In my last post on permission I talked about the gift of granting permission. to others Today, I want to talk about granting permission to ourselves. I want to share one small way that I granted myself permission to make a small change in my life. It was this one small thing but I worried about what doing this might say about me, or how others might suddenly perceive me.
What was this small thing I wanted to do that was causing me anxiety? I wanted to have fresh flowers in my house.
Was that anti-climatic? Prolly.
Flowers? That's it? That was my big thing?
If this sounds silly--and it might--this is really a very real internal struggle for me. Without getting into the personal history of all of this, I really struggle with the fact that I love art + design + beautiful things and I want to create a beautiful home, but at the same time I have a deep discomfort with feeling like these desires might make me appear shallow and superficial.
In my mind, I worried that fresh flowers in my house would mean I was trying to be fancy. I don't want to be fancy. I want to live a beautiful life. I want to surround myself and my family with meaningful beauty, including art, literature, good design, kindness, music and yes, even fresh flowers. As an artist, I believe in the power of beauty to elevate, uplift and inspire. But there is another side of me that says it's for show, it's superficial and can you really care so much about what your home looks like and still be someone who cares deeply about the struggles of the world?
The answer I came to is yes. Of course you can care about both.
I have started to accept that trying hard not to appear superficial or worrying about who I might become if I fully embrace my love for beauty, is not helping me, it's holding me back. I'm not being more authentic and vulnerable, I'm being less authentic and vulnerable. I have talents in this area that I have been stifling because of fear and it's time to stop let it dominating my life. So flowers. It's a small step, but it's a step.
For a long time I would read blogs about having fresh flowers around the home and how much they brightened up the space and really brought a new sense of life to your home. In addition to all the reasons listed above, I was too intimidated to have fresh flowers around my house because I didn't know where to start--where should I be buying fresh flowers and how should I arrange them once I have them? Eventually, I took a one-day flower arranging workshop and I've been happily buying and arranging flowers around my home ever since.
Today I thought I'd pass on my permission to you and break it down into a few easy steps so you can also be one of those fresh flower homes that feels a little more alive and beautiful. And if you feel like you need permission, please let this post be your permission. And if not flowers, then something else. This is my gift to you.
Lets arrange some flowers shall we?
Vessels + Flowers
First, look around your house and find all the different vessels that could house fresh flowers. You can have traditional vases, but also jars, mugs, bottles, pots your kid made in art class--anything. Also, look for a variety in size and shape. I love having a tall vintage glass bottle for a stem or two, as well as shorter bud vases that I fill until almost overspilling. My favorite finds for vases are second hand shops, estate sales and flea markets. Just keep your eyes open and you'll find them everywhere.
Where to buy fresh flowers: The grocery store. If you live near a Trader Joe's you'll have even more selection. You could always track down a wholesale retailer--and my goodness if you have fresh flowers growing in your yard have at it!--but baby steps guys, the grocery store is a great start. As far as which flowers to buy, here's what I almost always do: Two bouquets of flowers + one bunch of greenery. And for one of the flower bouquets I always get one in white. You just can't go wrong with white! And did you know that carnations have made a comeback? They have.
With smaller to medium sized vases I do the same thing--grab a few stems, trim them to an appropriate height and call it good. For the shorter bud vase below, I added quite a few shorter flowers until it was very full looking. There's no real way to go wrong here guys. Remember, not all vases have to have flowers... I love the look of a few cut greens in a vase. I do this all the time.
In the end I had 5 small arrangements from 2 bouquets and 1 set of cut greens, which I believe set me back about $12.
I really love having beautiful fresh flowers around and they really make such a difference in the look and feel of a space.
More importantly I like that I granted myself permission.
Anyone else out there working on granting yourself permission? Are you wanting to make a big or little change in your life? Looking to take a class to brush up on a skill or gain a new skill altogether? I'd love to hear anything about this idea and if you're actively working on steps to give yourself permission to do something, big or little, in your life. I've got a few ideas stewing in my head right now and I really want to start thinking about the next steps.