Beauty In May ~ An Inspiration Challenge

Image Description: Blue lotus flowers

This month began on a much higher note than many months prior. I did this crazy thing and after spending some time driving around with a fresh cup of coffee, I made the decision to venture back into a grocery store.

All I needed was blueberries but this bright blue orchid caught my attention straight away. It felt like some sort of sign of hope and positivity. And I mean, going into a grocery store and not being met by sensory overload or fear of being in a busy place is a huge step forward for me.

As I got the orchid home, I recognized an opportunity: why not share this beauty with everyone in my chronic illness/chronic pain world? Why not make an effort to find something every single day of the month that I find beautiful?

And my Instagram challenge began, and I surprised myself by where I drew inspiration from each day.

May 1st ~ the blue orchids that started it all.

May 2nd ~ My mother nature hand made clay pendant with the lab gemstone glistening in the sun.

I didn’t have to shut my blinds this day and got to enjoy the sun landing on anything and everything. My lucky bamboo plant was beginning to flourish again after a bit of over-watering in April.

May 3rd ~ A custom tray made for me adorned with crystals and perfect to display small trinkets.

This tray lives in my living room where I can glance up at it most of the day and admire the beauty and creativity that went into creating it. It’s a constant reminder that there are still unique things in this world and people worth investing in.

May 4th ~ After having to rush out of the pool and into shelter, I glanced out to see the sunshine hitting the trees with a dark sky behind it. Mother nature is truly incredible and if it can shine even in the face of a storm, any of us can.

May 5th ~ These rocks from Black Canyon of the Gunnison and the Colorado National Monument were gifts from my dad.

Ever since I was little, he has shared his rock and gem collection with me. These rocks are special and served as my inspiration because although my pain was higher, I could be reminded about the immensity of our planet and how the Earth naturally forms so many incredible works of art.

May 6th ~ Today’s focus was the beautiful flowers outside. I really wanted to be outside, but it was a bit cloudy and I wasn’t feeling perfect. I made an extra effort to keep my blinds open and enjoy the natural light.

These flowers were a good reminder to embrace the moment and simply pause and admire them ~ you know “stop and smell the roses” type of mentality.

May 7th ~ Amidst striving to find things to pause and admire each day, May saw a shift in how I paid attention to food and what I put into my body.

I drew my inspiration from the bright colors in this delicious curry dish and was reminded that finding foods that make me feel good and are tolerable when the pain is high, or the nausea is heavy, or my teeth hurt too much is extremely important in my healing journey.

May 8th ~ While waiting for my medicine to kick in, I found my inspiration in the photos my dad had taken while in Colorado.

It serves to inspire me in the moment to listen to my body so I can be out in nature and travel when I’m really feeling up to it.

May 9th ~ I recognized how powerful the furniture and decor is I have around me and chose to find inspiration in the new chair I purchased. It is a part of a new space where I can truly feel like myself, unwind, and reflect.

May 10th ~ I was feeling less than okay and truly emotionally down when I came across this incredible piece made by my friend Kae. She titled it “Inner Release” with the message: overcoming frustration, obstacles, and feeling of helplessness. That’s what this piece is about. Surrounding yourself with wonderful and bright things to help you grow the way you want to. Enjoying life and remembering it by being in the moment.

Her work really spoke to me, as it always does, but gave me the reminder I needed that everything I need is already inside me and it’s okay to focus on things around me to draw inspiration and happiness from when I can’t find it easily within.

May 11th ~ Drawing inspiration from new perspectives and light fixtures helps me to recognize that sometimes we need to approach things differently and pay attention to how our understanding is based off of where we are.

May 12th ~ *Insert the Pocket Full of Sunshine* song. It was raining all over town and supposedly at my house too. Except I was graced with a beautiful little pocket of warmth and sunshine that allowed me to unexpectedly get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

May 13th ~ It’s only appropriate that my hydrangeas got to be the focal point at least once this month. They were all starting to bloom and there were just so many more buds than normal. It served as a reminder that we have to nurture things all year long, for many years, for them to begin to flourish.

May 14th ~ And for a bit of sassy inspiration, I dug out my swear word coloring book. I made a big shift throughout the month to really understand my morning routine and try new things and see how my body reacted.

This meant avoiding social media when I get up, listening to podcasts and coloring. Turns out the markers are too smelly for me, but my mornings now contain an educational podcast and some reading of blogs rather than instantly checking in with the world.

May 15th ~ What’s more inspiring than the ocean? Being able to go to the beach with my best friend when the weather was perfect and actually getting to enjoy myself. I let go of my fear of a migraine creeping in and managed to not focus on the constant nausea I was experiencing.

Also I’ve been eating a lot more cucumbers and they make quite the refreshing beach snack.

May 16th ~ Did my little beach trip wear me down? Probably, but I spent the day focusing on listening to my body and not blaming a single one of my actions for my pain. Sometimes I have to listen to best understand rather than make things worse for myself.

