend went to work knocking out walls and tiling backsplashes. They painted cabinets and added curtains and within just a couple of months, I walked into a whole new space…a space made beautiful by their very capable hands and a skillful understanding of textures and colors. She had remarkable vision and turned an ordinary house into a cozy cottage filled with warmth.

That’s what these people do. They are creators. They make ordinary places extraordinary.
They make otherwise forgettable events memorable.
They turn mundane activities into a celebration.
They create beauty wherever they go.

The idea of turning life into art has changed how I approach living over the last ten years. I look for ways to make my space beautiful. I look for ways to add beauty to my friendships. I find ways to create memorable moments with my boys.

In a world that would have you be ever busier and ever more productive, I ask you to slow down. There’s something to be said for the unrushed time spent creating beauty: the meals that delight both the eyes and the taste buds or the song that gladdens the heart. There are poems to write and scenes to capture on canvas. There are stories to share and words to bless.

There is beauty waiting to be created all around us and memorable moments waiting to happen with just the tweak of intention.

Turning life into art IS an art.

I struggled for a long time with the notion that “I’m just not one of ‘those people’. They are just naturally good at making things beautiful. I’m just better at creating ideas.”

But that’s not quite accurate. Each of my friends has taken time to study place settings and colors and textures and feng shui. They had to learn the art of making things beautiful, too. Now, they’ve spent years continuously turning life into art, and it is second nature to them to create beauty wherever they go.

There’s a million ways to create beauty. In our homes. In our relationships. In our activities.

It’s an art that simply needs practiced to be perfected.


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