"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world." ― Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver's quote gets me every time. I remember the first time I heard it was at a dinner table in the South of France when an Irishman recited it word for word.
It struck a deep nerve within me, because up until then I had ignored my deep desires and spent most of my time trying to rearrange my external world - trying to lose weight, have the perfect relationship and make more money - to offer me relief. As a result, I was constantly overwhelmed, worried and anxious about my future.
Life felt more like an enemy to be conquered than a lover to be adored.
Something had to change, and that something was the relationship I had with life.
Having worked as a critical care nurse and being present with people on their deathbeds, I have a deep understanding of what life is truly about, and contrary to what people try to convince you, it's not about making 6 or 7 figures, being a size 2 or finding the perfect relationship. None of these things guarantee you a full life.
Yet, if those are your desires (and there's nothing wrong with wanting what you want; I happen to love luxury, being fit and great relationships), falling in love with life, as it is right now, is the secret to attracting it all - with ease, grace and joie de vivre.
If you want your life to change, change how you treat your life!
Because . . .
When You French Kiss Life, Life Kisses You Back!
Here are some ways I'm having a love affair with life:
- Say thank you often
- Eat what I want without guilt (I also lost weight with this approach)
- Dance every day
- Keep fresh flowers in your home
- Invest in good linens
- Do something that scares you every day
- Create your unique definition of success
- Kiss a lot
- Create beautiful spaces to enjoy
- Wake up each morning and envision your day
- Go to bed celebrating your successes
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Take yourself on a date - get dressed up, reserve the best table at the best restaurant and enjoy your own company
- Dress up, even in little ways, each day (a great accessory, beautiful shoes or a stunning scarf)
- Take a different route to work (mix things up a little to break out of the daily rut)
- Find your signature scent
- Throw a dinner party
- Write love letters on beautiful stationery
- Host a game night
- Visit a museum
- Stop using excuses as a way to settle
- Exercise daily, even if it's just 15 minutes
- Mix it up and try something new in the bedroom (don't treat sex like a chore)
- If you don't have a partner, please yourself
- Forgive those who have hurt you (no need to continue hurting yourself)
- Always be willing to grow and change
- Go to Sunday brunch with your girlfriends
- Create plans that excite you
- Simplify, simplify, simplify
- Spend money on things you truly value
- Trust your instincts
- Allow yourself to feel fully
- Stop being so serious; be a little playful
- Surprise someone with a small gift
- Break the rules; make your own
- Don't be a copycat; create from your divine heart
- Practice living in the moment
- Meet friends for Happy Hour
- Pack a picnic, grab a book and head to secret spot
- Visit the dog park
- Plant a garden
- Cook a 5-course meal and spend 3 hours savoring your creation
- Learn to accept and love your body (as it is right now)
- Leave a $5 bill stuffed in an area of the grocery store to be found
- Place lavender drops on your pillowcase at night
- Use your fancy china on an ordinary night
- Pick your favorite era and spend the day pretending that you've stepped back in time
- Go skinny dipping
- Unplug from technology once a week
- Spend a day doing only what you absolutely desire
- Connect with someone new (new people mean new perspectives)
- Stay out of everyone else's business (their opinions, beliefs and drama)
- Cuddle...with your partner, kids, friends or pet
- Send BIG love energy to everyone you encounter today
- Wear something that you'd normally not wear (hat, scarves, big fancy sunglasses)
- Through out the day, stop and wink at the sky and say merci!
- Have a tarot reading
- Order something from the menu you've never tasted
- Learn a new sport (tennis, croquet, ping pong)
- Buy decadent soaps
- Buy the most luxurious chocolate you can find, pour yourself a cup of tea and savor every bite
- Look for beauty in everything
- Take 5 things off your to-do list and replace it with something you really want to do
- Look for miracles in everything - the unpredictable, heartbreaks, perceived failures . . . they are there if you seek them
- Choose do go about your daily tasks with passion - from cleaning the toilet to paying bills
- Allow yourself to cry when you need a good cry
- Take responsibility for your own happiness and fulfillment
- Stop complaining and gossiping
- Paint or draw; open up the channels of creativity
- Stop hanging out with energy drainers
- Eat only the best of whatever you choose to eat - aka no crap
- Be a little wild and unpredictable
- Each morning, choose who you want to BE first, then what you want to DO
- Have a secret garden
- Stop comparing. There is only one you, and that's a pretty special place to be
- Learn how to leisurely hustle - moments of massive inspired action followed by moments pure leisure
- Get outside and get some Vitamin D - one of the greatest epidemics of our time is lack of sunshine
- Throw away all your self-help books that make you feel like you're broken; you're not! Read something like this instead
- For the love of God, stop the insane dieting; when you're in love, you naturally eat a little less and move a little more - focus on LOVE
- Stop the 100% productivity mode. I'm giving you permission to not be so productive. You may find that taking that pressure off leads to smarter productivity
- What did you love to do when you were little? Do that!
- Hang out with fellow life lovers - those who curate fascinating and inspiring conversations
- Don't follow trends; create your own
- Always choose kindness, especially towards yourself
- Write a love letter to life
- Dream every day
- Put your wishes in a bottle and release them into a river
- Understand your triggers and patterns so you can elegantly navigate them
- Always ask yourself: how can I make this fun?
- Be open to the mystery of life; rigidity may lead to certain outcomes, but it will never lead to adventure and the good stuff of life
- When in doubt, always, always follow your heart
- And, if you're going to have a love affair with life, put on some lipstick and pucker up
Want to add to the list? I'd love to know how you are having a love affair with life in the comments below.
This article was originally published by Tonya Leigh at French Kiss Life, a destination for women who want to inject more elegance, style and joie de vivre into their daily lives. Through a vibrant online community and immersive experiences, Tonya helps women uncover their own iconic appeal. Are you classically charming like Audrey Hepburn, or is your goal to be a trendsetter at every age like Iris Apfel? Find out how you can tap into and leverage your own iconic appeal by clicking here.