The Artful Life » Blog

Art and Self-Care Retreat

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My tickets are booked and I’m stocking goodie bags and putting the finishing touches on my creative offerings – in three short weeks I, along with an intimate group of artful women, will be basking in the sunshine in Hacienda Mosaico’s private tropical gardens. I’ll have a pink hibiscus tucked behind my ear. The air will be filled with the smell of lime blossoms and the gentle tinkling of the fountains. We will be in a place of deep ease, creativity, and self-love. Every woman deserves such a time.

The best part is, it’s not too late for you to join us. You can still take the leap, make a spontaneous act of self-love, and book this week of glorious creativity, self care, art, and sunshine for yourself. Contact me right away if you want to make this a reality for yourself (yes, you so thoroughly deserve it.) Read more about the retreat here.

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the artful table – simple elegance

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Living artfully means celebrating the everyday. Instead of saving creativity, ease and elegance for special occasions, we integrate these qualities into our daily life. Ordinary life is worthy of celebration, and simple pleasures every day add up to a simple and pleasurable life.

I learned a lot about artful living from my grandmother. She had a real flair for turning the simple rituals of daily life into moments of beauty, pleasure, and elegance. She did all this without extravagance. Fresh flowers were a must, but often she would just bring a few pieces of greenery in from the yard and arrange them in a low bowl. Candles were on the dinner table every night, but she showed me how to make the simple tapers last as long as possible by trimming them. She saved the new tapers for when company came. Of course the colour of the candles always matched the season or the occasion; white for everyday, red at Christmas, pale blue on Easter and at children’s birthdays, dark green for special dinner parties.

She assured everyday calm and a peaceful house by keeping to a very regular schedule. She was always up early, was busy, and gave generously of her time volunteering in the community after she retired. But she always left room in her day for small moments of grace, pleasure, and leisure. Just small, regular moments. Every afternoon she had a 45 minute nap. After her nap, she would sit up neatly on her bed, sip coffee poured from a thermos she had prepared beforehand, and write down thoughts and ideas in the steno pad she used as a daily planner and to-do book.

Dinner was always cooked from scratch, and preparation was never rushed. Once the meal was prepared, she would go to her room and change into something elegant. She had a large collection of maxi-dresses and pieces collected from her travels in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. All long, simple, feminine garments, which she wore with sandals and big but tasteful jewelry. She was tall and slender, and looked perfectly natural and elegant in these ensembles.

Then it was time for cocktails. This hour was not just about having a drink. It was about taking some peaceful time out of the day to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. She and my grandfather did this every evening. My grandfather mixed the drinks and served them in special silver rimmed tumblers of which there were only two in the house – their special glasses. Grandmother made a tray with a simple snack, like a few olives in a dish, or some peanuts or a few chips. In summer, we sat on the patio, in winter, in the living room. The business of the day did not get discussed at this time. This time was reserved for pleasurable, leisurely conversation. And we would all go in to the table in a relaxed and positive state of mind.

The truth is, I am neither as disciplined nor as restrained as was my grandmother. My daily life still tends towards chaos at times, or at least spontaneity. But I can tell you that as I write on this ordinary Monday morning, there are fresh flowers on my mantel and coffee table, a scented candle is burning, and I am wearing a long silky vintage kimono which elevates “I’m still in my pajamas” into “I’m an elegant lady.”And as you can see above, I do occasionally reserve the hour before dinner for pretty nibbles and peaceful contemplation or conversation.

What simple acts can you do this week to bring a little more elegance and serenity to your daily life? Try arranging flowers on your table, lighting candles, having a conversation hour before dinner, and even changing into something special before dinner. How do you feel when you celebrate the every day in special ways? What small rituals will fit with your life?

Wishing you an elegant week,

 

 

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new moon in pisces – finding the flow within

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{Each month, nature in her wisdom and beauty offers us an opportunity, a clean slate, a shining outward and visible sign of the grace we are always given to move beyond our own shadow and start again. In the night sky, the dark Moon begins to clear the Earth’s shadow and reveals a tiny sliver of the freshest silver. The New Moon.}

How are you feeling under this New Moon? Watery and dreamy? Full of emotions for which you have no words? Disturbed by rich and vivid dreams?

Dreams and poetry, oceanic flow, the collective unconscious, music, intoxicants, healing, escape, and mysticism – all are Piscean things.

Depending on where this moon finds you on your personal journey, you may be feeling confused, untethered, inarticulate, and disoriented. You might also be feeling the energies as expansive and exciting.

This moon finds us each in a mysterious, liminal place, on the cusp between an ending and a beginning. Where is this happening in your life? Where are you experiencing an indefinable yet inexorable sense of transformation? Wherever your life is being moved, now is a time to go with the flow. If you must take action, think about the power of inner vs. outer action – this month is strong for inner action, resources, and transformation.

Embrace your feeling self. Breathe through your emotions, and be alert to the dangers of escaping into your favorite numbing habit.

Set intentions that focus on feeling and being, rather than doing. Think of inner expansion. This month will be a great time to connect with your magical wise self and receive messages from the energetic realms. It’s a wonderful month for deep emotional healing, cleansing, spiritual replenishment, and the washing away of old sorrows. Go deep, rest, reflect, and just be. Allow healing through Piscean things; music, art, writing, spiritual connection.

You may feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, or stuck right now. Understand that these feeling are natural in the face of profound change. Deep within, you are changing. Surrendering will help. There is potential for this to be a month of profoundly beautiful inner change. What intentions will you set for inner transformation, artistic and magical healing, and communion with the spiritual side of things? I’d love to hear your Piscean intentions for the month.

New Moon Blessings,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in March 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

 

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valentine’s full moon in leo – practice self-love and surrender to the flow

leo-full-moon There are a few challenges with the Valentine’s Full Moon energy today. Yes, they are challenges around love and emotion. First and foremost, we are being challenged to love ourselves – to love ourselves first, and to love ourselves unconditionally.

Today is a day to honour ourselves and our emotions, and to honour the loves and the heart wounds that have brought us to today. Take care of your heart today, take care of yourself and your body. Nurture the selves within who may be feeling small and abandoned. Fill your heart with love from within.

Feel your heart and allow space for all your emotions. When you walk out in the world today, think of practicing Bhakti, the yoga of love. Let love be your practice. Love all that you encounter today. Embrace the universality of love rather than dwelling on individual love. If you are in the throes of change, surrender to it with an open heart.

Be gentle, and abide in love.

Full Moon Blessings and Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in March 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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a heart garland how to for this special artful friday!

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Big Valentine Love,

About Bronwyn: Bronwyn Simons’ vision is of a world where we are all able to live daily lives of deep connection, purpose, and joy. She’s an artist, writer, teacher, and retreat leader whose work has touched and transformed hundreds of women’s lives for the better. Her next big adventure is the Artful Living in Mexico retreat at gorgeous Hacienda Mosaico in March 2014. The Artful Life Blog provides a daily touchstone for women seeking to live more soul-satisfying lives.

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