Follow along as I document real love stories and share a glimpse of how I see the world through the lens of my camera.

When I was teenager, I used to think that adults had it all figured out. Boy was I wrong! There’s no guide book to dating, marriage or parenting and it seems the older I get, the less answers I have. The ONLY way to successfully navigate through life is to experience things first hand and learn from those experiences. I believe each one of us was born with a blank canvas and we have the ability to paint on that canvas however way we want. You can either splatter all over it or use the tools that you have to gracefully paint your canvas. With that in mind, I’ve titled this blog post “The Art of Living Well” and I am sharing with you my 3 personal life tips to gracefully paint your canvas.

1. Change the story. Your perspective on life is shaped by so many factors: from how you were raised to who you meet along the way. Many times, as children, we were taught certain values and beliefs and we tend to hold on to those beliefs throughout our adult lives. It’s only when you start to open your mind to new ideas that you realize perhaps you were wrong all along ( or maybe brainwashed).

I can tell you that growing up, I was taught that my role as a female was to serve the men in my life (by the way, I grew up with 4 brothers!). My job in life was to cook for them, clean after them and never go above and beyond their word of what I can or cannot do. I was expected to get married young, have children, live with my in-laws and be the perfect wife. Let me just tell you straight out now: that didn’t go so well! At about age 8-9, I saw a movie on TV (I don’t recall the name of the movie) but I do remember clearly that there were a bunch of men sitting in a boardroom and in walked a women in a nice sharp suit. She sat at the head of the table and all the men in the room turned to her to listen to what she had to say (not because of her looks but because of her intelligence). It was that exact moment that opened up my eyes and made me realize, I can change the stories that have been told to me over the years. That small little movie clip helped encourage me to speak up and aspire to become a female leader. I mean, I sucked at cooking (and still do to this day) and cleaning was really not my thing anyway, so I figured why not try the boss lady route? If there are certain things in your life that you’re not aligned with, I would encourage you to seek out different perspectives (either by talking to other people or reading more on that particular topic) and take the first step to finding your own truth and changing the story.

2. Find your spark. I believe each one of us was put on earth for a reason. We each have something to contribute to the world – whether it’s bringing joy to people’s lives through entertainment or helping the homeless through fundraising initiatives. Find your spark and don’t be afraid to share it with the world! I remember in my mid-20’s, I went through a quarter-life crisis. I felt like there HAD to be more to life than just working, eating and sleeping every day. At the time, I questioned what my purpose in life was and I had absolutely no answer. I felt useless even though deep inside, I knew there was more to me than just consuming up resources. Be patient – the answer will come to you eventually. For me, it came unexpectedly. Never in my life would I thought I’d be a wedding photographer capturing all the joy and happiness of two people joining their lives together. I mean, come on, I went to school for Accounting and Finance – which is the EXTREME opposite of wedding photography. Somehow, photography became my calling.

3. Envision your life.  What you visualize will materialize. I can’t remember where I got this quote from but it has always stuck with me and I do practice it daily. I also read a book called “The Secret” a long time ago that talked about the law of attraction (i.e. your daily thoughts will attract the people, things and events that will help turn those thoughts into reality).

For me, I’ve always envision becoming an ambitious and independent woman with a touch of elegance (although as I’m typing this right now, I’m anything but elegant at the moment as I’m still in my PJ’s and my hair is in a messy bun). Once you have a vision of who you want to become, write it down on paper and re-visit it often. I was cleaning and found some notes that I wrote more than 10 years ago (see below). I’ve kept these promises and they’re still valid promises that I plan to keep.

I obviously don’t have the answers to every question in life but I hope that the 3 advice above helped you in some way. You can decide which tip to take and which to leave behind but regardless, I hope you’re able to paint a beautiful canvas with the tools that you have!

Until next time:

Sincerely, Sandra

DreamBox Diaries #4 – The Art of Living Well

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