Living a great life in full bloom is surely something each and every one of us aspires to? Sometimes however whether it’s fate or our own human frailty, there are many incidents, events and issues that come along to trip us up, keep us from achieving as we would have liked and, to top it all off challenging us on every level.
It doesn’t matter what country or culture we come from, or live in, accepting our frailties as human beings is one thing that connects us all.
It is integral to our journey through life, the one that can often seem just too hard.
How we ask, when many of us are bound down by fears of the unknown, do we take that first giant step forward and to move outside our comfort zone and learn how to make success and feeling good about ourselves finally happen?
And, how do we first break the habits of a lifetime, the ones that can hold us all back from opening our hearts and minds up to making a transformation?
Elizabeth Murray of California, is a respected artist, author, teacher, photographer and sage. In her latest book Living Life in Full Bloom Elizabeth offers “120 Daily Practices to Deepen Your Passion, Creativity and Relationships.
Her guide is all about helping the rest of us to open our hearts and minds, change our habits and live life on our own terms.
Elizabeth has dedicated her book to all those people who have helped her plant the ‘seeds’, those who have helped her to ‘water and prune’ and open the pathways to becoming both ‘cultivated and wild’.
In her own unique way, Elizabeth wants to help us to implement changes that will allow us to live our lives joyously, embracing all of life’s possibilities.
If her plan helps us to understand there is a new way to live, a new way to love and a new way forward then it’s already a success.
If we follow Elizabeth’s lead then we will be able to have a life full of passion, creativity and warm relationships.
When you read it for yourself you know it is an extraordinary manual of the ‘spirit, soul, body, senses and life’. Her gem of a book is packed full of delightful anecdotes, rare insights, words of wisdom and exciting, exhilarating and often hilarious experiences and how to transform our lives forever. She’s walking a pathway we all want to follow.
Elizabeth asks us to explore the pathways ahead by using four personality archetypes that she has identified through her own real life experiences. They are the Gardener, the Artist, the Lover and the Spirit-Weaver.
The ultimate aim is not to be just one of these, but all of them if we can especially intellectually and philosophically.
Elizabeth Murray is a woman of great integrity.
She knows just how hard it is to come to terms with deep sadness and personal loss and so she starts by sharing her own difficult and often very sad stories.
As we learn about how Elizabeth has coped with her own challenges working through them with the support of those in her circle, we begin to understand how and why she’s giving back to the society and culture that has nurtured her in every aspect of her life.
Elizabeth is truly touched with magic and she is also humble all at the same time.
She provides a platform we can all step up onto if we dare but try, one where we can discover how to embolden our own daily lives.
She knows the first step is always the hardest and she understands that in order to start we first need to “define the purpose of our busy life, to figure out who we really are, and to unearth our passions and gifts,”
Hers is truly an authentic voice, one full of feeling, meaning and trust.
Elizabeth Murray’s presents her four muses as those who will help the people who are seeking to make changes.
The gardener she believes will help us not only to deepen our relationship with nature but also teach us how to nurture ourself by being generous and patient.
As a bit of a gardener myself, this was a chapter of rare insights I enjoyed immensely, some of which I had also shared when creating a garden of Roses and Lavender at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane when I was living there.
At the time I was in turmoil, having suffered grief and loss myself, and her lovely page about her feeling ‘of coming home’ in a garden and where she said that even the word home used to make her cry she longed for it so deeply, had also been part of my very personal experiences and so the connection was made.
Planting the seeds, caring for plants, watching them grow and then bursting into flower can be both an enriching and healing experience. Roses and French lavender are high maintenance plants at any time, but certainly during that time of my life caring for them helped me to care for myself, which is the finite point Elizabeth is making.
Shifting our focus takes time, patience and caring about self, especially if it is to fully bloom.
As ‘gardeners’ when we learn to take one step at a time, to offer respect and learn how to receive we can begin to finally savour and enjoy the fruits of our labours.
The journey of the artist is Elizabeth’s next exploration. Artists and art in all shapes and forms provides a wonderful vehicle for therapy.
It’s not just about painting or sculpture, but very much more. Art can be about your home, transformed by beauty a place where hospitality is sacred, where you invite others to celebrate and share life with you. It’s not just about a place to dwell, but a place to be.
Art helps us all to expand our creativity and imagination, inspiring us to create and innovate in a number of ways and in many different mediums.
