Artistic Flair In Chaos

 

I’m sitting in a 4×4 space surrounded by all my belongings. Furniture is pushed into all the nooks around me and nine-foot wardrobes block my view. My throat is parched and lips are chapped from a beast of a dehumidifier. The industrial fans are deafening despite the heavy duty earplugs wedged deep inside my ears. Amidst this chaos sits a rainbow of markers in a reused Bonne Maman jam jar and my sparkly gold headphones are within reach.


When Christine Mason Miller reached out to write a piece on me for Bella Grace, I was honored. She and the magazine are among my favorites.

The fall issue arrived a couple weeks ago and I’m still digesting all its’ goodness. The 160-page magazine is filled with eye candy and inspiration. Her feature is a beautiful eight-page spread that includes my non-negotiable tranquility practices (journaling, time with animals, practicing yoga, sipping tea), answers to the Proust questionnaire, and more. There’s also two cameos by Mookie!

The title of the piece is “Cultivating Mindfulness with Artistic Flair.” I love how she took my passion for creativity and blended it with an interest in mindfulness. I’ve been pondering her term “artistic flair” and observing ways it’s infused in daily life.

During recent water damage at home, embodying artistic flair was the way I coped. Losing nearly half of my tiny home’s ceiling and flooring due to a leaky dishwasher in the unit above, left me and my safe haven in a state of disarray. And it didn’t help that it happened during a week that Tim was away so I was the sole wrangler of our three pets and had an abnormally heavy work load.

The day had started so smoothly . . . and then the ceiling began to drip.

The next morning I went into recovery mode. Stacking books into neat piles that had been tossed aside in haste to avoid water damage. Rearranging my home to live in half the space (300 square feet). Moving necessities within reach—pens, laptop, printer, in box, files, Daybook, candles, tea cup, water bottle, plants. These all found a home on my makeshift desk (formerly known as the kitchen table).

I swept the remaining floor, plugged in twinkle lights, and neatly arranged creative supplies such as washi tape, colored pencils, and stamps in their temporary home. Although I couldn’t access these supplies easily, placing them in order was pleasing to the eye in a space so out of control.

Exuding artistic flair when pulling ripe veggies from an organic garden, reading the Sunday paper with a cuppa tea in a Pinterest-worthy sun room, or choosing the perfect shoe to match the perfect outfit is easy. But what about when everything is covered in construction dust or when dealing with a sick loved one in the middle of the night? That’s when artistic flair can become a signature for getting through life’s unwelcome surprises.

Although my home—and life—felt anything but Instagram-worthy, I tried to comfort my soul with small doses of artistic flair. The photo below shows my temporary 4×4 work space. In this small nook I surrounded myself with items that allowed me to act as if life was normal.

 

Artistic flair is about creating experiences, living one’s signature style, and making the most out of life’s many twists and turns.

How we deal with drama like flooding, illness, or travel delays helps define who we are. Life is messy and the response to it is our choice. While the situation isn’t our choice, that response is.

Viktor Frankl famously said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom.” And here’s where Christine’s inclusion of mindfulness in the Bella Grace piece meshes perfectly.


Today I’m writing from my desk. My real desk, not my wedged against the wall kitchen table desk. I have a ceiling and a floor. The water stains are covered with fresh paint. The din of the fans and dehumidifier has been replaced by snoring pugs.

It’s those messy moments in between where artistic flair has the opportunity to shine and help defuse the drama. Here’s to more artistic flair within the messiness. Bisous. x
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4 comments

  1. Inta says:

    Thanks for an inspiring post!

    Mindfulness and artistic flair? I don’t see a paradox. They are two sides of the same coin.

    Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

    John Keats

  2. Kimberly Wilson says:

    Thank you, Laura. So glad it resonated! Yes, transition is challenging on so many levels and that’s why infusing it with as much soul balm as possible can make a big difference. Good luck with the move and see you soon! x

  3. Laura says:

    Thank you for posting this! All of my belongings are currently packed up in boxes inside a crate in a truck that will take them to a ship and then end up in America again… but right now I’m feeling so uprooted and will be living in a temporary home without my possessions until I find a permanent home in DC. This was a helpful reminder that I can still find grace and calm and creativity even in a corporate furnished home when living out of a suitcase! Love this!

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