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Life Lessons from a Zombie, Part 2: Confidence

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Welcome back listeners to the second thrilling installment of the Zombie Diaries! To recap, most of us will go through life without having an actual, physical near death experience but many of us undergo something similar spiritually. I am talking about the moment when all you thought to be true about life shatters like an earthquake, a firestorm, a tsunami and a terrorist attack. Life slaps you across the face with a razor blade in its palm and you are left bloody and disoriented.

It feels like you have died ... and maybe you have.

Maybe you faced depression like me. Maybe it was sickness, toxic relationships, bankruptcy, loss of a job, yourself or someone you love. Afterward, the world around you is forever changed because of your experience and the new perspectives that come with it. There are lessons to be learned; there is light on the other side.

There is a way to face death and claw your way back to life. And though we are no longer the creatures we once were, I would wager we all feel happier, stronger and more alive as zombies than we ever did before. So, this week, we examine the next common trait that we zombies share:

Week 2: A Core of Unshakable Confidence

When I was young my family used to eat at a cheesesteak restaurant that had a train caboose in the dining area. My sister and I would climb up to the little window in the top and peer out pretending we were on some grand voyage to the unknown. Since becoming Undead, I have gained a little different perspective. As wonderful as life’s ride to the unknown can be, camping out in the caboose has its limitations. There is no control over your speed, your route or your destination. You basically have one option: hold on and hope you are headed somewhere good.

My life of depression was completely centered around a lack of confidence in my physical appearance. If the almighty Pinterest is any indication, many others feel the same way. The keyword confidence leads to many scantily clad people. Now kudos to them for embracing their physical form and being confident in their own skin but I feel that it sells us all short to focus this important Zombie trait simply on the physical. My after death achievement in this realm has taught me that my self confidence and my feelings about my physical appearance do not have to walk hand in hand. I can maintain an un-breakable little nugget of myself regardless of my pants size or my caloric intake. And I have value independent of both as well. I would like to propose the following quote for approval to my fellow Zombies (and all of you live bodies as well) as a suggestion of a more successful way to find confidence:

“Confidence doesn’t come when you have all the answers, but when you are ready to face all the questions.”

e9f2c91217ceece4239115ab9602ec58I wasn’t able to find who said this (please comment if you know), but this direction seems much more productive in facing an unknown world with confidence. Finding strength in who we are makes what we do and what we look like so secondary. We get that blissful peek at a better perspective in life and our previous concerns (I have to wear a size what in this store?!?) seem less and less important.

What does happen once this all-important nugget of confidence is in place is that we have effectively muscled our way from the riding in the caboose of our train up to donning a classic striped cap and strapping in to the driver’s seat of this crazy contraption that is daily life. We gain more energy, we seek and find direction, we are less mired in the swamps and our journey is less delayed by the expectations of others. Our little steam engine burns bright and fast and the inexplicable source of the flame is so much stronger than the teeny space heater in the corner of our cramped old caboose. We are in control of the speed, the route, the pit stops and more importantly the destination.

Etymologically (yup, definitely a word – dictionary, anyone?) the word confidence comes from latin meaning “full, firm trust”. This seems such a stronger way to manifest our new trait; not in projecting things toward others – but in trusting that if (when) we fall, we know we have within ourselves the inner strength to get back up. Stoke your inner flame of confidence; let it be a slow burn deep in your chest that allows you to drive your engine straight into life at full speed, ready to weather all that comes with it.

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Embrace the delusion; enjoy the results. Have a wonderful day my lovelies.

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

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Life lessons from a Zombie, Part 1 : Living in the moment

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

The following is a repost from my old blog called Utter Bliss, centered around finding bliss in the everyday. I am increasingly convinced that life is simply a trek consisting of our own search for this elusive bliss that we forget is within us, around us and smack in front of our faces. We are here to seek it, help others on their search for the same and ultimately realize that the seeking is the fun part anyway.

I am revisiting this series of posts because zombie stories are ubiquitous and don't seem to be a trend that is slowing.*(Link to old post here) I would like to support our running hypothesis on this blog that we are all drawn to what we like because there are lessons to be learned from it - even if that takes the form of a zombie  movie or TV series.

And come on, who doesn't love a good zombie story ...

I recently came across a list of traits shared by those who have faced near death experiences. Those who have seen the other side of death…zombies anyone? Oddly enough, I feel that I can relate. I pre-empt this by saying that I lived a fairly sheltered, risk-free childhood. There were no broken bones, no serious accidents or diseases. (There were a lot of paper cuts; seriously, Me = Book Nerd.) I did live my entire childhood, adolescence and beyond with a pretty ugly case of depression and have just gone through a divorce from a marriage that spanned a full third of my life.

What I didn’t realize until coming across this list is that this last year has been its own sort of “near death experience” for me. By no means do I want to trivialize a true near death experience, but the changes in how I view life and how I approach the everyday are consistent with those who have stared death in the face and come out standing (or limping or crawling). We made it; and it has given us perspective. We are stronger and happier because of it.

So zombie-fighters, I propose that we look at each of these one-by-one and embrace the lessons we can learn from the undead – of which I am apparently now a part.

See below for the first of 10 lessons that us zombies have fought so hard to learn - and fight daily to remember.

*****

Welcome to part 1 of 10 in our Changes after Near Death Experience series, affectionately called The Zombie Diaries.

Zombies have an amazing ability to live in the present

a skill that takes so much longer than a moment to achieve and yet is so simple when we stop the noise and focus only on the next step.

daa4660d6a0a7d716c114952ed710756I am not a runner. *note heels in photo* I have tried repeatedly to be one, to like the lifestyle, to wear the “wicking things”, to want to spend good money on new shoes every 6 months (that are bought solely (excuse the pun) for function and not for their gorgeous … well, anything). My most recent foray into running started innocently enough last fall.

I was fed up. Overwhelmed. Wanted to run away from it all, so that is literally what I did. I was such a mess of emotions that while I was running I was not thinking about the things that usually fill my mind when I try to be a runner; namely: How much longer? How far have I gone? Where am I going? Can I turn back yet? No seriously, how much longer?!?

Instead, in my mental state at the time all I could think was, “run, breathe, run”. And that is when I learned to enjoy running. I wasn’t running to go anywhere, I wasn’t running to lose weight or to get killer quads or to show someone up. I was literally running to drown out the chaos. In picking up my momentum I stilled all that was racing around me and isolated my mind to the minute present. One breath, one step, repeat. I realized that I do truly enjoy taking one great step forward and feeling the air race into my lungs. I feel so alive and so capable – if I just focus on that one breath.

Living in the moment of course requires that we are not caught up in the past or the present. Personally, as a zombie I have a memory about as long as, wait…where was I going with that? Needless to say, dwelling in the past is not my biggest problem. I do find that the past is best accepted when I remind myself that I did the best I could with what I had at the time. It is so true that you can’t go home again; but if you turn your face forward in anticipation for all that is to come it helps to leave the past in its place; behind you.

Leaving the future to the future is not so easy though. I find myself focused all too often on what is to come. Can I really go a full 5k today? What am I doing tonight; this weekend? Where will I go on my next vacation? Who will I be dining on later? (Bad zombie joke – though I do have a date with my fellow undead to track down some yummy carrion/human steak bleu.) Six months after my love affair with running began, I am still enjoying the journey it takes me on – when I remember to forget where I am headed and simply enjoy the next breath; really that’s all us zombies can count on.

*PS: I am still not sold on the shoes.

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“Our life is a collection of moments. Nothing more.

“Who we are is also determined by what we do in each of those moments. Decide who you would be and then act in each moment as you would have yourself act.

“We have no guarantee of tomorrow. Just right now. If we commit to each moment and live it hard whether we are laughing, crying, working or playing. One day we will fondly remember a moment and realize it was years ago. We will look back and see years well lived.

“There are no big issues, they don’t fit in each little moment. Big issues are really just sums of little issues.

“If we attack each infinitesmal time increment of our life, the integral will be simple and beautiful. If we stay true to the same ideals in doing so, it will be smooth. If we try to attack the integral as a whole, it is beyond our comprehension, since we are limited to the now, and we will fail.”.

–Tennille Christensen

 

Yes that’s me (in spirit at least) and yes I always run with balloons. So? Zombies like balloons too.

How do you stop the noise and momentum and live in the moment?

 

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

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Think you're not the 'Creative Type'? Think again...

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Being that I have always been into art, theater, music, language, fashion, etc; I was labeled early on as a 'creative type'. As such I was allowed, even expected, to think outside the box. The world to me is one big treasure trove of inspiration -  jumping off points that serve to feed into to new concepts, new theories, new creations. No matter what situation, what medium I am presented with, I am enraptured by the potential - by what it can become. The mind reels. - And I was not only allowed this point of view but actually expected to foster it - for the sole reason that I was "creative".

In stark contrast to this is my love for math. The numbers, the formulas, the discovery of systems that 'just are', of properties that in mathematics and science are often proven on paper, before they are understood in the real world.

I felt at odds with myself. I wouldn't say that I was drawn to the rules of the equations. More accurately, the mystery of it (an element that in my mind, it shared with art). I felt there was understanding available that lay just beyond the grasp of my brain. The harder I tried and the further I reached for it, the further it ran. And as I chased the gold at end of my comprehension rainbow, I tried to compartmentalize the pieces of me that felt at home in the respective corners of my French & Math double major (in addition to my love for theater and music). As I tried dividing and sectioning off, I couldn't help but feel that they were all one and the same. That what I was seeking was bigger than a discipline, more far-reaching than any syllabus.

We are all seeking. We are seeking to answer something - to get closer to an understanding of even what the question is. I would theorize that we have all of the answers in front of us at our easy disposal and we simply have to find the right formula, the perfect composition, the correct perspective, in order for us to finally, truly understand.

Our discussions of the Gap over the turn of this new year are a beginning to this understanding. They are a big fat arrow on our collective treasure map pointing out the 'uncharted territory'; the areas of least understanding and most potential for the meaning that we crave.

So now I am in the business world. I interact with talented professionals on a daily basis who are extremely successful and push the envelope within their respective spheres to accomplish more, offer more, understand more. And guess what?

EVERY ONE OF THEM CONSIDERS THEIR JOB TO BE CREATIVE.

Without exception, every person that I come across who is highly respected, successful and passionate about what they do views their job as a creative pursuit. This ranges from the obvious musicians, artists, photographers and writers into realms that we don't expect to be included in that category: scientists, doctors, finance guys, computer programmers and C-level execs. Regardless of the discipline toward which they apply their talents, these active thinkers enjoy working their way around a problem and finding an original solution - connecting the dots, writing the code, drafting the equation. Taking a handful of problems and navigating their way to baskets of previously unconsidered solutions.

THIS is the gap. These creative types (I bet that now includes you, even if you didn't think so before), they delight in the empty space between the problem and the solution. The freedom, the potential the maneuvering to get from the known to the not yet known - THAT is where the magic happens and just one example of how we all connect to it.

