Indie’s Inspiration: Danielle From The Lovely Diaries
Danielle is a writer, photographer, researcher, art enthusiast and blogger living and working in New York City. In 2014 she founded The Lovely Diaries. Inspired by her love of film and art, The Lovely Diaries is designed to support your creativity, inspire you to dream and dare you to create a life that is not only beautiful, but most of all meaningful.
It is a place where you can go to gain inspiration on how to set a beautiful table, bake a decadent cake, create a wonderful home, put together a quintessentially chic wardrobe, indulge in luxurious skincare and travel to exotic places. At The Lovely Diaries, we believe it is not enough to simply live a beautiful life, but that we must strive to be mindful and socially conscious. We have pledged 10% of all annual profits to organizations dedicated to the arts, and mental health and wellness. Inspired by Indie Lee’s incredible story and mission statement, we have selected her Lavender Chamomile Moisturizing Body Oil to be featured in our online store.
Finding Beauty Through the Simplicity of Life
Cultivating a well-lived life is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with finding beauty and meaning through the simplicity of life. Nearly 10 years ago, I was in a life-threatening car accident. After eight long years, I was finally able to recover. Six days after my 19th birthday, I was told I might never walk again after breaking my back. While everyone I knew was beginning the second semester of their freshman year of college, I was being measured for a body brace. For three months a nurse stood by my side to assist me. She came every morning at 8am and left every evening at 7pm.
After my body brace was taken off and walking became easier, I began to rebuild my life. At the time, I believed my injuries were exclusively physical. Looking back, the emotional toll of nearly losing my life and legs at the age of 19 was far more challenging than any physical pain I endured. At a time when I was supposed to enter adulthood, I was thrown into a childlike state.
But being unable to move without assistance from my bed for three months gave me time. During that time I discovered the power and beauty of stillness. I gave up on thinking about the future, in exchange for the present. It is only human to anticipate what tomorrow will bring. When I left my college dorm room that fateful [day/night], I did not think that I would never make it back to school the following semester. Now I believe wholeheartedly that most of the things we worry about never do happen, and often it is the things that never seem to cross our minds that cause us the greatest suffering.
Having no other option but to sit quietly with myself and my thoughts made me realize that I was most myself when I was still. Life tends to distract us from the present moment, often with a list of to-dos dated “tomorrow” or “someday.” My accident showed me how to remove the clutter in my mind. If there is no space in our mind, then how are we supposed to connect to our higher selves? In the back of everyone’s mind there is a peaceful place.
Seven years after my accident I ventured to Bali. Bali is known as the Island of the Gods, and is deemed one of the most spiritual places on earth. In Bali I worked with healers, mystics and spiritual gurus. I realized while in Bali that there is a place inside each of us that can bring us moments of peace and euphoria if we stay still long enough to observe our own consciousness. Through a single breath we can connect to our higher selves.
Abuse of food, alcohol, drugs and overspending numbs our thoughts and brings us further away from our true selves. I know from my own experience that it is easier to numb ourselves with destructive habits or sit in a bath of worry and anxiety than to embrace the present moment and engage with whatever is in front of us. I can feel my experience more deeply if I remove the emotional clutter and connect to my higher self, just by being conscious of my own consciousness. Instead of acting against a situation, I merge with it. The primary concern of my life is maintaining an inner state of consciousness. It doesn’t matter what my world looks like on the outside, but if I am one with life than all is beautiful and all is extraordinary.
The truth lies deep inside each of us; we just have to be quiet and honest to hear it. A well-lived life begins with your inner self. No matter how many homes you own, how many pairs of shoes line your closet, how many exotic places you can escape to or how big your bonus was last year . . . you cannot enjoy those things unless you are well with yourself.
I have cultivated a life full of beautiful things, but my real accomplishment is the relationship I have with myself. I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the world around me, or marvel in the beauty of life if I didn’t find that peace. Happiness is a place deep inside of you, where life might be hard and challenging, but it can always be beautiful.
Photography by Susan Baker