The Art of Living Well in Jacksonville
published: January 6, 2014
EU Jacksonville Magazine | View original publication
Every day we hear about the latest and greatest secret for life success, from the newest self-help book, to the gimmicky sales pitch for the next quick fix. We all want to live peacefully, but if it were that easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it? The truth is that life is a unique art form. It takes time and regular practice to master your craft. Learning acceptance, patience, trust, surrender, and willpower can help you live more fully, but those qualities aren’t developed overnight.
The art of living well requires you to consciously take full responsibility for the life you’re creating. In your hand lies the paintbrush and within your heart the blueprint. From your daily inner dialogue to your lifestyle choices, you’re truly in control of every stroke on the canvas of life. Beyond the layers of habit and learned responses, is a masterful artist. Uncovering this creative potential requires your willingness to explore and adjust each stroke, or choice, moment to moment. Taking time to quiet your racing thoughts, adjust your self-talk, and fine tune your actions to align with your goals are all paths toward harnessing the artist within. Recognizing that you’re the only one who can make these choices and accepting that you’re entirely capable of personal transformation are necessary to master this delicate art form.
Approaching life as a creative canvas will free you from the psychology of helplessness and place the power of the paintbrush back in your hands. The art is in trusting that each stroke actively brings you closer to the peace and freedom you desire. But you must first choose to pick up the brush and make a stroke. Joining your local fitness club, learning meditation, attending a personal development seminar, or even challenging yourself to run a 5k or marathon are all paths that could lead to a greater sense of health and happiness. Since no two artists are the same, everyone will walk a unique path toward awakening their inner master. Watching how each person chooses to show up in the world makes this art form as interesting as witnessing a fine artist creating a masterpiece right before our eyes.
But a word of caution: while overcoming life’s hurdles can be invigorating, we must be careful not to hide behind rose-colored glasses and escape to utopia. This art form is to be mastered through the ebbs and flows of life’s experiences. That includes rush hour traffic delays on I-95, fussy children at the supermarket, or not enough time in the day to complete all your chores and errands. The art is in the response. These are opportunities to practice your new skills and surrender to what you can’t control. Just as a painter chooses to use magenta rather than sky blue, you too can choose the shade, intensity, and depth of your mental, emotional, and behavioral response.
It’s also important to remember that each person’s health and happiness matters in the greater scheme of things. Just as you have the power to create a masterpiece for yourself, your efforts influence the greater whole that makes up this Jacksonville mosaic. Your unique expression and participation in the world is a key ingredient in creating a luscious and vibrant landscape for us all to enjoy. We’re fortunate to live in an evolving city that embraces a holistic approach to living well. From extensive individualized healthcare options to community engagement and enrichment activities, Jacksonville truly has all we need to create masterpieces of our lives. Yoga studios, wellness centers, farmers markets and festivals continue to pop up all over the city, offering more opportunities to leave your unique mark on Jacksonville’s canvas.
This community’s holistic wellness is the result of its active participants. The performers of The 5 & Dime choose to share their love of theater with the rest of us; the creators of One Spark went out on a limb with their vision of possibilities, and yoga enthusiasts at the North Florida Yoga Fest inspired a deeper appreciation for the sacred healing art form. Each person who chooses to show up in life can leave a lasting mark on this world.
The key is conscious choice and action. You must choose to explore and participate in all this city has to offer for improving your life, or else your potential for truly living well will remain locked within your present comfort zone.
Your shade of pink may be different than your neighbors, and that’s perfectly OK. It’s diversity that creates our community’s magical and vibrant landscape, and it will continue to evolve as each person steps forward, takes hold of the paintbrush, and consciously leaves their unique mark on this beautiful city. Stroke by stroke, you are painting this thing called life. Be thoughtful, be diligent, and have fun!