The Art of Living Part 2

Learn the art of living beautifully by starting with the home. The home is everyone’s den where people can relax and unwind, rest, refresh and recharge their energies so that they can face the big looming world outside all over again. The home then has to have an environment conducive to such relaxation with interiors designed to achieve this purpose. While homes are generally designed according to individual preferences, it is often found that some of the accessories selected create or promote the flow of negative energies. These then trigger stress, tension and a very negative environment that is not at all healthy for a peaceful existence.

Beautiful living can be considered an art that needs to be acquired and mastered over time. While opinions vary about how to live well, and many would be inclined to believe that comfortable living with a ‘lived-in” look of things lying around, is preferable for relaxation, psychologists believe that a cluttered and messy home reflects a messy mind, and unconsciously, it has an impact on the occupants. The other extreme of a clinically clean place and too much order at home may also prove to curb natural instincts and prevent relaxation. The art of real living and living well then, is to strike a balance between these two extremes and look for the golden mean.

The following tips will help in achieving this:

Keep a clean home but not a sterile one that makes it appear more like a hospital-homes have to have a lived in feel, which means that while there must be order and cleanliness, it is not essential to always be on tenterhooks to set things right then and there. All that this implies is to having a cleaning and clearing ritual once a day or once in two days, and after that, let things be, till it is time to clear and clean again.

Organize and plan, but not so much that spontaneity disappears from life. Life is meant for living well, happily with enjoyment necessary at every step, excessive organization will take joy out of every activity, and even a fun occasion will seem like a planned ordeal.

Spend sensibly, but also splurge occasionally- money is important and while it is good to spend sensibly and realize the value of savings, there is no harm in splurging occasionally to quench the natural urge to buy something crazy just for the fun of it.

Clear the clutter, but you can cling to emotional belongings- The ideal home is the de-cluttered home where all that is no longer needed is thrown away. This makes sense in modern, compact apartments where space is a scarce commodity. However, a handful of extras, like a child’s first doll, a favorite toy, a torn book or diary, can be accommodated for its sentimental value. Who knows it might bring joy years after it has served its purpose. This does not mean that the whole house be filled with decades old pieces.

Fill up the home but do not overcrowd it- Modern interiors often lack warmth with the minimalist décor trends giving a colder feel to a home. Homes need to exude warmth and this may require more accessories to fill in empty spaces.

Brighten up your home and see brightness enter your life- Homes that are dark and dingy, exude sadness and this affects all the occupants of the home. Ensure that plenty of natural light streams in, and if access to sunlight is limited, supplement the lighting with powerful artificial lights. For those who find a darker ambience romantic, reserve a corner of the home for those special evenings and candlelit dinners.

Follow the rules of Feng Shui to ensure that there is a positive flow of energy. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese science and an instrument of change that transforms the home into a haven of peace and harmony. This can be accomplished by decorating the home with compatible elements to yield a positive environment.
Make life simpler by using the right gadgets that ease the physical strain involved in completing simple household chores. Gadgets can accomplish a lot of heavy duty jobs, and this makes the household efficient, and no single member has to bear the burden of household chores.

Have a well planned kitchen that is equipped to aid elaborate cooking as well as a quick meal in minutes. This is possible if the kitchen is functional and well stocked.
Entertain and enjoy- Good living must also include some entertainment of friends and family. Getting together and having company helps in exchange of ideas and jokes, sharing experiences and relaxing. Laughter and joy when shared, is said to have a double impact. Reach out to others and experience joy by sharing what you have.

Help others who need assistance in any form that you can give. This also yields immense satisfaction and if can resolve another person’s problems, our duty towards society is fulfilled to some extent.
Knowledge holds the key to good living. It is believed that education is a lifelong process and it does not end with a few degrees in hand. Gathering knowledge can be a lifelong pursuit since the world offers a wealth of information that can enrich our lives.

Allow nature to have a role in your life-The beauty around us seems to be getting further away as we move into concrete jungles and learn to live in man made environments. Nature has a calming influence and we must allow natural beauty to have some place in our lives. Even if it means going to a park or the beach, it is important to take out time to absorb the beauties and bounties of nature, and let this beauty become a part of your life. Fill your home with beautiful plants, and sense their fragrance spread through your home.

The art of living beautifully can take a long time to master, but start now and see it transform your life.

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Anu Seth is a writer, editor and journalist with over 15 years of experience, writing on a diverse range of topics. She writes with sincerity and has had interesting experiences living in different parts of the world. As a mother of two, she prides herself on keeping a good home. Singapore remains her favorite country.