Do you want to know what they do differently than everyone else? THEY DROP THE BOUNDARIES. THEY DEFINE THINGS ON THEIR OWN TERMS

I have my own sense of style. I can't speak to how awesome or questionable it is but I know that I am often told, "I wouldn't think that you could do something that way." or "I thought you had to do ..."

I always tell them that the difference between pulling it off or not is in believing you can. Or, even better, in NOT CARING ABOUT PULLING IT OFF.

I have to be honest, I feel cheated. If someone had told me when I was in school that I could be a doctor and be creative about it or framed my science project as an opportunity to think out of the box and then test that with the scientific method - I would've felt like I had more options. I knew that I would never be happy in life without the opportunity to stretch my creative, expressive muscles on a regular basis and to me, at the time, I thought that only included a limited number of pursuits - definitely not business or science. How many brilliant thinkers are we missing out on, because we tell them that creativity belongs solely to the 'artistic' or 'creative' realms?

So here is our homework. I challenge you to first expand your definition of creativity. Let yourself have fun with something that you previously considered to be a regimented, rule-based discipline and see what comes out of it.

Second, spread the word. Give those around you the liberty to flex their creative muscle as well - and to do it within their daily routine. There is opportunity to fill your day-to-day gaps, in more fun ways than the safe, accepted method. You might find that you enjoy things more and also that you are better at them, because you are exploring that space between the problem and the solution. It's a big gap - go have a party in there and maybe you'll meet some new and interesting people...

How do you find creativity in your job? Is it through traditionally creative means or do you find ways to expand and be imaginative where others only see rote processes? How do you fill your creative gap and what is your favorite part about doing it?

 

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

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The crazy things I did with my Sunday | How to fall on your face and love life even more because of it

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

The following is a story of how my Sunday reminded me to connect with those around me. laugh at myself and appreciate everything that lives in the Social Gap.

I spent my Sunday being reminded of the importance of enjoying the people around you and appreciating the Social part of the Gap that we talked about for the past 3 weeks.

I began my Sunday with a group meditation class. It was my first time going to this class and though I had met the instructors once, I had never met the other attendees. We gathered in, grabbed a cushion and began a series of awkward breathing exercises and slightly embarrassing calisthenics all to the sound of a guru chanting Ohm from the sound system. This was followed by about 20 minutes of seated meditation in which we were guided to think about those around us, those we loved, and those we didn't even know. We directed our thoughts at the others in the room, the people in the city surrounding our room and beyond into other parts of the world. We focused on positivity, on flushing pain and anger, on the human connection that we all share.

When the meditation was over many shared their experiences. For the most part, we came in scattered, lonely, stressed and tired. None of this was readily apparent, we had all maintained the social norm of, "I'm great, thanks." as we had met at the beginning. Now, however, there was a calm that permeated the room. Each person was more likely to make eye contact with others around the circle and to genuinely interact rather than talking at one another. The drop in blood pressure was practically palpable and everyone left smiling - for real.

Immediately following this, I headed over to my  regular Acro jam session. (For those of you who are unfamiliar, check this out and prepare for your mind to be blown - yes, that IS us doing crazy things Summer Sunday afternoons in Cheeseman Park...) The first time I tried this, about 8 months ago, I showed my mom a picture of me (see below - yes, that's me) and the first thing out of her mouth was, "You do this with strangers?" My reply was, "Well, they aren't strangers by the time you leave..."

acro PS- if you are in Denver - check this out and come join us!!! Jen and Austin are incredibly talented innstructors.

There is nothing like Acro. The standard greeting when entering a practice is, "Do you want to play?" and you proceed to do just that. By the end, your gluteus everything, your abs, and all those little muscles between your ribs are screaming at you - and you are howling with laughter. It is impossible to hold a straight face when you are hanging upside down on top of someone else attempting to flip this thing and roll that all supported by a pair of feet. There is sweating and clothing malfunctions and there are moves with names like Ninja Star,  the Fruit Rollup, Swimming Mermaid and the Mobuis Strip. When you leave you hug each other, panting and grinning and you can't remember the last time you felt quite so much like you were 5 years old.

There is something that all of the elements of my day have in common.

They all start with awkwardness. With feeling stupid and doing something that you aren't quite sure is a good idea and you are definitely not comfortable with. Everyone sort of looks around shyly at everyone else, gaging if it's really ok to reveal themselves - to entrust them with their energy and intentions, or even further, with their full body weight often supported in poses that can become immediately intimate.

BUT - they all end in connection. Once those walls have been cracked open, one brick removed, one smile shared, one link welded in place between our selves and those around us there is an immediate change in our physiology. We feel calmer, we feel like part of a community, we smile and share and laugh. We believe in the goodness of humanity just a little more readily and we trust in a positive future for all of us just a little bit more easily.

Guess what? This is exactly what we have been talking about for the past 3 weeks in our discussion of the Gap. These are concrete examples of bridging the Social Gap - that space (literally and figuratively) between us and those around us. We talked about how the desire to cross over this gap is innate and how much happier we all are when we find ways to do this.

I am not here to convince you to meditate. I am not here (at least today) to tell you that you should find it within you to pair up with your neighbor and let them suspend you upside down by their feet. But I will tell you that aside from the scientific evidence that these are healthy practices for many different reasons, it is a good idea to challenge yourself in the presence of others. There is a rawness that makes you more susceptible to their energies, more open to connection and in result, more inspired and enthusiastic about life and about the future. In letting yourself be vulnerable around others, you open your eyes to the beauty of their vulnerability and to the importance of working together toward a larger goal (relate this to the Universal Gap here.)

I want to add in a few references for you all that take this even further. One day in my life of expansion and connection does not a well-rounded argument make - and the argument for finding sincere connection with those around you is infinite. So - let me refer you to others, much more convincing than myself.

Of course, there is the ineffable Brené Brown. Her TEDx Talk on Vulnerability and her TED talk on Guilt and Shame have almost 23 million views between the two of them. Her entire point is that in overcoming our fears; fears of others seeing us for who we really are, we open ourselves to connect on a real level and as a result, we feel happier, more optimistic and more supported.

Malcom Gladwell gives a great example of the benefit of bridging the Social gap in his book Outliers when he talks about a small town, Roseto, Pennsylvania. In case you missed this bestselling book (or forgot the details - since it was published alllll the way back in 2011 - so long ago Instagram and Pinterest weren't even invented yet.) Gladwell gives an example of the very concrete importance of community and culture to our health. You can read the chapter here, but in a nutshell, connection with others = a longer, healthier life.

I didn't start my day thinking of the connections I was going to make, I was more focused on scheduling and class location, etc. but as I drove home from my whirlwind of experience, what stayed in my mind were the people I met, the connections, the smiles, the new perspectives and the outright belly laughter at falling on top of one another and the sweaty hugs goodbye with new Facebook friends to facilitate easy invitations for next time.acro 1

I wanted to improve my day by getting in touch with myself and instead found it was far more enjoyable to link up with traveling partners and link our collective journeys. Bridging the Gap can be enlightening. It can turn you upside down and make you fall on your face. It is found in unexpected places but it is truly the place where the magic happens.

Go out and find your magic!! Let me know how it goes, how do you bridge the Gap between you and those around you so that you are more vulnerable, more happy and as a result - more you! Share this with those who make your life a better place to be and tell them the difference they make in your everyday. (Words are pretty good at spanning gaps...give it a shot.)

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

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How to Embrace the Unknown: Knowing What you Don't Know, The Gap Part 3

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Hello! So great to see you again and welcome to 2015! There are so many opportunities that await us this year. So many struggles and lessons and celebrations that currently are mo more than a twinkle in our eye, our soul, our being. Our entelechy awaits - let's embrace it with open arms!

Part 3 of our Gap series is the perfect juncture to move forward into this brand new year. We will be discussing the Universal Gap which examines our place within the world around us. The relationship between us as humans and all that lies beyond. The endless, eternal question of WHY.

As a quick recap:

Real magic, the secret, indefinable ‘wonderful’ of life exists within what I like to call ‘the gap. The Gap is the place where the magic happens. between here and there; between what is and what can be; between what we are and who we will be. The gap is the space between. Between what? EVERYTHING. In essence, the Gap is that something we are missing; that we are striving for. The Gap is the indefinable magic of science, ecosystems and physics equations. It is human connection; love, jealousy, friendship. It is the yearning within us to be more, do more, understand more. It is wanting; it is striving, it is struggle and failure and determination. The Gap is why we get up in the morning and what we dream about at night.

The beauty of examining the gap is that in understanding what is missing, we begin to allow our brains to do 2 things: 1. No problem can be solved without first understanding what that problem is. To fill in the gap with our innate knowledge and our subconscious problem-solving. 2. In understanding that the gap lies between 2 things, we can jump off the side we are standing on and better trust that there is something on the other side. In awareness of the other side, we can jump with the trust that we are risking in order to reach something greater.

As an example: the most fundamental and most complex gap of all is: Life itself. Think about it. All that you are, all you will become, all your memories, your achievements, your self lies between birth and death. Both on a physical level and also on a psychological level, you exist in the Gap between birth and death.

As we have explored in the previous 2 weeks, The Gap can be best understood in 3 pieces, each broken into 2 parts:

Individual: pertaining to the self and all that lies within who you are (including all potential that you contain). Elemental Gap: The physical gaps that exist on the cellular, biological level inside each of us. This Gap refers to the basic challenges of being a living being. Fundamental Gap: The essence that makes us who we are; the difference between our cells and our selves. This is that something that makes you more than a collection of atoms, but an actual person with desires and dreams.

Social: Pertaining to the interaction of self with those around you. The bridge between Primal Gap: The physical gaps that exist from person to person. We have an innate need for physical contact, for palpable assurance that we are not alone. Perspective Gap: This is the space between my life experience and yours. The space that, when bridged, gives us perspective, connection, comradery.

The last level that we will look at is the Universal level. This is the level that deals with purpose. This is the  gap that examines how we fit into the bigger picture and most importantly, the WHY. Why are we here, what purpose does our existence serve?

The first level of the Universal Gap contains the fact that we are basically filters for what is happening in the world around us. Yes, the world continues if we are not here to witness it but the distance between a happening and our perception and understanding of it are what make it notable. This is the age old question, "If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?" I will answer that for you - yes. But what sound? That can only be described through the filter of how you define "sound". Is sound simply the fact that there are sound waves created? If this is all that it means and no one is around to experience or document the emission of those sound waves, does it still count as a sound? Furthermore, the relevance of it making a sound all comes back to its importance as a part of a greater system. Who cares if it makes a sound if no one is there to hear it?

