REFOCUSING ON LIFE’S BEAUTY: Guest Blog by Shykia Bell

Shykia Bell is an artist, poet, and author. She lives in New York with her husband and their daughter. She also works as a freelance writer, digital/pencil portrait artist, and graphic designer.

People everywhere, myself included, are overwhelmed by life’s challenges. Each day more is demanded of us regardless of how depleted our emotional resources may be. Not enough value is placed on our need to recharge ourselves and to an extent we’ve been primed to see self-neglect as a normal part of life. One thing has become clear to me over the years, and that’s the glaring fact that collectively society has an urgent need to heal and rejuvenate so as to avoid exceeding our breaking point.


For a while, I pondered how I could use my talent to help others achieve this. I tried blogging, and later publishing works including Duality, a collection of poems and essays all focused on highlighting the multifaceted contrasts of life’s stages. Duality actually came about during my transition into motherhood and the realization that I no longer had as much free time to devote to my craft since something more delicate required my attention. So, Duality is the culmination of the fragments of time I was able to claim during early parenthood.

Enduring life’s responsibilities and demands

When one finds themselves inundated with responsibility it can trigger an identity crisis. I’m no exception to this. Prior to publishing Duality, I faced questions regarding my purpose and connection to others. Parenthood is a known catalyst of this phenomenon, but it can also apply to anyone who finds themselves in a caregiving role or a drastically evolving state in their lives. I understand the strain that comes with thoughts of potential failure and how it tempts one to give up not only on dreams, but sometimes the prospect of facing life altogether. So it becomes even more important to seek out joyful and relaxing activities to help not only offset negativity, but to serve as another reason to persevere and connect with others and share our experiences. This realization moved me to write Shifting Perspective, a poem from Duality.


Traversing life’s corridors along individual journeys,

We view experiences through shifting lenses,

Of varying opacity and sharpness,

Sometimes enhancing and obscuring our acuity,


As they intermittently cross our paths,

That eventually intersect,

And for a moment, we share the same vision,

Albeit shaped by our individual goals.


Why can’t we linger in this place of harmony?

Why must we instead go back to wandering,

And wondering what could have been,

If we had only just remained in peace?


Life is Beautiful

Now, roughly six years later, I released my first coloring book, Life is Beautiful, with a similar aim as Duality. Though, Life is Beautiful focuses mainly on the beautiful aspects of life and nature since I believe that’s what the world needs most right now.

Now, the title isn’t meant to imply that life is always beautiful, but that its beauty still exists during the times we’re distracted by its ugly and chaotic moments. Actually, this book was created during some very dark and unfavorable times in my life over the past year or so. It helped me to remember that such times are temporary and that light would eventually break through the gloom. And the realization of the process led me to create the page Even In Your Darkest Moment You Still Shine For Someone.

Sometimes as a means of survival we must remember that we all have the ability to provide light in a world that often fixated on darkness and negativity. Such a consistent focus on the negative is unsustainable to the mind and spirit. Not only is it toxic, but it’s downright exhausting. I’ve existed in that mindset for far too long and it’s a counterproductive way to live. It’s a mode of existence I’d like to help people out of, or if possible, to avoid. Also, I strive to leave a legacy that acknowledges life’s difficulties, but also reminds people about the beauty that lies in its mysterious wonders and our ability to dream and grow. And above all, I want to be a positive role model for my daughter. I hope to achieve that by demonstrating effective, creative ways to cope with life’s challenges while maintaining hope. After all, everyone needs a reason to persevere each day.




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