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The Instant Remedy to Finding Your Way Back from Overwhelm and Burnout

How a daily dose of beauty can be your antidote to stress.

Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

With the pressures of our fast paced, technology-driven life, increasing demands for performance and speed at work, added challenges of taking care of our families and our own health, some days it’s amazing that we even have any time to sleep at all. The daily demands of life can be exhausting. The problem is we are working harder and harder but are often too tired to truly enjoy the fruits of that labor.

You’ve been going, going, going all day and even when you may have accomplished a lot, at the end of the day when you come home, you might not feel very fulfilled or satisfied. If you look deep down inside, you’re thinking to yourself, there’s got to be something more to life. I get it. I’ve been there too and know it’s easy to get worn down by everyday life and not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

The truth is we are never going to eliminate the need to take care of the everyday tasks of life. But life is more than our “to do” list. I’m here to tell you there’s more available to feed our souls. The answer might sound paradoxical, but it is adding something to our life that has no purpose at all. And that something is Beauty. Beauty is defined as “that which pleases when seen”. It serves no purpose. There’s nothing you need to do with it. Just simply enjoy it. It’s a break you can give yourself from all the doing, so you are just being. And that’s a breath of fresh air.

From drowning in a life of doing, I found my way back to living life fully. I had a simple but powerful, life changing experience that lead me to the answer.

I have to admit, I’ve always been a “type A” over-achiever. I went to college at age 16, got an MBA from the Harvard Business School and had a successful career rising quickly from the entry level Marketing Assistant position to Vice President of Marketing for 2 major corporations.

From the outside, it looked like I had it made. But behind the scenes, it was another story. I routinely spent 10-12 hours a day in meetings, traveled for work on weekends, frenetically trying to get it all done. All the while, I felt empty inside. I’d come home at the end of a long workday physically and emotionally spent.
Somehow on the path to finding success, I lost myself.

My journey to finding a way out of that kind of life that was taking away my sense of aliveness came in a magical moment in the mailroom of the building where I lived.

One day, seemingly out of nowhere, I found a copy of the Artist’s magazine, just lying on a table. I opened it and saw an ad that said, go to Provence and paint for two weeks. I had only recently started painting but something said go do this. I trusted that instinct and booked the trip go paint in France with all of 3 months of painting experience under my belt. It didn’t make much sense to take that leap of faith, but at that point I was exhausted. I felt like I wasn’t making an impact at work, I was broken hearted from a breakup that I didn’t see coming and even my boss could sense I was not myself, despite my attempts to keep it all hidden. The message in that magazine seemed to bring me a radical escape. Going on that retreat turned out to be a life-altering experience. Not only did I realize how much I loved being totally immersed in painting, but I had a true awakening. I experienced a heightened sensitivity to the beauty all around me. My eyes were now open seeing colors, light, shapes, shadows and the miracle of nature in a new and enlivening way. It felt so good.

Discovering art truly saved me. It opened my eyes to beauty. I learned Beauty has the power to restore us. Beauty awakens your sense of awe. It adds a richness to the quality of your life. You become energized and inspired. Beauty takes us outside ourselves and connects us to something bigger than ourselves, something timeless and universal. Beauty connects us to the eternal. You can bring this to your life today.

Imagine a life where beauty, love and inspiration are with you every day. Where you wake up each morning surrounded by what inspires and uplifts you. Where you return home each evening to a constant reminder of beauty which elevates you above the day’s challenges and gives you a sense of being restored and renewed. Just being in a room where you’re surrounded with beauty, can lift your mood, shift your attitude, and ultimately elevate your experience of life in the moment.

You need something you can count on to restore yourself, no matter what is going on in your day to day life. The truth is we all need this. We all need something that will help us rise above the circumstances we can’t control. We all need to be able to find ourselves once again when we’re consumed by the demands of everyday life.

Beauty has you take a pause and be present to something greater and more timeless than the momentary circumstances of life. It lifts you up, yet, paradoxically, has you feel more grounded, at home and at peace. Research studies have shown that looking at something beautiful pulls us out of ourselves and our daily stressors. You experience being present in the moment. You transcend the everyday noise of life.

So, what does this mean for you? It may be time to balance your life with more Beauty. When you feel you have reached the end of your rope, too tired to do one more thing, turn to something beautiful. You don’t have to wait for a big moment or radically transform your life like I did. Beauty is available to us each and every day in small, yet powerfully healing ways. Whether it be to go find a piece of art you enjoy and sit quietly for even a minute or two to contemplate its beauty, bringing home some fresh flowers, looking thru a beautifully photographed “coffee table” book, taking a walk in nature, or merely looking up to the sky, an immediate dose of beauty can lift you up from the everyday fray of life. In an instant.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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