The beauty of the Filter Gap is that the implications of it are infinite. We are the filter of the world around us. This gap also includes the idiom "looking at life through rose-colored glasses". Think of yourself like Cyclops in X-Men. He is unable to look at the world at all except through the filter of glasses that he wears. We too are blind to the world around us without the 'glasses' of our perception. There is actually no such thing as "objectivity", no such thing as "un-biased". All that is taken in through our senses, even through our comprehension has, by necessity, been filtered.

What this means is that we can alter the filter at will. We can choose to wear 'rose-colored' glasses; to see things positively, or otherwise. When I was younger I had fairly severe depression. Living in this hopeless state convinces you over time that any happiness you have felt before was just pretend. That looking at the positive side of life is simply making yourself believe in a fantasy world. You feel as if the bleak view of the world that you currently see is its true nature. This is not true of course - the reality is that both points of view are equally real. Both require that you view the world around you through the lenses you have chosen to put on. (In no way am I saying that depression is all a choice or that it is not chemically based, but I am saying that little by little, you CAN train yourself to wear other glasses.)

The last of all 6 gaps is the biggest. This one is the doozy that we all spend our lives trying to 'get'; to define, to understand, to wrap our heads around. The Purpose Gap is the reason we are all here. It is the gap that we try to explain with religion, with philosophy. We try to define it through science, through meditation, through the bridging of all the other gaps combined. In essence, it IS the other gaps; they are all contained within the bridging of the Purpose.

What is important to note about the Purpose Gap is that, like all the others - but to a greater level, this one is completely unknowable. We must become comfortable with the fact that this one doesn't get solved, but that within that unknowable nature is the beauty of life. We are all working the same puzzle. We examine the little pieces, assess their shape, their size and try to fit them into a larger picture, but here's a clue to its completion: not one of us has a complete set. No one does. We all have a few misshapen shards of the bigger picture and the only way that we can make sense of the whole, of the entirety of the puzzle of life, is to share. Is to combine our pieces; our experiences, our perspectives, our passions, our pain and lessons, with those around us. I promise you, the picture on the box is no help. Any "final picture" of what it should look like is a facade, it is a fabrication likely made up to make a profit. Not one of us knows what it is supposed to look like. Bridging the Gap is about combining our pieces with others and getting collectively closer to a real, meaningful conclusion. We must let go and hold on for the ride without assurance of what lies on the other side of this gap; of what our puzzle will ultimately look like. That is the exhilaration of existence. THAT is the magic that we are all looking for: the fact that it all unfolds before us as it should in its own time and that we have the privilege of being here to watch it all unfold. Isn't it marvelous?

So I encourage you to delight in the gap. Embrace the uncertainty of it and commit to the exploration of its infinity. Just as in life, the gap is not about finishing, it is about experiencing and enjoying - while we strive to reach the other side, we also know that it is impossible to reach it. (Math nerds: we have reached our asymptote.) The exhilarating part is that the closer we get to our goal, the more enjoyable it is, the closer to infinity we become (wallflowers, you know what I mean).

 

Embrace the infinity of the gap; enjoy the unpredictability of the journey.

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

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Bridging the Gap : How to Create a Team : the Magic of Perspective

Hello lovelies!! I hope you had fabulous holidays and a chance to enjoy the wonderful people in your life. Today we are continuing our 3 part discussion on the gap:

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey back to the place where the magic happens - inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness - and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Just to clarify, because I had some questions from last week's post, we are charting new territory here. I am not recapping a book for you, this is not a concept that you should remember from philosophy class (though in truth it is the elephant in the room within any class you have ever taken). We are intrepidly exploring this theory together in order to learn through active conversation; through a mental trial and error so that we find more accurate paths to bliss in this crazy thing we call life.

In essence, the Gap is that something we are missing; that we are striving for. The Gap is the indefinable magic of science, ecosystems and physics equations. It is human connection; love, jealousy, friendship. It is the yearning within us to be more, do more, understand more. It is wanting; it is striving, it is struggle and failure and determination. The Gap is why we get up in the morning and what we dream about at night.

Last week we inspected the Individual Level of the gap and how it manifests itself in our personal world. This week we are turning our focus to the gap that exists between our 'self' and those around us. The second type of gap exists at the Social Level. Here we are talking about the space, physical and psychological, that separates each of us as an individual from those around us. This level can also be broken into 2 parts: the Primal Gap and the Perspective Gap.

The physical piece of the Personal Level that we talked about last week was internal; a cell to cell connection within the individual. As we discuss the Social Level, there is also a physical piece: the Primal Gap. This gap is all about touch, bridged of course through physical contact. The Primal Gap is that fundamental need within all humans (and many animals as well) to connect to those around us through physical contact. It has been said that touch is our primary language and has been proven that without it we cannot thrive and function at an optimal level. The Primal Gap is that distance that we must fill in order to reassure ourselves that we are not alone; that rather than simply occupying the same physical world as those around us, we are actually linked. A simple touch can bridge isolation, can connect us physically to another being. It can reassure those around us with a hug, a handshake or a pat on the shoulder. They all help us to feel like someone else is there in the infringing darkness; that in the midst of the swirling confusion that we all face on a moment to moment basis, another being knew, and actually cared, that you were there.

The magic that lies within each of us at the Personal Level can only be shared as we reach across the gap to share with others. And sharing doesn't just mean physical touch. If you recall, we discussed how the neuron to neuron connection is both physical and psychological. The two Social Levels share a linking factor as well. In this case, our social synapse connector is eye contact. This is the bridge that begins in the physical and sparks something more. It moves us within the Social Level from the Primal Gap to the Perspective Gap. *As a note, sex tends to bridge the two Social Gaps as well. As a simultaneous attempt to bridge the gap between two bodies as well as a way to connect on a deeper emotional level.)

The Perspective Gap is the formation of a team, it is also the space between my perspective and yours. It is the gap that, when bridged, makes us feel supported and appreciated; it makes us feel loved and connected. The guru on genuine connection is of course celebrated researcher, writer and storyteller: Brene Brown. She says, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

I have a little 8 pound dog named Orwell. He is 11 or 12 and is slowly starting to lose his vision. At times, he will start whining for no reason or bark at people he should recognize. I began to put 2 and 2 together and realized that on these occasions, he thinks he is alone. He feels suddenly isolated or, worse to him, surrounded by strangers. All it takes to calm him in these situations is to speak. To assure him that there is someone there with him in the dark unknown that surrounds him. The Perspective Gap can loom large. It contains all of the differences between us; the miscommunications, the misunderstandings, the judgments. But the simple way to bridge this is to communicate. To delight in the fact that we all bring something different to the table. That you support me and I support you. We are a team in the face of whatever is to come and our team is richer and stronger for the gap that it is spanning. Relationships are a great example of this on many levels. We all find pleasure in bridging the gap emotionally with people we care about. In communicating our hopes and our fears we join one mind to another. In finding a way to share a moment, a smile, an experience, we all bridge the Perspective Gap between my perspective and yours.

There is an innate reality that the world around us is not real in many senses until we experience it. Our reactions to and interpretations of the world around us are part of the Fundamental Gap but of course, no two people experience it in the same way. One of my favorite things in the world is to watch others in moments when they are fully engrossed in what they are passionate about. There is magic in watching someone enjoy a part of life that I take for granted or don't fully understand. We can all learn to appreciate ourselves, the people around us and the world around us better if we incorporate the perspectives of others, if we learn to understand their side of the bridge just a little better. And this is another function of the Perspective Gap. We get a more accurate view of the world that surrounds us when we combine it with the perspectives of others. We will discuss this more next week when we examine the Universal Gap.

The gap is wide open; connect with those around you and delight in your collective strength.

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

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Mind the Gap: The Place Where the Magic Happens

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Today I am so excited to share a concept that is perfect for the holiday season.

I am going to show you where the magic happens.

Today I am so excited to share a concept that is perfect for the holiday season. I am going to share with you the key to magic in the real world. Guess what? You don't have to live on 34th St. and trust me, this is bigger than Santa.

Real magic, the secret, indefinable 'wonderful' of life exists within what I like to call 'the gap'. The gap is the space between. Between what? EVERYTHING. You'll be amazed what we are going to find in there - so, as our title today says, "Mind the Gap"! Pay attention; it's kind of a big deal. It will make your head spin faster than a london train whipping out of the station. But also, really put your mind toward these concepts and the ramifications, the complexity and the ubiquitousness of the magic that is the gap.

This is a HUGE topic. For clarity - and in the interest of time, I'm going to break our discussion into 3 parts: Today we will examine the Personal Level. This is the gap on the individual scale. Then, over the next two weeks we will branch out to the other 2 parts that reach beyond to those around us (Social) and humanity as a whole (Universal).

Let's start small. I call the individual level the Personal Level. This can be broken down into two pieces: the Elemental Gap and the Fundamental Gap.

Elemental Gap On an elemental level, we are alive because of the gap. Contrary to how we generally see the world, science tells us that true 'solids', in the way that we think of them, do not exist. Not our skin, nor our eyeballs, nor our bones. We are actually a collection of space - much more space than matter. In fact, far less than one one hundredth of a percent of an atom is true mass. The rest, the other 99.999999% is the gap, that space between the nucleus and the electrons. So what are we made of then? That space is basically charged energy. Wait. Take that in: we are made up almost completely of charged energy that fills the space between. Even on the minute level of one atom, if that tiny gap is so full and active, the subsequently larger gaps are at least equally so. These atoms live next to each other and bond together, all humming and vibrating their little energetic gaps together.

We benefit from the Elemental Gap throughout our bodies. The gaps in your lungs give you breath. The gap in your eye between your lens and retina actually makes you able to see the world around you. The gap is also the space between neurons, that synapse that must be connected in order to tell our other cells to move or breathe or further, to form a thought or entertain an idea. And wait, this synapse is bridged by...charged energy, the elemental piece of the magic that is/exists within the gap - do you see a pattern here? The neural gap is a special kind of gap because of its relation to thought. It is the bridge between the two types of Personal Gaps. It is at once physical and psychological; it is the link between the Elemental and the Fundamental Gaps. The magic of this particular gap is that when the synapse is jumped, we gain thought, insight, feelings and consciousness.

Fundamental Gap The other half of the Personal Level is the Fundamental Gap. This is that figurative, psychological jump from neuron to neuron that makes us us who we are. It is the very thing that gives each of us our own magic je ne sais quoi and makes each of us indefinably, fascinatingly human. This gap is the gleam in our eyes, the velvet in our voices and the spark in our touch that cannot be explained on paper or with a math equation. It is our essence and the quirks that we possess that are more than our biology. The Fundamental Gap is the infinitely potential space between existence and awareness. It is that something extra that happens somewhere between our cells and our selves.

The magic of our individual personality exists smack in the middle of the Fundamental Gap. It is the home of our emotions, our experiences and ultimately the bliss that we find as we interpret the people and world around us. Also a part of the Fundamental Gap is the space between where we are and where we want to be, what we have and what we dream, our reality and our potential. (In case you missed my previous post, entelechy is a key piece of this.)

