L’Art de Vivre
“L’Art de Vivre” is a French turn of phrase that alludes to the art of living well. You might be surprised to find that the French definition would not include professional accolades, material success, fame, coffers spilling with gold, or even physical beauty. (Side note: I have yet to write a funeral where any of these are part of one’s eulogy either!)
“Art de Vivre” is better understood as a pastiche of things that give one’s life color, texture, depth, value and joy:
The first cherries, white asparagus and truffles of the season, the ancient, worm-holed oak-planked dinner table positioned in the center of the kitchen filled overflowing with wine, cheese, chocolate, friends and family for Sunday lunch, the annual trip to the Sea, a classical concert of Mozart in the little chapel in the square, the cacophony of smells and sounds of the Saturday morning market, the lingering kiss of enduring love, a fragrant bouquet of bois de roses tied in twine, a good book curled by the fire, a cup of Verveine tea, a crisp Palmier cookie, a beloved chien nuzzled at your feet, sunflowers tall as soldiers saluting the sun, the scent of lavender that magically christens everything it touches in spring, a neighbor’s treasured rosemary honey smeared on toasted brioche, a perfectly-golden roasted chicken on a cloud of creamy potatoes, the unmistakable sound of your husband’s laugher that magically saturates the air and your heart, the walk in winter, spring, summer and fall beneath the eucalyptus trees, the wisdom well-earned and triumph of making it to the other side of loss, grief, hurt and disappointment, the gifted moments of getting to stand by someone you love or even a stranger as they try to overcome their own travails, the tender embrace with your child (even when they’re grown), and the soul-sweet hours spent in conversation with God that hint to a much more interesting Reality.
And that’s just beginning to scratch the surface of the art of living a full, nourished, creative, interesting and memorable life! Can you make your own list?
What turns your soul on? (And that is a much different question than what turns on your ego, your intellect, your body)
The artful life is the soulful life!
It can not be bought, accumulated, measured, stored up or achieved. But rather manifests in life’s sweet nuances: experiences, tastes, smells, relationships, memories, meals, tears, laughter, kisses, broken hearts, mistakes, dead ends, nature, disappointments, signs of redemption, giving of oneself to another, falling down, getting back up and soul discovery.
It’s no wonder that when a friend recently returned from a mission trip to Guatemala she remarked, “I’ve never seen such poverty and such beautiful living under one roof in all my life. These people have next to nothing materially, and yet they have everything that truly matters. They live rich lives.”
How short the stay here on earth and how many wasted breaths chasing a life that is sandpaper for the soul.
The secret to l’art de vivre and living a rich life is an appreciation and joy in the small things. And, the degree our lives are saturated with love!
A true artist in life is someone who spends every breath falling in love over and over again.
(Falling in love with people, experiences, nature, food, beauty, God)
Ask yourself, does the canvas of my life have color (lots of experiences, relationships and memories), depth (joys and sorrows), meaning (soul-driven and faith-based) and love (the soul-nourishing kind!)?
Is my life a worthy art form? One that might catch the attention of God?
Live in Hope,
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