Navajo wisdom offers the belief that “the key to living is to live a life of beauty.” An ordered, peaceful environment within and without allows us to lead successful, abundant and healthy lives. An elegant and simple idea that fits well with John Keats’ immortal words “beauty is truth, truth beauty’—‘that’s all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Harmony and balance in our external living environment will reflect the harmony and balance within our minds and bodies, and vice versa. So take a good look around you, right now. Look with the dispassionate eyes of an objective observer and see if your home has rhythm, flow and beauty and reflects the authentic you. We live and move at such an accelerated pace today that we put up with surroundings that jar, not having the time to find out what soothes our souls.
For three years my own bedroom was harboring an elegant, skirted, kidney-shaped dressing table but one full of clutter. A tacky oval mirror stood up on it held precariously in place with bricks and rocks collected over time. Because it didn’t thrill me I was piling up around the base magazines, old cards and general nonsense that had no right clogging up my personal sanctuary and in my ‘wealth and prosperity’ area at that! So one day, when a pile of filing required my immediate attention, I shifted gears and spent two hours throwing out and starting over. The inspiration for the major eye-opening event I experienced was the gift of a beautiful pale lilac orchid plant and the question of where to put it.
The clarity and beauty of the whole room changed, followed by a major shift within me. The orchid was the key.
Flowers and plants are less abundant in our lives in the dead of winter so we miss the healing presence of their beauty. There’s not a room in the home or office that will be less pleasing with flowers and greenery. Bring nature inside, even if your vase is filled only with three or four branches from the arbor vitae you trimmed in late autumn. Mine are still going strong in a cut glass crystal vase on the dining room side board.
I love flowers and, being English and a gardener, floral motifs find their way into most of the wallpapers, fabrics and bedding I select for myself and others. I was still surprised, however, by the extraordinary effect a simple, tall blue pottery vase holding three long stems of dark, pink oriental blossoms had in my living room. They had been part of a home staging seminar I led recently, bought to brighten a dark fireplace in the dining room of an old Victorian home in Oyster Bay Cove and to draw out the color of the magnificent oriental drapes. As I unloaded the car full of silk plants, lamps and pictures I unceremoniously plopped the blue vase and flowers down next to a cabinet inside. Everything suddenly came together, they’ve not moved since.
These simple, elegant branches lifted the spirit of the whole area and gave that corner of the living room new meaning. Bright and cheery against the golden walls, yet sophisticated and in keeping with a 1930s house.
I pass by, they make me feel good, and I say life is beautiful.
Helen Lind is an interior decorator and home stager working in Long Island and Manhattan. You can contact her at (516) 922-3518 for a proposal or consultation, or visit her www.englishivyinteriors.com.