As you pause your momentum over the next few weeks to close out one year and begin another, take account of how you will fill the gap between the two with intention for where you will direct your Personal Gaps. What will you do with your Elemental energy and what will you achieve with your Fundamental potential?

The gap is wide open; fill it with your own brand of magic.

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

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How Harry Potter and Plato give you better perspective on life

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

I had a dream in which I was watching myself as a 1-year-old playing by the edge of a lake. I leisurely chatted with my parents as we lounged in beach chairs and I watched my small self poke sticks in the mud drawing shapes and digging pits to bury shells. As toddler Mandy turned and shifted her weight, it became clear that she was going to tip over backward into the water that was easily a 6 foot drop just off the edge of the bank. I jumped up from my chair before anyone knew what was happening - before my little self even began to fall. By the time I got to me, I had toppled over backward into the water and was sinking. I dove in and grabbed me by the ankle and tried frantically to raise my little body, breaking the surface with both or our heads in less than 20 seconds. I woke up panicked and panting but oddly elated. I had saved myself. It made me think of Plato.

Let me start a different way.

Sometimes we become entrenched. In our habits, in our lives in the limiting mindsets we create for ourselves that hold us back. We look out at life through the spectacles of "self" and are trapped into believing that the view we have in front of us is the only one available.

I would like to offer a well supported alternative to us all. This is not a new idea (is it ever?). But there is merit in revisiting and combining and embracing old knowledge. Sometimes our collective consciousness is just as forgetful as I am and it can use a refresher.

Way back in the 4th century Plato understood that we often go through our daily lives without being able to get past what we see right in front of us. His cave allegory constructs a metaphor about humanity. Basically, most of us are chained to the ground within a cave. All we can see is a wall in front of us and we spend all of our time watching shadows on the wall pretending that they are real. We construct our lives around stories that we create about these 2D forms from our limited point of view. Not only do we fool ourselves into believing that what we see is reality but we also live consumed by one perspective on the situations we are 'experiencing'.

So how do we unchain ourselves? How do we see beyond the problems right in front of us that seem insurmountable and overwhelming? How do we break free of the cave, walk into the light and gain a wider, more realistic and more multi-dimensional perspective on life?

Consider this quote from The Great Gatsby:

“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”-The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

What if our problems are an allegory, a metaphor, an illusion or at least are created by the fact that we are only looking at a small part of the entire situation? Ok, I am not saying that certain problems in life can be wished away or that we can stick our heads in the sand and make believe they aren't real. But what if some caves are self-constructs or at the very least the chains that hold us down are all in our heads? I propose that we take a cue from Fitzgerald. Let's step out of ourselves, unchain ourselves from our 2D perspective and visualize for a moment that we are watching the situation from the outside.

What would happen if we could remove ourselves from our own circumstances and watch our struggle from a new perspective - and then what if we could ride up on our white horse and save the day ... for ourselves as a result of our new-found and more enlightened perspective?

This is not without precedent. Have you read Harry Potter? Seriously, just humor me. In the 3rd Harry Potter book (or movie if you are so inclined), Harry Potter is dying and being attacked by evil forces - long story, details aren't important. As his consciousness is fading, Harry looks out across the lake he is lying beside and sees a man he believes to be his father casting a spell that saves his life. Later in the book, Harry finds himself in that exact position across the lake, watching himself, dying before his eyes. He panics. Time is growing short; where is his father? The spell that needs to be cast to save his "self" on the other side of the lake is too difficult for him. He needs his father to come and ... he suddenly realizes that his father had never been there. The figure he saw as he lost consciousness was himself. There was no time to think about the limitations of his talent or education, he had to save himself. And the beauty of this situation? He knew he could do it. Why? Because he had already done it! I'll wait while you ponder that one. Seriously. If you knew, actually knew that you had already done something; had seen yourself achieving it, don't you think that you would run full spreed ahead through any barriers that were in your way? You would waste no time, leave no stone unturned, you would grow no moss and take no prisoners ... you would just do it. Check out the video below:

What if problems can be solved simply by pretending that you have already accomplished the result; in suspending reality and believing that you already know what the outcome looks like. You can draft it, draw it, spell it out and shape it as you please. If you could get to the bigger perspective of Fitzgerald's 'without' long enough to see the twists and turns in the road you are walking, to see the exit for the maze you are navigating maybe that space between 'within' and 'without' would no longer seem so daunting and mysterious and insurmountable. Maybe in seeing the end goal (self-defined or not) you would be able to see more clearly the best way to get there.

In case you feel uneasy basing your solution on a line from a fiction novel, Fitzgerald was not the first to bring up this within/without duality. The 7 Principles of Hermetic Wisdom (think 2nd century BC) (reference to my blog post here) sought to give a comprehensive understanding of the universe and self. One of these is the principle of Correspondence which says, "As within, so without". I am suggesting that we all take a step back from the within and try the formula in reverse: as without, so within. Sometimes the perspective of 'without' is more enlightening than the forest 'within'. You can save yourself from drowning if you believe that it has already been done; that it is within you to accomplish what is necessary. Get your mind above the trees and take a look at the terrain, you may find that the gap between this higher perspective and the view from 'within' takes care of itself once you free yourself from the chains that limit your perspective. And - even better: trust that no ideas are new ideas. This has all been done before and if you don't know the answer, those around you do! If you are searching, someone else is as well, that is the beauty of our Zeitgeist, we can all work in tandem to better who we are within and without, individually and together.

 

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

(EXPECTO PATRONUM!)

 

 

 

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Why the color of the year is so on target - whether you care about color or not

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

In case you haven't heard yet Pantone has issued their yearly "hue heard round the world"- the color of the year 2015 :

Marsala

Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_Color_Intelligence_Banner
Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_Color_Intelligence_Banner

In case you haven't heard yet Pantone has issued their yearly "hue heard round the world"- the color of the year 2015 :

Marsala

Each year, the color and trend experts at Pantone release the color that they believe embodies the 'global zeitgeist'. (In case you missed it, check out the conversation on zeitgeist and trends and why they are important to understanding who we are as a society.) Now, I am aware that not everyone waits all year for this announcement the way that I do, I know that not everyone can name the last 5 years worth of colors and that this will be a trending topic for maybe 14 days before being overshadowed by something much more important (or just as likely, much more scandalous). I also know that even though the majority of us are not paying attention to the announcement, we will not be able to ignore that this color will start to appear everywhere. Manufacturers and retailers from make-up to paint; clothes to cars have already begun churning out options for the new year that include this complex hue.

You may be thinking that this is just one more trend being dictated to us by those at the top. But that is entirely the opposite of what is happening. The Pantone peeps are listening to us in order to make this call. They are watching what we buy, what we tweet, and how we interact with one another. They are practiced at getting into our heads and knowing what we crave even before we do. In their words,

"...the PANTONE Color of the Year is a reflection of what people are looking for, what they feel they need that color can help to answer. Not necessarily the hot fashion color of the moment, but a color crossing all areas of design which is an expression of a mood, an attitude, on the part of the consumers ... the team, led by executive director Leatrice Eiseman, combs the world looking for future design and color influences, watching out for that one color seen as ascending and building in importance through all creative sectors. Influences can include the entertainment industry, upcoming films, art, emerging artists, travel destinations and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, lifestyles + playstyles, new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events."

pantone-coty-sq
pantone-coty-sq

In true form of Pantone, Marsala is a flawless selection. I have to admit, I was braced to welcome another bright, almost jarring hue. Tangerine and Emerald from 2012 & 2013 felt vibrant and fun. Even the Radiant Orchid called out for this year seemed energetic and hopeful at the time. But as I looked forward to 2015, that same intrepid enthusiasm felt hollow, even slightly brash like some party mask that loses its luster when the DJ stops playing. To be honest, I was ready to put on my game face anyway. To grin and cheer with the selection of some vivid, beachy blue tone that meant that it would all be "smooth sailing from here". (Granted, Pantone does predict Aquamarine, Scuba, and Classic Blue for spring.) I was ready to buck up and pretend life in 2015 going to be as cheerful as the summer ocean glinting in the sunshine as we all lie lazily beside it on some wonderful beach, drink in hand. What an idyllic picture ... But we're all adults here; it's not always wonderful. There aren't always happy endings and we don't all ride off into the sunset on horseback, even the good parts in life take hard work.

The beauty of Marsala is that it knows all of this; and it is rich and full and interesting anyway. It is a little older, a lot wiser and epically more satisfying for its complexity. This selection is not without criticism. The Atlantic accuses it of "evoking bodily functions and decrepit buildings". Some say it reminds them of rust, liver or dried blood. One tweet complained that it "looks like the vomit you might have after eating a bad chicken marsala". They may not be wrong, but maybe we can handle a little more meat on our proverbial plates this year. Maybe we are ready for a more acquired palette like great whiskey or oysters or ... Marsala wine. It a compliment to us all that our collective Zeitgeist is ready for a color like Marsala. Eiseman says it "gives sustenance" it is so hearty that it can feed our curiosity, our need for comfort and if we grab a glass of the stuff, maybe our bellies as well. Just like our new hue, the coming year will be one of dichotomy.  We are simultaneously craving natural and high tech; custom and affordable; fashionable and comfortable. We want it all with no compromise and know that it doesn't necessarily come without a little finagling. Marsala is chic & refined and rustic and down-to-earth. It is confident, stable, earthy and grounded. It is glamorous, sophisticated, seductive and complex. It is creative, nurturing, fulfilling and enriched; all at once.

So while you may not be so interested in the trending colors, I encourage you not to ignore the hype about Pantone's big announcement. Beyond the style and fashion you might gain more than a little insight about the year to come. Don't forget, intrepid collective consciousness contributors: you create the mentality that fosters these decisions! The choices you make, the posts you 'like', the people you 'follow', the information you 'share' all feed into the Zeitgeist that determines the color selection for 2016. Make conscious choices now and help us move toward a more connected, considerate, engaged future. The power is in your hands/mouse clicks/wallet/browse history.

PS:The NYTimes would agree that this color is all about a mentality. It even gives insight on the quickly approaching Presidential election...check it out.

Also, here are a couple of great interviews with Eiseman herself:

-Pantone -WSJ

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

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Why trends aren't random at all and how we can use them to our advantage

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

This week we're taking a look at trends; where they come from and why we should listen to them. In hearing the word trend, we tend to have one of two reactions. One, you are intrigued. You want to see it, get it, buy it, take part in it. You crave being "in the know" for the "next big thing". Then there are others who instinctually prickle against the term "trendy". You don't want to be a follower, you don't want "them" telling you what you like, what to eat, what to wear. In fact, much of the time, if it is popular, you avoid it for the sole reason that the general public, mass media, etc are touting it so adamantly. You don't want your actions and decisions to be driven by trends or pop culture (though, in avoiding them at all cost you are allowing them to do just that).

