What Is Gracious Living?

If you look at the logo for this site, you’ll see under it, the phrase “Ideas for Gracious Living.” Since the early days of my career, I’ve espoused the idea of living graciously. The phrase is even in the title of my book. But what does it mean? It’s a somewhat general term and could benefit from some definition.

What gracious living boils down to is an appreciation of all life has to offer. So often we get bound up in trying to get ahead, pursuing our goals with single-minded determination. We forget that life is now, not then. The articles on this site are designed to help you not only stop and smell the roses, but plant them, nurture them, arrange them and take pleasure in the whole process. So what constitutes a gracious life? Here are my thoughts:

RelationshipsHelen and Brini

Relationships are the foundation of a gracious life. And the most important relationship you have is your relationship with yourself. Developing that relationship is an ongoing project. One of the most valuable tools available for this process is meditation. If you’re not used to doing it, it can seem weird or difficult, but it’s not, really. There are lots of ways to do it and lots of disciplines. Look into it. You’ll be glad you did. A good relationship with yourself also includes attention to diet, some sort of exercise and a general attitude of kindness and appreciation toward yourself. These are all worth developing and will bring great rewards.

Our relationships with others are really built on our relationship with ourselves. Once we get that sorted  out, we find that our dealings with others change for the better. Give it a try and see.

Personal Expressiongracious living on a bear-skin rug

The next step on our journey to a gracious life is our personal expression. Expressing our individuality is a liberating thing. Our own particular combination of interests, talents and skills are what make us unique. Sharing them is our gift to the world. What if Beethoven hadn’t shared his gifts? Or Einstein? Or Charro? How much more diminished the world would be… These gifts take on several different forms:

Personal style

We all have preferences – for what we wear, how we style our hair, do our makeup… These choices, when summed, up comprise our personal style. Some are more adept than others at putting these elements together, and that’s fine. The point is that even making no personal style choices is a choice. How you present yourself to the world says a lot about you. Having fun with it can be one of life’s little pleasures.

Creative Outlets

Our other avenue of personal expression is the creative outlets we choose. Are you a gourmet or mixologist? An artist? Do you fence, collect salt shakers? Our own individual take on the diversions we indulge in is original and unique to us. These obsessions can even become careers. For me, it’s sewing, cooking, interior design and vintage. That last one has defined my life since childhood, and it’s been the cornerstone of my career. Identifying and developing creative outlets is a big part of living a gracious life – like the seasoning to a life well lived.

Home Life

What we do with our homes is the last big element in gracious living. Our homes are really extensions of our personal style. The environment we immerse ourselves in says a lot about us. Is it cozy and eclectic? Stark and modern? Does it evoke old Hollywood or is it a shrine to childhood diversions? The choices we make communicate our personalities to our guests.

Basic Skills

This aspect of gracious living, more than others, is dependent upon some basic skills. Keeping house, to name names. Often times we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by what’s required of us and our homes start to reflect that. Finding the tools to help us stay on top of an orderly home situation is extremely helpful in giving our gracious life an HQ. The alternative to this is to throw money at the problem. However, hiring out the organization and maintenance of your home puts you at a distinct disadvantage. It’s my opinion that we should be adept at these life skills first, then we’re able to direct our minions with precision and understanding.

Interior Design

Once we have the skills needed to maintain a gracious home, we can start to feather our nest in a way that pleases us. Interior design is a great way to express your personality. I’ve always loved creating environments to inhabit. Interiors can soothe, they can excite, they can welcome or insulate. When in doubt, you can never go wrong surrounding yourself with things you love.


After we’ve built a nest for ourselves, it’s time to welcome others into it. Entertaining brings us full circle, back to the first element of gracious living – relationships. Sharing our gracious life with others is such a lovely gift to give them… and you. Whether it’s a Breakfast at Tiffany’s style cocktail party or just a casual movie night, having friends over can make for some of the best times of our lives.

In Conclusion

So these are the aspects of a gracious life as I see them: Get straight with yourself, attract stellar people into your orbit, find a style that compliments you, get creative with your free time, make the most of where you live and welcome friends old and new to that home and you’ll be living graciously ever after.

11 thoughts on “What Is Gracious Living?

  • August 13, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Hello Brini,

    I am so happy always to read your posts as they are so filled with elegant solutions and positive ways to improve one’s life skills.

    I love this post because I could not be more in agreement … the only thing is…and this is my question, how does one balance these things… I am a work-a-holic and there never seems to be enough time to do things the gracious way I want,…and I am married with a son – who contribute as much as I do to the household and our general way of life… is there a course you will give on how to meter out the time correctly to get so much done?? Some say this is the only life we get but to truly live graciously,…for myself at least…I’ll need at least three.

    Many kind regards and again, thank you for being a source of inspiration,


    Mme. M. Dvanii

    • August 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! There are two things I would suggest with regards to time. The first is to remember the first element of gracious living as mentioned above – relationships. They form the cornerstone for a gracious life. If you put them first then you’ll find that it’s easier to prioritize your time. The second is that we create our own time crunches by our attention to them. We spend so much time talking about how little time we have, how we never get to do what we want, how our lives are crammed full and we have no time to ourselves. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start to look for the stretches of time you have doing what you enjoy and they will expand exponentially.

  • August 16, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Brini, this article is very timely both for what’s happening in the world around us, and for things in my neighborhood (I live in Virginia). Living Graciously has long been a goal for me, and though I’d never tried to write down its elements, you did a great job of identifying and describing its components. Only thing I might add is that done well, being gracious looks effortless to others. Though it often takes significant effort to provide, a gracious host/ess shouldn’t look like they worked hard to achieve it – its just there.

    Thanks for this piece, the thought that went into it, and everything you do.

    • August 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Your point is a good one, but that really comes back to your relationship with yourself, doesn’t it? If we’re comfortable with ourselves, then being a gracious host/ess will come naturally. Thank you for your input!

  • August 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    It’s Brini’s World. We are just living in it.

    • August 16, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Darn tootin’. If we could only be in her orbit.

    • August 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks boys, and by reading posts like these, aren’t you already in my orbit? XO

  • August 16, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Brini,
    You inspire me so greatly. I will never achieve any of your creativity. I remain a perpetual fly on your virtual wall taken by the beauty.
    Thanks so much!

    • August 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Don’t sell yourself short. Everyone is creative… But thank you for the kind words 😉

  • August 18, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Oh Brini Whata nice world you’ve created!

    • August 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm



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