Alas, Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us. I have been looking forward to this four day weekend for a month. It signals the time when I imagine my clients cuddled up and cozy with family and friends, surrounded by candlelight and a feast of food. When preparations for a wonderful holiday season are gearing up and despite the rush...a joyous and festive mood prevails. Yes...I'm a die hard holiday lover! This four day weekend also signals a time when I too can spend a day or two cozied up with some good books and more importantly the luxurious bliss of being able to let my mind rest. Creativity does not work well when your life is always coming at you at 100 miles an hour.
Being that this blog has posted much about art lately, I want to post something focusing on design. Not about designing websites, graphics or interiors but my idea was about design in life and how being a designer doesn't necessarily stop when she shuts down the computer or puts the pencils away.
Springtime usually brings with it some kind of renewed spirit for reinventing one's life. Spring cleaning, new love affairs, tiny buds on the trees all seem to bring the notion that life is starting over. A new leaf is being turned. But for me, I always seem to reflect and find new life during the winter. I guess I'm not alone. I just stumbled upon Evelyn Rodriguez's blog, Crossroads Dispatches - A neo-renaissance, eco-epicurean savors, curates and shares slices from the surf's edge on innovation, design, marketing, the art of living and anything that screams Life. I discovered this tsunami survivor (yes yes...the December 26 2004 tsunami), word weaver also finds solace in these winter months. Read her Fasting for the Winter of My Content. One of the more beautiful passages that she quotes from Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti reads as follows:
"If trees were like humans, you would see them reaching down with their branches and raking up all the leaves to hold onto them for security. Wouldn't you feel bad if you saw the trees doing this, holding all their leaves to themselves as if they were in an existential crisis? This is our tendency, to pick up the pieces of our pet beliefs and theories, and hold on for dear life."
"In a real sense, self-inquiry is a spiritually induced form of wintertime. It's not about looking for a right answer so much as a stripping away and letting you see what is not necessary, what you can do without, what you are without your leaves. In human beings, we do not call these leaves. We call them ideas, attachments, and conditioning..."
It is with ideas such as this that I embark upon my four day weekend and the start of the winter season. It is the time to reflect and begin again the redesign of myself. As I wrote here on Sept 8, designers like artists are those incredible people who are compelled to live every day designing. They can't help themselves and there is nothing else in this world they would do other than design. It's an honor and a privilege. They work for it. They live it, breathe it, talk about it, dream about it, sacrifice for it. It's in their kitchen, their living room, their hallways, it's in the clothes they wear. These self fulfulling things should be chosen carefully and deliberately. Just as when we choose a photo image to compliment our design...if the photo is lovely but not relevant, what's the point? Design is an attitude, a lifestyle and it translates to almost everything we do.
Over the summer I read Design Yourself by Karim Rashid. It's quite a wonderful book. Rashid's section on Dematerialization is a winter notion. Rashid says "I believe we can add to our lives by subtracting" And when the clutter is cleared out we can begin anew. We will have fresh thoughts and ideas. He goes on to write, "By no means am I advocating that we should not be buying or having things. I firmly believe that we should be hyperconscious of the things we surround ourselves with - either love and enjoy them or do without them."
I will find myself, this weekend, tossing out the old stuff. Recycling old magazines, clothes, shoes, handbags. Organizing papers, photos, music, my office...and taking the time to think about how different I am from the person I was this same time last year. Where do I want to take myself in the future and how will I get there? I'll even take the time to simply think about nothing and just let go.