Last week we talked about Zeitgeist and the cyclical nature of our collective consciousness. It is easy to consider Zeitgeist in a more academic sense considering the fact that many of us don't have a personal connection to this foreign, almost science-sounding word. But trends and Zeitgeist are intimately related and serve a very important function in uniting us as a society and connecting our perspectives and ideas into a collective experience. Trends are the result of Zeitgeist; they are a vibration, a resonance stemming from the catalyst of our collective spirit. If Zeitgeist is a stone, trends are the ripples it makes when hitting the water of society. If Zeitgeist is a yell, trends are the echo.

The word "trend" is often thrown around in the context of something arbitrary and frivolous. It has a connotation that takes us all back to middle school when we watched the popular crowd parade through the halls wearing the coolest new jeans and hippest high-top sneakers. We tend to regard "trends" as a creation of corporations and the "haves" in order to manipulate the masses and the "have-nots" and sell more product. While there are undeniably elements of this, trends are so much more. Trends are the echoes of who we are as a society right now. They are the product of at once both our conscious and our subconscious - creating a resonance that vibrates to those around us. It joins us together, builds into a crescendo of collective mentality that results in us wanting/buying/watching/wearing what we do. 

Trends-dont-define-usThe etymology of the word trend actually goes back to Middle English meaning "to roll about, turn, revolve" and even further back, the word has a geological meaning "to run or bend in a certain direction"; think the path of a river. Trends in society are not random; they are not arbitrary. They are a product of us. They stem from what we want, what we are and how we live day-to-day. Our mental state and desires are the cause; trends are simply the tangential, physical evidence. They are "rolling about", "revolving" around the teeming mass that is our Zeitgeist. Trends cut through our history and our log of human experience the way that a river cuts through a landscape. Looking back over past trends is like looking at the carved path of the grand canyon - we can see where we used to be; what we wanted, craved, identified with at those times. There is value in seeing where we have been and just as much value in being a part of the current phase of this process that will help us look back and learn from where we are currently. The fascinating shift in mindset here is that these trends that are cutting the most recent layer of our societal riverbed don't define us; they reflect us; they are the offspring of our cultural idea sex. Trends are not the cause of the current ailment of our society. Instead, they are at once the most simple and complicated outward symptoms of whatever true virus is ailing us - for better or worse, or sometimes both. In example, the trend is swinging toward more raw, natural materials in both fashion and interiors. In our desire for more genuine, authentic experiences in our lives we are drawn to furniture and clothing that has also been stripped of the shiny, perfect veneers that we once hid behind. We are embracing flaws in ourselves, in those around us and as an indicator of this, there is a resulting trend toward rough, hand-hewn, reclaimed barn wood and natural fibers that aren't always perfect, but are real and more interesting because of it.

As Brillat-Savarin said, "You are what you eat."  This extends further than just our food. We are 'feeding' ourselves daily with all of the knowledge and experiences that we take in. This includes visual food such as the spaces we spend time in, the clothes that we wear and even the facial expressions of those around us. It includes mental food such as our inner monologue, TV shows we watch, music we listen to and books we read. All of this combines to create the "diet" that we are ingesting. We also have shared experiences with those around us such as the hottest new blockbuster movie or the most recent VMA/EMA/Oscar/PCA/Nobel Peace/fill-in-the-blank awards, natural disasters and breaking news. Because our diets are so similar, it stands to reason  that we would be collectively drawn to certain things. This is how new trends are born. We are all looking to fill many of the same needs, the same gaps in our daily experiences and so we respond to the same "food" to round out our current diet. This often means that similar trends start in many places at once, combine and grow to one  large, sweeping movement. This doesn't just apply to clothing or car color - it extends to ideas as well. As an excellent example of this, Jason Silva released a new episode of Shots of Awe that covers exactly this ouroboros loop that we have been discussing. Take a look here: How Our Creations Change Us.

What does it all mean?

These things that we all see "trending" around us are not chosen from thin air. We are a cog in the machine and we have the ability to affect the output - likewise, we have a responsibility to be aware of what we are contributing to it. Yes, the products we are buying and the movies we are seeing are created by a small group of people for consumption by the rest of us - but here's the key: they don't work unless we let them. We are the ones feeding the snake. We guide the course of the Zeitgeist as we respond to the world around us. Those who create products are reacting to what we like; what we eat; what we buy; what we watch; what we tweet. Doesn't it make you feel powerful that you are a player in defining what the new trends are? But use your power wisely. We are all on the same train traveling on one set of tracks. We may have different views out of our respective windows but if someone decides to pull the emergency brake, we are all delayed. And that emergency cord now reaches further, faster than ever before. Trends are moving faster because information exchange is faster which means that we react to more input in less time and our mental cravings shift that much more quickly from one thing to another. Our trends run at the pace of Twitter rather than Pony Express. Trends can seem artificial and arbitrary but in reality, they are created for us by us. They are a result of the food that society has eaten they are echoes of us all. They are something to be respected, not in a blind, sheep-following sort of a way but in a collaborative respectful-and-aware-of-your-neighbor's-needs kind of a way.

It seems apt to end with the father of free verse, Mr. Walt Whitman - it is also fitting that this can be linked to an Apple commercial - (We can discuss the influence of Apple next week, but they are a powerful influencer of the current Zeitgeist - I can see why.)

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse -Whitman

We are all contributing our own verse to the continual rotation of "trends". Be conscious about your verse; make it worthwhile. If you don't like the beat; change it. This is a group effort and our song is richer for the diversity that each of us adds to it.

Delight in the verses submitted by other as well and also in the entirety of the poem that we are collectively creating. It is a beautiful thing -

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

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Happy Thanksgiving : a HUGE Thank You

Happy day before Thanksgiving!I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all how truly grateful I am to have each and every one of you take time out of your schedule to journey inside with me and share in my ongoing collective consciousness conversation!

I have found that life is about nothing if not community and connections. Having you as my community makes me feel connected to this greater inspiring collective we call humanity. I feel so thankful to you that I have the opportunity to explore ideas, experiences and insights about life. Together we can examine why we are here and how we can better enjoy the inevitable journey that stretches out before us. We have so much to discuss and I look forward to your continued insights and perspectives as we dive further down the rabbit hole!

 

Starting today, I will continue to post Mental Space Monday but will not be regularly posting Wednesdays. All info will be here on the same bat channel: mandystraight.com, but the bat time will be slightly altered to make room for exciting new things to come.

I can't wait to keep exploring with you thank you so much for journeying with me. I appreciate all you are and all you will become; for the collective entelechy that we will only realize as a team.

Happy thanksgiving lovelies - enjoy that turkey.

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How #Hashtags and Trending Topics Help us Connect

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

A concept that is imperative to include in our discussion of collective consciousness is 'Zeitgeist'. This term carries within it that indefinable magic that many German words have; often attributable to the fact that they are an amalgamation of multiple concepts all crammed into one word (luckily, this one only contains 9 letters, check out other Tapeworm words here). The origin of this over-arching term goes back to Philosopher Georg Hegel in the beginning of the 19th century when he said, "der Geist seiner Zeit" (the spirit of his time). Basically, "no man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spirit". Later, in the last decades of the 19th century, poet Matthew Arnold was the first to actually use the exact tapeworm "Zeitgeist" and it was all the rage in the Victorian Era as a way to describe the new mindset ushered in by the Second Industrial Revolution. More recently, the label has been adopted by Google for a body of trend lists and statistics and also by YouTube as a channel that celebrates "Inspiring talks, innovative minds." In order to understand this dynamic term we have to examine the etymology - the root and essence of a word. The literal translation of Zeitgeist is "time-spirit" and as we attempt to absorb a full understanding of such an indistinct term, we must gain insight from an inspection of both.

1. Spirit 2. Time

First, spirit has 2 parts: essence and breath. Both have a pivotal impact on the nature of the word and what it contributes to Zeitgeist.

A. Essence: This is the distilled, concentrated root of something. The essence is the true nature; what is left when you boil off all of the unnecessary parts and get down to the good stuff. There is no more Mr. Nice Guy, no more pleasantries and no more hiding. This is naked; this is truth and it's bald and unapologetic and undiluted. True essence is is vital to building a solid foundation if you have any hope of your spirit being structurally viable. As a society, this is means creating a bedrock that allows us to explore how much we can accomplish and how great we can become knowing that we do not have to worry about collapsing from within. This necessitates a genuine assessment of who we are, what we want and why. Beginning with authentic, well-crafted ingredients takes more time and effort, but like so many other things in life, it is well worth it. Brené Brown calls this life essence 'whole-heartedness'. Her life's work proves how imperative it is to build on this solid foundation. This kind of essence is like a perfume made with real essential oils. It is whiskey made with organic ingredients and perfectly distilled; it is a meal made with only free-range, farm fresh, organic ingredients.

B. Breath: This is the active part of spirit. Without a breath of something greater, the 'essence' part of spirit is inert, inactive, isolated. In order for spirit to thrive it must move beyond itself and interact with the essence of others. We have talked about entelechy - without this 'breath' the entelechy of our spirit cannot be fully realized. We are all ungerminated, unpollinated and a shell of what we could become. Add a little active spirit and we have collaboration. The breath part is the speaking, the communicating, the sharing. This is where we begin fanning the flames of our mutual intellect and inspiration. As Matt Ridley says, we have 'idea sex', and we are richer for it. Our collective essence is so much greater when we learn and build from the knowledge of others. When we create networks that utilize the strengths of each individual and combine them into a whole inspired by the breath of all of the pieces and parts. Just as we apply these principles to the spirit of society, they can help us thrive in our everyday, individual lives.

The other element within the term Zeitgeist is 'Time'. The power of this piece comes from the fact that we are all distilling and fostering our spirits together at the same time. In looking at collective consciousness, we are throwing our essential oils into the same perfume we are infusing our spirits with all of our flavors collectively. Time of course is a topic so large that it could be discussed until the end of ... itself - we will further explore later. The important part here is that if timing really is everything, zeitgeist synchs our watches to the same time zone so that we can share in experiences from a relatively similar point of view.

The coolest part about the Zeitgeist is that whether or not we are aware of it, we are living it. Every day, every new hit song, every #hashtag, every trending topic feeds the animal that is the zeitgeist. It's exhilarating to take part, isn't it? Each era creates its character, its own living, changing essence that is at once a reaction to that which came before, reflection of what is right now and preview of what we want for the future. This is the magic of zeitgeist. It is poly-dimensional, multi-faceted and ever-changing. As a society and as a collective group, we create it, feed it, participate in it and destroy it in favor of the next one. (This is innately connected to our other nerdy vocab friend 'Ouroboros' as we discussed earlier.) If life is a series of Ouroboros cycles, the snake eating its own tail over and over again, the Zeitgeist is the snake itself. It is the driving force; the life and the brain behind the perpetual self-reinvention. We as a society, as humanity, are the snake. We flexibly contort our mindset, our work ethic and our buying habits to whatever shape is required of the current conditions. We grow, we shed our skin, we enjoy our shiny new selves and then we eat our tail and do it all over again.