An Artist for Elizabeth is also about being a muse or mentor for others. She believes, as do I, that they will want to help to guide others to be positive half full people all of the time.
Then there is the Lover …
Elizabeth’s Lover helps us to ‘open our hearts and to fall in love with life.
They help us to find our often deeply hidden depths, the centre of our passions and purpose in life and bring them bubbling to the surface like a beautiful spring.
There we can bask in the waters of life, refreshing and reinvigorating ourselves so that we can continue to learn how to celebrate life on a daily basis either on our own or with others.
Learning to love ourselves first is one of Elizabeth’s key messages, because if we don’t feel good about ourselves then how can we project good vibes onto other people so they will want to be and spend time with us?
Elizabeth Murray’s Spirit Weaver is not about religion, although if you are a follower of any religious ideology, you will tap in easily to what she is saying and the message she is espousing.
Elizabeth’s spirit weaver is talking all about how, by just being in touch with our inner life and needs, we can learn to live our dreams, bringing our big picture plan to fruition, while making sure we have underpinned the details to help make it happen.
It is about ‘integrating mindfulness, celebration and blessings into each day.’ Here’s another point I can relate to entirely, having lived in the precinct of great Cathedral for five years, and having my religious beliefs as integral to my life for so long, constantly when I was there I witnessed ‘small miracles’ happening all of the time for those who opened their minds.
With Elizabeth Murray‘s wise guide to ‘Living Life in Full Bloom’ you can create your own plan for the future by identifying your own set of unique four pathways to follow. If you choose happiness as a pathway then, as Elizabeth points out, you will also create joy.
There is no doubt judging from the comments on the dust cover of her book, and on her facebook page, that Elizabeth Murray has brought many people great joy and is still doing so.
The lovely photo of her with a class full of’full bloomers was taken on the last day of one of her workshops, which was held at the California State University Monterey Bay. The ladies attending had just all made their ‘full bloom flower crowns’ and were proud and very happy to wear them.
Sometimes just the physical act of performing the simple task of writing down what we want to achieve can be liberating.
Before she talks about her ‘Life Mapping’ process in her guide Elizabeth gives pages of wonderful sage advice.
This includes practical tips and descriptions of rituals we should all establish such as gentle exercises like walking in the park, along a river or on a beach.
You can change your sleeping in habits if you have them and get up early and watch the sunrise either alone or with a friend, one whose support you treasure and value.
In another extreme you could go skydiving, or like Elizabeth, just sell up everything and go to France and live in a rusty shed while you help to restore famous Impressionist artist Claude Monet’s Garden at Giverny even if you don’t speak French!
Elizabeth reminds us too that if we regularly say thanks for our many blessings then we will know how to find compassion.
We can make positive changes that will not only help ourselves but also help others.
We can share our books; teach someone else to read or read aloud to a foster child and help to improve their literacy.
It’s a case of making haste slowly and not setting unreachable goals while learning how to find fulfillment, even in the small things of life.
Overcoming fear is a key discussion.
A little fear is healthy otherwise we would fall off a cliff without a fence, however it’s really too much fear that’s one of the main parts of all our challenges in life.
Fear of making a mistake, fear of being embarrassed, fear of what other people will say, fear of what might happen; fears we need to learn to surmount.
The book itself is in an appealing easy to carry intimate format, and teaming with ravishing imagery. I will always treasure mine.
A great deal of the photography is Elizabeth’s own, with a number of guest artists involved too.
Elizabeth Murray has recorded the vision that is Monet’s garden at Giverny annually now for some thirty years and her photographs of it are known around the world.
In this wonderful book now available, Elizabeth Murray generously shares her own thoughts to help others connect, communicate, conserve, protect and celebrate life.
She’s all about us all learning how to honour each other and about helping us to turn words into action for the greater good, as well as our own.
Recommending Living Life in Full Bloom by Elizabeth Murray for me is truly a great pleasure and a joy.
It’s definitely the ultimate guide to Living Life in Full Bloom
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014
For those living in or visiting California, Elizabeth Murray regularly holds classes teaching the Life Mapping process in universities, colleges, museums, corporations and places of healing, including her artist’s cottage.
She’s not surprisingly, much in demand. www.elizabethmurray.com
Watch a Video Interview with Elizabeth Murray