Creating Sacred Space

Grove of Trees

Grove of Trees (Photo credit: coldacid)

Interior Design is a much more intimate journey than fashion.  While clothing can influence an attitude, it is an external layer, with the purpose of showing ourselves to others.  A home is our intimate space where things are not necessarily seen by others or perfect but it is where we create our art, we go inward, we build our nest and family values, refresh our souls and spirits.

Rachel Ashwell

As we continue to explore the theme of the Enchanted Oasis, I’d like to move into the topic of how we create sacred space in our lives.

If we look back a hundred, two hundred years ago, the ability to create or even visit an enchanted oasis was available to only a chosen few.  Human awareness and conscience has grown so that more and more of us want the human family across the globe to not only see an oasis in the distance, but to live in one.

In the last 100 years, we’ve also seen that the earth is an enchanted oasis among the stars.  In all of the universe, we can see that there are other possible locations for life, but there are also vast distances that do not have the life we experience here.  We now know see more clearly that we need to cherish our oasis in the cosmos.

We are moving into a time when we must work with the earth’s ecosystems and seasons and cycles.  At the same time, ideally we could elevate the livelihoods of all people.

Some say we cannot move into a time of greater prosperity with the same approach that has helped us to bring great prosperity to the western world, otherwise global ecosystems will collapse.  Some say ecosystems everywhere have already passed their capacity.

It seems to me that the wisest among us are calling for a new vision of creating sacred spaces working with nature.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Part 1

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This was a day of reduce, reuse, recycle for me.  Usually, I don’t do all three at once.

Today is both electronic recycling Saturday in Aurora and free big item pick up day.

I probably should have taken pictures of some of what I was getting rid of and recycling today for this blog, but I was thinking that far ahead this morning.

Due to the work that I used to do with by-product synergy, I don’t like to throw anything away.  If at all possible, I like to give it to someone to reuse or find a way to recycle my unwanted or un-needed items.

Since,  I’m now on a quest to reduce the amount of stuff in my life before I move into a new place, I was up at 8am in line with other cars taking advantage of the opportunity to get rid of stuff like old building materials, big appliances, carpets, toys, etc. Then, it was off to the electronics recycling center and finally a third place that accepts hazardous wastes like the flourescent bulbs and batteries I had been collecting.

Re-using someone else’s trash and transforming it into treasure

When I got home, I decided that I was on a roll and painted this old dresser.  Someone was throwing it away last fall, and it was exactly the kind of piece that I wanted for storing my youngest son’s art supplies.  (Note: reducing usually means you don’t consume something in the first place, but I consider reducing the amount of stuff that I buy new to be helpful too).


Another view plus polishing up an old picture frame

I like that the dresser is not perfect and has chips on the drawers — that feels more Wabi Sabi to me. Now that it’s painted,  I know it goes perfectly with a black stained table and chairs that I purchased from Crate and Barrel many years ago.  In a few days I’ll show how they look together.It feels so good to be cleaning up in a responsible way.And it got me to thinking about ways to benefit from the reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy in our writing – Part 2 comes tomorrow.

Writing and Living the Imperfect Story

Have you ever wondered why you’re the only person with an imperfect life?

A few days ago, I was thinking about all the things that I wanted to change this year.  Improving my health is on the top of that list (again).  As as I put the list of little things that weren’t so healthy or could be seen as imperfect about my body, the list ended up being much longer than I expected.  In addition to my imperfect body list, this year there was an unprecedented avalanche of things that broke in and around my house from my dishwasher to a wobbly old car to leaks in the plumbing.  In many ways, my finances are broken too. The amount of situations that are imperfect in my life is long and the list of quick and easy solutions isn’t.  Yet, I go on, and life is not only good, but in many ways wondrous.

Much of our society seems to believe that lives that are neat and tidy, healthy and pure, organized and purged of imperfection are signs of a life well lived.  If we subscribe to that point of view, we can get very unhappy about our own life’s journey when things start to fall apart as they inevitably do with age and time.  We can feel like we’re doing something wrong, when in truth we may be living fully in tune with our life’s rhythms, and need to come to peace with the less than “ideal”.

When we write, we can also get caught up in too much of a drive for perfection, so much so that our characters become free of flaws and come across as wooden and unrealistic.  Our non-fiction books can be factual and slick, but void of the spirit of life that can only come from a person who understands how to communicate with a vulnerable heart about their subject.

If you’re wondering how to bring more soul into your writing or life, this might be a good time to learn more about the Japanese principle of Wabi Sabi. My appreciation for the impermanent and imperfect was increased the first time that I read, one of my favorite books Wabi Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren.   I came away from reading that book with an appreciation for the beauty of imperfection that has stayed with me.  To stay in touch with this very grounded perspective of life, I make it a practice to re-read that book at least once per year.

Today as I thought about Wabi Sabi, I came up with some solutions for problems with my novel.  There is not enough beautiful imperfection in certain chapters.  For the next couple of days, I’ve set aside time to make room for the imperfect in both my creative work and my life.

How about you? Do you honor the imperfect through your writing or art?  Do you see the beauty in your “imperfections”?