So go out there and get in the mix. Jump in the arena, experience the Zeitgeist and add your two cents to this cycle. If we all add what we have and who we truly are to the consciousness, we have the opportunity to contribute to the next regeneration - what do you want it to look like?

 

THANKS FOR TAKING A JOURNEY INSIDE THE RABBIT HOLE WITH ME! IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS USING THE LINKS BELOW. IF YOU WANT TO BE EMAILED WITH NEW POSTS FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW MY BLOG ON BLOGLOVIN’. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP IN THE BOX BELOW FOR UPDATES.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

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The designer chair that will make you cry like a baby: The Saarinen Womb Chair

Hello again and welcome to

Welcome to What’s in a Name Wednesday!

Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.

Last week we examined the "Chair of Chairs", the No. 14 Thonet Bistro chair. This week we are wrapping our heads around the No. 70 chair that actually returns the favor and wraps itself around us.

The No. 70 chair designed by Eero Saarinen is better known and loved by the name the' Womb Chair". No explanation necessary, take a look below with Saarinen himself lounging in the womb:

isaarin001p1

 

 

Saarinen's designs fit into the movement called "post-modernist". In a nutshell, Modernist design was based on the revered principle of Form follows Function. This meant that the shape and style took a backseat to a piece serving the function that it is designed to serve. Most of the time this mentality extended to mean that if an element wasn't necessary for the function it was superfluous and should be deleted altogether. The other driving factor behind Modernism was that it celebrated the new technology and materials that had been made possible by the industrial revolution.

As this Modernist mentality was absorbed by the mainstream, they adopted the clean lines and the technology but began to crave softness along with their high-tech. That's where Saarinen and the Mid-Century gurus come in. Where the modernists and le Corbusier called buildings "machines for living", Saarinen suggests that "The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.”  a sentiment that is reflected in his furniture design as well. This is more than function. Function itself is paramount but better carried out when paired with beauty and when integrated as a piece in the larger picture of our lives.

To this end, Saarinen designed what Florence Knoll (who commissioned the chair in the first place) described as the “curling chair.” This gorgeous undulation of upholstery is designed for lounging back, tucking your feet underneath you and opening up a good book. Designed in 1946 and produced in 1948, Saarinen himself, in what was undoubtedly a tongue-in-cheek remark, explained that '“its unofficial name is the Womb chair because it was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” Clearly the very word womb, so different from the intimidating technical vocabulary of modern design, seems well suited to disarming consumer resistance: a chair that satisfied such a basic human need could not be all that threatening.'

 

Take a look at this beauty. (And stay tuned for my new branding which let me lounge around in one for the afternoon - I wanted to cry like a baby when I had to give it back...no wonder the call it the womb chair.) To buy, contact Knoll.

SHOOTFACTORY _

Brooklyn Heights Apartment

 

salon

I look forward to seeing you next week! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates!

All my best to you – create spaces you love so much they actually love you.

 

 

Check these out for more info: http://www.themagazineantiques.com/articles/saarinen-womb-chair/ http://www.dwell.com/rewind/article/design-classic-eero-saarinens-womb-chair http://www.sheilazellerinteriors.com/articles/eero-saarinens-womb-chair-model-no-70 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eero_Saarinen

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What MacGyver teaches us about being better communicators

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that it annoys him when the meaning of a word morphs within society and people start using it 'wrong'.

I do believe that language is important. I am a total word junkie. I google the etymology of everything and admittedly have been completely turned off by a date who texted the wrong form of your/you're with no *corrective follow-up. I won't even apologize. I just couldn't see it going anywhere. Language is important. Terrance McKenna calls it a 'psychedelic technology that wirelessly encodes information'; Jason Silva calls it "a way for evolution to understand itself" that "allows you to put pictures in someone else's head". He agrees that language is hyper important and "impregnates the world with meaning and significance". There is so much more to inspect about the impact of language on our awareness and comprehension of the world. The podcast Radiolab covered this importance in their episode called "Words" (Fascinating - let's revisit in more depth later.)

In light of all of this, my immediate response to my friend's condemnation of word change was to nod and agree that it is such a shame that people these days can't learn proper English.

Hold up, though. I was recently describing the beauty of the TV show MacGyver to a 15 year old (who had of course never heard of it). We were describing to her the myriad of unexpected uses for a paperclip and a tube sock when I realized that I wasn't giving this bastardization of language thing a fair shake. The part that makes MacGyver so cool is that he uses the tools he has at his disposal to accomplish the task at hand. When he is in a situation he isn't prepared for, he throws intended function out the window and just goes with what works. Maybe that's what we are doing with our language. It stands to reason that since none of us are ever truly prepared for life, we are taking a cue from MacGyver using the tools that we have to communicate with those around us: our words, and bending them to our needs.  That's how this whole language thing started anyway, yes? I have stick. You want stick. You point at stick and make a noise that we have mutually agreed refers to the pointy piece of wood that I am holding in my hand and we both know what we are talking about. It does get a little more hairy when dealing with intangibles: thoughts, emotions, concepts. Language-is-a-great-toolThese are a little harder to pin down and say, "This right here, this is exactly what I am talking about" thoughts don't tend to sit still as well as sticks. The beautiful byproduct of this fact however is that language is living. It changes, it evolves. It is more complex and dynamic than a stick and while is is a great tool, it can be an even better mirror. This changing nature of language means that it can serve as a quite accurate reflection of those who use it. It acts as its own Ouroboros loop, it shapes us as much as we shape it.

What a thought. Of course I had to consult the Google about this. Turns out there is a term for the shift that happens in languages over time; it is called semantic change.

The word unique is the most frequently used example when referring to semantic change. In today's usage, unique refers to something that is different or special as in, "That scarf is unique, where did you get it?" Implying that the person asking can go out and buy this same unique scarf for their very own. If we look at the etymology of the word, we find that unique comes from Latin: unicus "only, single, sole, alone of its kind," from unus "one". In other words, if it is possible for you to go out and buy the same scarf, it is not, in fact, a unique scarf at all. You would be correct if you said, "Thank you, it is unique actually, my grandma knitted it for me!" 

It would be easy to look at examples like this and say that we are losing touch with our language and that society is going to hell in a very unique hand-basket. BUT maybe this is a good thing ... a craftsman is only as good as his tools* and we are all like Will Smith in Men in Black when he scoots the table across the room to better suit his needs. Words are a man-made tool meant to convey information and just as physical information exchange has changed just a little over the past couple hundred years (telegraph anyone?) so too has our vocabulary. Our words are morphing just as our technology, our society and our selves are morphing and we are changing them in order to better describe and discuss all of it.

Soooooo what if the changes in our language are hyper-accurate indications as to what is happening in society? Continuing with our example of the word unique, we can gain a vast amount of insight from this specific semantic change. This is just a theory, but go with me here.

Collectively we value one-of-a-kind things and thanks to mass production of, well, pretty much everything these days, we don't often have an opportunity to own truly unique things. And we all know there are no new ideas. There are too many people, too many neurons and only so many ways to connect the dots. In using unique to mean 'different' rather than 'only' when it is not fully accurate, we seek to impart more individuality and special-ness (yes, this is the technical term) to the objects, people and ideas to which we are referring.

If this is true, it gives some serious perspective into our culture.

It could also mean that we place so little value on true uniqueness that we no longer need a word for it. We are losing the ability to recognize the real, the genuine, the unique. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Because we have become so good at manufacturing faux everything that we can no longer even spot the real one. Faux sone, faux pearls, faux fur - looks just like the real thing!! This change in language could indicate that we don't even care anymore whether something is actually unique just that it looks like it is.

That is some wild perspective as well.

I'm an optimist. I would like to say that it must be the first explanation, but realistically it is likely some of both. This even extends to the now common usage of such text-shortened phrases as LOL, BTW and "Totes". While some of these may grate on you like an out of tune violin, they are a part of our culture and contribute to our living language (let's hope some are short-lived). This even includes the whole hashtag trend as a method of boiling down a situation or experience to the fewest letters possible in order to be searchable, or just humorous - as evidenced by the almost 27 million views of the #Hashtag video by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

It could be a comfort to us all then that this semantic evolution is as ongoing as our human evolution and as endless and circuitous as the Ouroboros referred to earlier as well as in last week's post. There-is-no-correctThere is no end. There is no "correct" version of a human any more than there is a "correct" definition of a word. Both are moving targets. Both are running that asymptote toward an unseen goal point that will never be obtained. Diana Slattery calls language "installed software" but it's slow. Sometimes we all realize it's time to reboot, time for an upgrade, time to make our language something that is a better reflection of and more conducive to those using the program. In knowing that our language is not a fixed point or a finished product, we can MacGyver it like a tube sock for more effective communication with others. The MacGyver tag line was "His mind is the ultimate weapon". That is true of all of us and in many ways, our language is the trigger.

Also, check out these thought-provoking TED talks to continue the discussion:

https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_curzan_what_makes_a_word_real http://www.ted.com/talks/mark_pagel_how_language_transformed_humanity?language=en http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought?language=en http://www.ted.com/talks/keith_chen_could_your_language_affect_your_ability_to_save_money

Thanks for taking a journey inside the rabbit hole with me! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

*This is actually an incorrect version of this saying - and I am using it anyway in full spirit of this post

 

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The "Chair of Chairs" : Why this 1859 chair is so important today

Hello again and welcome to

Welcome to What’s in a Name Wednesday!

Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.

Last week we looked at the Ghost Chair - the 21st century redesign of the 18th century Loius XVI chair. This week we are examining a chair that has been around for over 150 years that is often over-looked due to the fact that - well, it's EVERYWHERE. With an all-time sales record of 50 million in 70 short years, at this point it almost fades into the background as "a basic chair".

Take a look at the No. 14 Thonet Bistro chair.

thonet

In 1859, when this puppy was released, the prevalent furniture style was Victorian which included bastardizations or "revivals" of pretty much every other style throughout history - with a few added carvings and frills for good measure. With Victorian, more was more and heavy meant quality. Utilizing technology gained from the Industrial Revolution to make a design that was lightweight, easily mass-produced, efficiently shipped and very affordable, Mr. Thonet (pronounced Thoe-nay) created a design that is widely considered to be the most successful mass-produced product in the world to date. That's quite an accomplishment. He threw the old paradigm of a "chair" straight out the window with No. 14. First, it is made of beechwood that is bent to graceful curves using steam - so it includes none of the heavy carving and ornamentation so de rigueur in furniture at the time. Second, the Bistro chair can be easily mass-produced and is literally comprised of only six pieces of that steam-bent wood along with ten screws, and two nuts. Third, because it could be shipped unassembled, it saved a huge amount on cost, which, combined with the first 2 elements, meant that it could be sold at a price that was affordable to the masses - a first for designer furniture. It also had a woven cane seat that allowed for it to be used outside in bistros - hence its second name.

