Laura steps onto an intricate floor made with swirling black and white tiles. She is wearing black wrap sandals, and a mustard yellow dress.

This intricate tile inspired a pause to appreciate its beauty.

As a person who strives to live life beautifully, I think it’s fair to say that where there is beauty, it’s likely you will find more peace, ease, and well-being. To consciously choose beauty can be a gateway to living a healthier, happier life. A life with meaning, a life with intention and purpose. When we consciously choose to see beauty, we tend to access a higher vibration in general. I know this because I have lived it, and I see its impact on relationships when people make the shift.

As a person who grew up in a family with little means, I can attest that those with limited resources can sometimes misinterpret that beauty is associated with luxury and wealth… that it’s a pretension, a frivolity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I recently came across a quote that encapsulates the salient truth at the root of my ethos and how I live life: “Beauty in an oppressive system proves the system wrong; it stands in stark contrast to the ugliness of the social order.” -Minna Salami.

A stick of butter sits atop a small slab of wood on an earthy tablescape.

My friend Natasha has always known how to make things more beautiful, as shown here in this beauty moment from a recent morning tea together.

If we are willing to look, beauty is everywhere. It can shift us from feeling disconnected to feeling centered. It brings us closer to the still, quiet place inside. Beauty forces us to pause in the moment. It’s what happens when we stop to meditate on a flower, a poem, or a meal. It can bring us closer to our hearts. It can bring us closer to each other.

Beauty is not limited to well-designed spaces or quality, handmade objects as I often point toward. As one of my favorite writers on beauty, Shakti Maira, says, “when an environment is healthy, it tends to be beautiful… When a flower or animal is vital and well-formed, it is invariably beautiful. When people are mentally and emotionally in balance, harmony and good rhythm, they feel beautiful within. Likewise, families with harmony, balance, and proportion are beautiful, and this can be extended to all systems. Beauty is a sign or a signal of health and well-being in every system and network.” This is at the heart of our business.

Beauty in a breathtaking Martinez landscape.

I recall when I took a class in ancient Greek mythology while at UC Berkeley. I was captivated by the elegance and beauty of the words, and how they formed visions that were so full of light and intentional creation. I wished I could have lived during that time. The downside of what might have been happening in terms of the treatment of humans was not in my consciousness. I was swept away by my imaginings, which were replacing the images implanted in me through my religious upbringing. In the books I was reading, it seemed that beauty represented the ideal expression and ultimate ambition for what humanity could be. A good life was a beautiful life, and I enjoyed my shifting perspective about beauty.

For me, beauty became not just a thing for wealthy people with access. It turned into something anyone could seed and grow. As I turned my attention to this thought, life began to look and feel brighter. It became a daily prayer to seek what was beautiful. I began to attract people who showed me how to be a beauty maker. Something began to grow within me that would ultimately become my life’s work… though I didn’t realize that at the time.

Henna, beautiful in its application and the art it leaves behind.

I realize now that my upbringing had me fooled into thinking beauty was frivolous. I was not shown the value of beauty. Its meaning was stripped of its spiritual core. In my father’s view, beauty was a symbol of the upper classes, of unattainable luxury, of ostentatiousness. Connection to the divine was a forced energy: “do this, or you will go to hell.” He failed to see how beauty is at the root of spirituality.

My father missed what I have found, which is that through beauty, we learn our own truth. We land in our hearts. We find deep and meaningful connection. The journey is in recognizing not just what looks beautiful, but more importantly, recognizing when beauty invites us to pause and access our higher selves.

Photo Credits: All photos by Laura Martin Bovard

A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post