Today’s inspiration came from realizing I didn’t have any inspiration. I paused to make some comforting tea and realized I couldn’t let my Instagram challenge fail because I wasn’t feeling inspired. It took all of three seconds to realize I am constantly surrounded by inspiration like this handmade butterfly world and a stamped custom painting from a previous professor. It reminded me how fortunate I am to have such treasures made by incredible and inspiring individuals.

May 17th ~ As one place of pain gets lower, another creeps in and my day was uncomfortable with returned abdominal pain. My inspiration came from this beautiful dress. I’d been eyeing it for months and finally decided that it is something that would really make me happy to own, so I ordered it.

May 18th ~ My inspiration came from laughter today. My precious little cactus seems to be leaning more and more everyday – no matter how much I rotate it to not face the sun.

I decided she was leaning so much in anticipation of having to lean and peer through the clouds to catch a glimpse of the full moon.

May 19th ~ Today I had to allow my inspiration to come from myself. I was feeling empowered and drew from the incredible full moon to draw out a rough sketch of a potential tattoo idea.

May 20th ~ I wanted to be the inspiration and help others be inspired. Every time I wear this dress people love it and I feel like a ray of sunshine. It’s important to have things that make us happy and sometimes its worth changing out of my regular sweat pants and t-shirt to dress up and feel good about myself.

May 21st ~ I was in absolute awe when I stepped into my back porch and found this giant magnolia bloom in a vase. It’s immensity and fragility are powerful and reminded me that we can be the gentlest of creatures while healing from our scars and remaining a powerful force of nature.

May 22nd ~ There isn’t much better than fresh blueberries and bright red strawberries. Taking a moment to enjoy them and remember how good they are for my body is incredibly important.

May 23rd ~ Today I got to appreciate a new artist I stumbled across and be the proud owner of her first resin koi fish piece.

May 24th ~ After a disappointing doctors appointment and the realization that I’d spend an awful lot of money towards this I was instantly reminded to appreciate what is around me. Instead of rushing through the heat to my car, I paused and captured the incredible Spanish moss cascading over the sidewalk.

May 25th ~ Sometimes we have to pause and think about what speaks to us in the moment. My inspiration came from the jewelry and crystals I was drawn to that day – opal, tourmaline in quartz, labradorite, amazonite, rose quartz, rainbow quartz, amethyst, blue chalcedon, and celestine.

Crystals have always been said to have incredible healing powers and carry various energies, and although I don’t know much about them I know they are inspiring and grounding.

May 26th ~ I’m sure my precious little cactus is getting tired of me laughing at her, but humor heals the soul. I got the cutest little sticker to go in the pot because as an interior designer I’ve made the executive decision that plants also want decorations.

May 27th ~ Dragonflies symbolize change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization and have been a source of inspiration for me since I was little. This little guy decided to visit me while I was enjoying the shade and company of my family on Memorial Day.

May 28th ~ For some practical inspiration, I chose my new sunglasses to represent good decisions and deciding I’ve put them off for too long. With how bad my migraines are, and how horrible light impacts me its incredible that it took me until now to invest in some darker sunglasses.

May 29th ~ Curious kittens were my inspiration to listen to my body and understand my needs. Why? I’m quite allergic to cats and in house sitting for my brother, listening to my body and understanding my own boundaries proved to be really important. Plus, we all should be a little curious sometimes.

May 30th ~ The beauty and inspiration I drew from while wrapped up in blankets and ice packs waiting for the pain to subside came from the song and life just behind my curtains. The most harmonious of songs was coming from some playful birds and it reminded me that there is always something that can bring us joy, even in our must uncomfortable moments.

May 31st ~ My final source of inspiration this May were these precious dragonfly cut outs I received in a give away package from my sweet friend Vanessa. She doesn’t know my affinity and deep connection to these incredible creatures, but included them anyway thinking I would like them.

These dragonflies will get placed throughout my room to always remind me of good friends and strength.

It’s been a long month, with multiple ups and downs but embarking on this spur of the moment challenge was enlightening and really helped me grow.

In focusing on beauty, we have to be reminded that beauty is fleeting. However, we have to take time out of each day to truly pause and enjoy what is around us. We spend so much of our days in pain and focusing on how we can get better or be more positive, but the truth is we over focus on those things.

Making this conscious effort to step back and stop myself if I hadn’t been stopped in my tracks by the simplistic beauty of something really made this month wonderful.

This month I drew from everything from nature, to food and fashion, to creativity within and things that represented the reminders I needed most in the moment.

We all need a little beauty in our lives and we all need to be a bit more in love with the world around us.

Here’s to more beauty and hope in June !


Interested in some of the art you’ve seen throughout my Beauty In May challenge? Here’s links to the artist’s websites:

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