You will doubtless come across this chair in the next few days now that you know what you are looking for and know why it is so important - take a moment and appreciate the history that is included in that simple bent wood frame.

 "Never was a better and more elegant design and a more precisely crafted and practical item created." -Corbusier

A few awesome links about the No. 14: https://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/press_archives/1736/releases/MOMA_1953_0066_55.pdf?2010 http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669142/how-do-you-make-the-worlds-most-popular-chair http://reminisceantiquefurniture.blog.com/2014/05/07/thonet-bentwood-chair/ http://www.design-museum.de/en/collection/100-masterpieces/detailseiten/sessel-soehne.html http://www.914.qc.ca/thonet.html http://www.designweek.co.uk/news/product-and-furniture-designer-james-irvine-dies-aged-54/3036035.article http://www.dezeen.com/2009/08/01/muji-manufactured-by-thonet/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._14_chair

*As Colton said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In 2009 James Irvine, a celebrated product designer, reinterpreted the No. 14 Chair to deliver the beauty of Thonet to the next generation. He did a pretty good job - enjoy his version, the 214 Chair, next to the original below.

muji thonet 1

 

I look forward to seeing you next week! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates!

All my best to you – create spaces you love so much they actually love you.

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What is the Rabbit Hole of Collective Consciousness? | Mental Space Monday

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

This week we are going to take a step back. I am going to let you into my head and give you all the grand tour. I'll show you the man(dy) behind this whole collective consciousness journey. I want to talk about what I do, why I am endlessly fascinated by it and what that means for you. I always touch a little on this in each of our Monday blogs, but clarity enhances understanding and feeds further curiosity and I want you all to be as excited as I am to dive down this epic rabbit hole that I keep referring to.

So welcome! I invite you to settle in and get comfortable. we will begin serving drinks around 4 if you would like to stick around...

What is the deal with this collective consciousness stuff?

I believe we are all connected. That we are all more than a collection of atoms and that there is something infinitely beautiful about that currently undefined "stuff" that exists in the space between things (which I like to refer to as "the gap"). This includes spirit, essence, personality, character: the incorporeal parts of us that make each one of us so much more than a moving pile of cells. It also includes the infinite intricacies that exist in the gap from one person to another: love, fear, admiration, jealousy...the contagiousness of yawns. From my experience to yours, from my brain to yours, from my lips to your ears ... there is an intangible connection that exists between people. It is often unspoken and always powerful, pregnant and full of potential for even more. We will talk more about the gap later; it is an endless topic that begins to touch on the magic that is our universe and our humanity.

I love to connect the dots.

It is a constant game to me to look at a collection of disparate elements and find commonalities among them. I am enthralled by the endless combinations and connections that tie them all together. I believe that life is made up of very few elements. Just like the periodic table that catalogs all of the physical building blocks of life, there are a finite few metaphysical building blocks that, once defined and understood, will help us understand who we are as humans and why we are here. In finding and assessing relationships between seemingly random pieces of life/humanity/the universe we can get closer to a true understanding of the core elements that they share. If this is true, then a lifetime full of dots to connect will connect in many different ways. We can take the same set of data and draw a lizard or a bunny, a love story or an epic tragedy all with the right combinations of dots included. Let's include all the things and inspect them in a million different ways from the billions of perspectives that each of us offer as individuals and see what enlightening insights we come up with...

-Sometimes the connections we can make are quite unexpected. As a nerdy science-y type example, check out this example from GrrlScientist at The Guardian: What do pearlescent lipsticks, fishing wieghts and Pepto-Bismol share in common? Answer: Bismuth - check out #83 on your Periodic Table of Elements. These kind of unexpected connections happen outside of the physical measurable world as well. (PS: don't be scared off by the term metaphysical. It doesn't have to involve crystals and chanting. It simply refers to something that is beyond tangible this includes all of the pieces that we are talking about - emotions, creativity, etc.)

We exist in a constant state of Ouroboros.

This concept can trace its origins back to Egypt, Greece, Norse legend, Aztec, Hindu, Celtic origins and is a principle of Hermetic wisdom. It is represented by an image of a snake eating its own tail, see a couple of examples below. The basic theory of this fascinating process is that everything feeds into everything else. What we are now is a result of what we used to be. The seriously cool part about this is that it functions like a fractal in that any smaller piece is made up of pieces that display infinitely repeating self-similarity. No matter which piece you are viewing or which scale you are viewing from, they all look the same. We as a society are feeding the new with the old. Our trends and our tastes and our knowledge as a society is generated from that which came before. We are all a collective phoenix rising from the ashes of the past. My previous post on trends touches on this but there will be much more to come as this thread is as infinite as the self-similar ouroboros itself... stay tuned.

OuroborosThis Egyptian example is from Stephen Lindsteadt that I found through searching for images - I can't wait to comb through his post on the matter. Check it out, it is super extensive -wow.
ouroboros1Celtic
7ourob8 Examples from Spira Solaris: Check out the details here

 

 

I know what you are thinking, "Whoa, metaphysical? This is all very woo woo - I am a logical person who likes to determine how I see the world based on facts."

I know, man. And I agree, we would be nowhere without logic. As a total math nerd I get where you're coming from. If we can't gather data and plug it into a few calculations, how do we know if its accurate ... or if it even exists at all? I believe there is a valid conversation to be had regarding things in life that reach beyond the limits of our 3-4 dimensional understanding of the world around us. I propose that we start with measurable, recordable information and observations and simply look for new patterns and relationships within that web that may not have been previously considered. If these elements are combined in a new way or understood through the filter of new paradigms then we may be able to learn something that is logical in hindsight but unseeable from our current point of view. (Think Copernicus and heliocentrism - we never know the basic truths that we are misunderstanding until we know better...)

 

These will serve as the beginning of my basic Principles of Collective Consciousness. I am sure there well be more to come, but we have to build our constructs from a solid foundation of accepted truths. A bedrock that serves as a zero point much like Copernicus' Seven Basic Truths or Jefferson's 5 Self-Evident Truths. We must build from something and these are as good a starting point as any. I welcome you to put on your spectacles and your thinking hats. This is a collaborative effort (yet another example of our societal ouraboros). Our goal is to better understand this journey we call humanity and within that understanding, to find better perspective that leads to more genuine and lasting enjoyment.

Thanks for diving down the rabbit hole with me! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

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The Ghost Chair : Scary good design : What's in a Name Wednesday

Hello again and welcome to

Welcome to What’s in a Name Wednesday!

Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.

« I like to open the doors of the human brain » - Philippe Starck

Monday we talked about stripping down our interior design and our selves; learning how to be more authentic and transparent. For this week's What's in a Name Wednesday we are examining a chair that is the perfect example for transparency and, consequently, also the perfect follow up to the Halloween and Day of the Dead holidays we have all just enjoyed. I am talking about the Philippe Stark Ghost Chair. Think you haven't seen this baby floating around? You'd be wrong. Even though the Ghost Chair is molded completely from clear, injected polycarbonate, you have no doubt seen its sleek Louis XVI style shape haunting your daily life.

Louis ghost chair

Designed in 2002, Stark's masterpiece seems like a simple, clear, plastic armchair to the untrained eye. But the beauty of the design runs so much deeper. Stark himself is fascinating. His website describes his unflinching and untiring "devotion to a positive reduction, his love of ideas, his desire to defend the intelligence of usefulness." The ghost chair embodies all of these. 

Get this, the basic design of the chair is actually 175 years old. It was inspired by the traditional Louis XVI armchair (think 1830-1850) which is why it is sometimes called the Louis Ghost Chair. Leave it to a master like Stark to reinterpret a stuffy French fauteuil into a modern marvel. (A fauteuil is the historic style of armchair in French design; pronounced Foe-Toy and pictured below.)

louis xvi fauteuil "Subversive, ethical, ecological, political, fun: this is how I see my duty as a creator." Philippe Stark

A few more awesome facts about the 'killer' Ghost Chair:

-It is made of injected polycarbonate that uses a single mold. This means that the entire body of he chair is one piece which makes it much more sturdy, not to mention much more . It also means that it does well outdoors because there are no joints for water to get into (expansion in joints of other furniture during freezing can cause cracking.)

-The Ghost chair is stackable and can be stacked up to 6 high. This means easy storage on top of the fact that it is super lightweight and easy to move around.

-The originally designed chair was made in only the transparent "crystal clear" color. Making it easy to include in rooms that don't need more visual clutter. The chair is now available from the original manufacturer Kartell in 8 colors including opaque black and white and is also available in an armless version referred to as the Victoria Ghost Chair. These two have now inspired other variations as well including barstools and a small ottoman/stool given the witty name of the Ghost Buster.

-I know the 'plastic' label can be concerning off but this plastic piece of art is also 100% recyclable and Kartell has an impeccable reputation for environmentally aware design across the board.

-"Always imitated, never duplicated." It is common for these named, designer chairs to "inspire" knock-off versions. Since it was released 12 short years ago, the actual Ghost chair has sold over 1.5 million frames, the highest amount of any original chair.

-Philippe Starck was the first designer to participate in the TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment & Design

Caroline Stanley calls the craze for this icon 'Ghost Chair lust'. Take a look at a few photos below - I'll leave you two alone....it is quite haunting.

Louis+Ghost+Chair (3) Louis+Ghost+Chair (2) Louis+Ghost+Chair (1)

“I don’t work, I dream” -Philipe Stark

I look forward to seeing you next week! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates!

All my best to you – create spaces you love so much they actually love you back~

 

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Not your grandma's shabby chic - what the new trends say about us as a society

Welcome to Mental Space Monday!

Where we dive down the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

 

Last week we took a lesson from hermit crabs and what they can teach us about letting go of the shells that are keeping us from being naked and raw in the face of the world around us. Here's the awesome thing - there are undeniable indications that our collective consciousness is shifting; as a society, we are gravitating toward the authentic and away from the facade of perfect.

I have to give them credit - Restoration Hardware caught on to this before most of us knew it was even happening. I remember looking at a new ad from them a few years ago and commenting to the owner of the interior design firm where I was working, "Really, we're doing this linen, shabby chic thing again? We just did this in the 90s, surely the public won't be interested in a rehash of the same look so soon?" What I failed to realize at the time is that this is not a rehash of that 90s look. This is not your grandma's shabby chic; we are not talking slip-covers in pink and green with white painted wood. No, this time it's different. What Restoration Hardware and the early drivers of this trend were doing was responding to our collective exhaustion of the then ubiquitous pretense of perfection. They were stepping out of their hermit crab shell and decidedly not putting on a new one. We as a society had gotten caught up in the glitz and glam. Gotten carried away with our ability through technology to to pretend perfection; to make things super-improved and super-sized. It allowed us to gloss over the flaws and imperfections that happen in real life, let us delight in our superior ability as intelligent humans. Wasn't it wonderful that we were able to bend nature to our will and improve...well, everything?!? Why settle for flaws and authenticity when you have technology? Our kitchens were installed with highly polished counter tops made out of materials that don't ever show flaws or inconsistencies. Our metals were chromes with perfect, mirror-like sheen. Restaurants were tricked out with the latest technology in flashing lights and designer foods. Our fashion was tailored within an inch of its life and our makeup had to be "just-so". It all began to feel mass-produced, fake, cold and sterile.

