Raising Everyday Living to Something Special | Gracious Living

Alexandra Stoddard

One of Meredith Sweetpea’s favorite authors is Alexandra Stoddard, who embodies the idea of living a gracious life every day. In

Living a Beautiful Life, 500 Ways to add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life,

she says that “the difference between feeling bored and feeling alive lies in a stimulating daily life that is elevated into a fuller experience through pleasing details.”

She calls these details “rituals,” or patterns of everyday living that elevate the ordinary tasks to something special, ceremonial, or ritualistic.

So many of us concentrate our energies on special occasions rather than things we do, or use, every day. These special celebrations encompass only about 5% of our lives. Does that mean we are merely walking through the remaining 95% in wistful anticipation of some later joy? she asks.

It is important to remember that each single day is all we have, and we shouldn’t rush through our lives to get somewhere. Living well is a habit, special events are exclamation points.

Use the Good Dishes

Meredith Sweetpea loves to make each and every day special. Using the “good dishes,” the silver serving utensils, the linen tablecloths make the tea table special. But it is also great to make breakfast special. Pour the orange juice into a fancy wine glass, enjoy your yogurt and berries in a crystal berry bowl, or serve a cup of tea in the English bone china teacup.

Setting up beautiful details in just the areas of eating, sleeping and bathing can make an enormous difference to the quality of your life, Stoddard says.

Deliberately try to stimulate the five senses through the details of daily acts. It even makes work fun. I’ve often been teased about having tea at my desk in an English teapot rather than a styrofoam cup.  Doesn’t it taste much better? Put fresh flowers on your desk and hang a pretty painting.

Turn Tasks into Rituals

As a bonus, Stoddard says that making tasks into rituals actually saves time. It may take some time in the beginning, but once you’ve had the fun of creating them, they tend to sustain themselves and you. You’ll find you are enjoying yourself more deeply as you flow through the day and add touches that stimulate enthusiasm and give energy.

“One of the real goals of rituals is to make sure there is ample time given to making the small things in our lives count. In this way, we enrich the whole of our lives, and the continuity provides daily and weekly enrichment.”


Own it Today!

Order Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life, by Alexandra Stoddard here.

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