But we are collectively beginning to tire of the mental effort it takes to believe that the world can (or should) be as perfect as we were all portraying it to be. That shell of perfection can only be carried around for so long. We want rooms we use. We have no interest in a sitting room that exists for the sole purpose of showing off to the neighbors. We want to ditch the formal dining table and let go of the fallacy that we are not truly "grown-up" until we can maintain a white sofa and a perfectly manicured lawn. We have come to the realization that we had been adhering to fake, man-made veneers that were no more than shiny fronts for the beauty of who we really are; flawed, real and endlessly nuanced.

we shape our buildingsThis shift in consciousness is happening in all realms of our culture. Oprah just finished her The Life You Want Tour, Brene Brown continues to remind us that we are all biologically built to be imperfect and flawed and that is not just ok, but better and more beautiful. The change that we are making in our interiors is a fascinating insight into the change that is happening within each of us individually and throughout society. As Hermes Trismegistus said, As within, so without. As Churchill said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter our buildings shape us." We are looking to embrace the genuine and real in ourselves and to connect those around us on that same level what better evidence of this that we now crave that same authenticity within our spaces? Both our public and private spaces mentally and physically are stripping down to something more real - shedding their shells if you will. There is an overwhelming trend in both hospitality and residential design toward the industrial look. We are stripping off the facade and the sheen and getting down to brass tacks - literally. Restoration Hardware offers their deconstructed collection with the fabric removed from the back altogether, unabashedly displaying their stuffing to the world.* restoration hardware deconstructedAnthropologie, Tom'sFree People and others like them began to celebrate flaws, one-of-a-kind looks and natural textures. Restaurants are stripping off ceilings and exposing pipes and beams. They are getting real with their menus - embracing farm-to-table and gastropub concepts (neither of which are new concepts; what's old is new again ...and again...). The menus delighting in offering less-processed, well-concocted fare and likewise, the interiors provide a creative combination of basic, found-looking elements combined in such a way that they feel both genuine, relaxed and inventive all at once. The reclaimed raw metals and flawed, natural woods in the decor are consistent with the locally-sourced, free-range, hormone-free, menu which is so attractive to all of us as we continue our quest for the same authenticity of self; even more intriguing once stripped of all of the unnecessary elements. See below for 2 examples of this that I have come into contact with just in the last 2 days:

industrial design local example

industrial design example photo

As we interact with others, we are looking for this element of authenticity. For interactions and connections that don't feel affected or surface. We know that though it may be rougher and there will be inconsistencies - the finish may not be perfect, the wood may have knot holes and the marble may have veining and scratches, those around us may make mistakes and not always wear a smile, but we are done playing games and hiding behind some sort of accepted "way to do things". We are no longer interested in the show and splendor of the great and powerful OZ - we want to see the hunched man behind the curtain. We would rather sit down with him over drinks and accept that he is really just a man, more complex and interesting in his humanity and faults. Because we are smart - we know there is no such thing as perfection and we, as a society are beginning to embrace the imperfections as part of a greater, more genuine whole.

It is the nature of the beast here that though we all want hand-made, reclaimed, one-of-a-kind objets to further this mentality, it is cost prohibitive in most cases to actually have this. Just as we are giving up perfection in ourselves and our surroundings, we have to be aware of the same within the system of our society - it too is flawed. We are only achieving this "found, antique" look at an affordable price through the wonders of mass-production. While this is not ideal in many ways, we must see it as part of a bigger process. We must be encouraged by the momentum that we are creating and believe in the industry of humans that we will continue to keep stripping, keep questioning the accepted way of doing things and keep truly listening to those around us for ways to better connect and better help each other as we all try to improve and hone the process.

I challenge you to strip away more and more of your facade. Risk showing your flaws and trust that those around you will accept them as part of your wonderful, dynamic whole. Next time you grab a pint with friends while perching on warehouse-looking metal stools or wander through the local artisan, hand-crafted boutique that is now invariably around the corner from you, appreciate the beauty of our collective consciousness. Delight in the fact that humanity as a whole is genuinely trying to shed the inauthentic shells that we have been hiding behind. We are beginning to embrace flawed honestly and are steadily becoming better and happier because of it. How refreshing.

Thanks for diving down the rabbit hole with me! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

 

 

*What is old is new again. This was actually done way back when (think 16 century or so) as a way to save on upholstery and fabric costs when furniture was likely to be against the walls of a room anyway. The upper classes (who were the only ones with actual "upholstered" furniture would line it up along the walls of a room when not in use and would then push them together toward the center of the room to facilitate whatever they were doing in the room at the time.

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The modern chair you won't believe is 85 years old : The Barcelona chair

Welcome to What’s in a Name Wednesday!

Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.

Today's lucky contestant is the Barcelona chair; held as one of the staple designs of the modern movement. Anyone looking at this chair, whether they know design or not, would call it modern without a second thought.

And it is - except that this puppy dates all the way back to 1929. Yup. This beacon of modern design is only 15 years shy of the century mark - I think we can all agree she looks pretty good for her age. Why is this design still a big deal and why is it referred to as modern when it is as old as my grandma?

So, in a nutshell (because we could discuss the details for days) the modern movement was so called because it was a new perspective on what constitutes "good design". Classic design styles were based on beauty derived from decorative elements; curves, carvings, details, etc. Furniture was ornamentation. The modern movement threw all this away. It was different in 2 major ways: first, the form of any piece was derived from function. Shaping and details were all a product of successful execution of that function. Second, modern design uses materials and manufacturing technologies that were not possible prior to the industrial revolution.

In light of these characteristics, I present to you: The Barcelona chair

barcelona-rago1

The Barcelona chair was designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and was designed to be featured in the International Exposition of 1929, held in Barcelona (hence the name). The original design had the 2 cross bars bolted together and was upholstered in ivory pigskin. The form was said to be inspired by the Roman curule chair which was a symbol of political or military power also used by European kings and Napoleon.

**Fun fact about the Barcelona chair: it was designed to serve as throne for the Spanish king and queen during the exposition in the German Pavilion at Montjuïc (also designed by Mies and shown below).

mieschair-barcelona4-500x331

"The chair is a very difficult object. Everyone who has ever tried to make one knows that. There are endless possibilities and many problems - the chair has to be light, it has to be strong, it has to be comfortable. It is almost easier to build a sky scraper than a chair." - Mies 1930

I look forward to seeing you next week! If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates!

All my best to you – create spaces you love so much they actually love you back~

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Is it worth the risk? How to know when it's worth taking a chance

 

Making a Run for It: Taking Risks to Find Opportunity

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to open.” -Anaïs Nin

7976f8c9a90c9555d58e0cddd4a590b6nn

So; hermit crabs. As a kid I was fascinated, and more than a little grossed out by these odd, non-cuddly pets that camped out in a wide variety of  puff-painted, bejeweled shells. What I hadn't considered at the time was that their vagabond lifestyle is a result of the fact that biologically these little guys are naked as...well, as a crab without a shell.  In light of the fact that they don't grow a shell of their own, they are forced to find suitable accommodations that have been cast off by mollusks (who have gone on to mollusk heaven). As the hermit crabs grow, they have to find another shell that will support their new rock and roll lifestyle (i.e. a larger body). One could say they are literally the squatters of the crustacean world.

But don't we do much the same? We cling to these shells; carcasses of a time gone by (just like the mollusk shells of our little hermit crabs). We seek out comfort and protection and we grab on tight, too afraid of what will happen to our tails if we don't anchor them into something established; something concrete and safe. We drag so much around with us everyday in the name of security and familiarity that we forget how it feels to genuinely connect with those around us and embrace who we are. We deny how heavy the load actually is and forget that we can let go of this ill-fitting shelter that we have confined ourselves within and find something maybe just a tiny bit more aerodynamic…Sometimes this means we hide behind a persona - we are the hunched old man trying to portray ourselves as the Wizard of Oz, afraid that others will not see how wonderful we truly are unless we flash the lights a little and perform some magic tricks. Sometimes these shells are a lifestyle that we hide within. It's the Stepford perfect, shiny veneer layered in lacquer creating a barrier stronger than any mollusk shell we could find - there is a house, a car, a family. There is a dog in the back yard, a roast on the table and a pan of brownies in the oven. Our shells can look like holding on to the job we are 'supposed' to have or the relationship that we 'should' be in or it can look like always displaying the 'acceptable behavior' or being politically correct in every situation.

This is very safe.

But it's not real.

The secret to learning from the hermit crab is that the reason they have to leave the shell is because they are too big. They have reached a point in which the walls that kept them safe are now limiting who they can be and how much they can grow. We are stunting our growth in the name of convention. of safety. of acceptable. and we are keeping ourselves small. All because we are too afraid to let those go and run around with no pants on for a change. I'm not saying that we all have to commit to stripping to no shell at all. (Though I encourage you to try it - you will never go back.) What I am saying is that we need to start becoming aware of our shell.

Step 1: stop the denial. Like the hermit crab we must constantly evaluate the shell that we have decided to carry around and assess if it continues to offer a healthy, thriving environment or if it is beginning to emotionally pinch and make us grumpy. The hunt for a larger shell involves some searching. Just as the crab combs the beach, we must rake through our mental space looking for the right fit. And while we do this, there is awkward flailing. We are not accustomed to being so exposed; we may even get a bit of a sunburn on those tender bits that haven't seen the light of day in awhile.

If a little hermit crab can let go of all that is familiar and crawl out naked and vulnerable in search of a new home, we too can branch out (maybe keep your clothes on for the neighbors’ sake). We must find and embrace the unfamiliar, sometimes intimidating, scary situations in order to gain that bigger shell that is a much better fit for the new, incrementally more fabulous version of ourselves. While we are out on the hunt we may even find that we can enjoy the slight exhileration of the unknown. We won’t know what’s out there until we actually shed what is holding us back and embrace the risk.

running naked

Yes, there will be painful moments, but you might find the fresh air so exhilarating on your nether regions that you kind of like the breeze. Try it - share with us all how it goes.

Thanks for diving down the rabbit hole with me!

If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others using the links below. If you want to be emailed with new posts feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. You can also sign up in the box below for updates.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies. Believe in your unique entelechy and actualize your wonderful.

 

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