13 January 2008

wipe the slate in 2008!

Photograph: "Liberty Chess", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.

A very happy new year to all. Since this is the first post of 2008, I wanted to pass along a neat little tradition I've been practicing for almost a decade. This idea sprung from the idea of having positive reinforcement on a daily basis, in the most simple way possible. As a purveyor of things, I began by thinking about of the great stuff we use on a daily basis, without even as much as a second thought. And you might be surprised at the sheer amount. Unfortunately, in today's hustle, we often neglect to recognize simple beauty. After all, everything essentially boils down to a series of "hi's" and "byes". Some are thoughtless - others, insignificant. Some first seem trivial, then turn highly relevant. Yet, when we actually take a moment to think, a lot surprisingly "stick": the good, the bad and the ugly. Though, if we're not careful, life can quickly pass. For, it does not wait. If life's all about those "hi's and "byes", then why not try and make them the very best? Thus, rather than coming up with resolutions I'd only feel guilty about not achieving later, such as -->blog daily<-- I committed to a yearly "motto resolution", instead. This highly scientific methodology is KISS all the way. Each year's motto must rhyme with the corresponding year, while remaining short enough to fit on a mobile phone. By roughly calculating the sum total of times one opens and closes one's mobile phone on a daily...a weekly...a monthly and ... on a yearly basis, one would be surprised by how quickly the numbers add up. A positive affirmation at the ready, subconsciously helps make those "hi's" and "bye's" all the more meaningful. It really can't get more simple than this.

Photo by: Artist, Teacher, Tamelyn. Original here. Check out more of her work.

Let me tell you, the contest was fierce. Unlike previous years, 2008 afforded a bevy of possibilities. Foregoing the risk of sounding every bit the cliche INXS song, some were: Don't be Late; Try Not to Hate; Love Your Mate ... even Fornicate in 2008, were contenders.

However, while all good practices, none exactly qualify as a "life philosophy". Then, serendipity hit: "Wipe the Slate in 2008!"! Over the years, a bevy of friends, family and associates have adopted this simple positive practice and it feels as though we've stumbled onto a sort of "pay it forward" idealogy. Change is always much more manageable in small chunks. Therefore, having ability to switch it every 365, allows each practitioner to consciously breathe fresh life into every new year. Feel free to use the practice, because the more people who do, the better it gets for everyone.

With January's end's fast approaching, this year's "simple" wiping has already proven more difficult than anticipated. Then again, nobody said simple meant easy and we all know it's more than a little difficult for a leopard to change its spots. After spending the last month or so figuring out how to practice what she preaches, this leopard's already feeling spent. Wiping our slates may help to keep things simple while and practicing it can be highly rewarding, it can also prove most difficult. In this, I'm no different. I've got clutter. We all have clutter. In fact, we have entirely too much clutter. We're surrounded by and bombarded with it - whether it be physical, mental or spiritual clutter. Thus, 2008's the year I've made a commitment to de-clutter. I'm wiping it, baby! All of it! And, if feels positively de rigeur!

Interior shot of my living room. The vintage indoor swing pays homage to more simple childhood days of growing up in the south. Sitting in and swinging, immediately takes me back to more leisurely days. The fact it's now in NYC - the very epitome of a non-relaxing environment, it allows for an instant daily shake-off. I always place fresh flowers - or an art installation - on the light box table. It's the first thing one sees upon entering and the last upon leaving. The Zen wall hanging is a recycled chip board door, painted red. For more info., visit: nycloft

Fortunately, the ancient Chinese figured the formula out thousands of years ago. By brilliantly combining the laws of Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life, those feung shui Masters truly left us a gift. Don't know about you, but I'll graciously accept most help coming my way. After all, something that can't hurt, can only help. At worst, it does nothing.


Photograph: "Loft Living: Zen Style", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.

Two words spring to mind. Feng shui. The phrase literally translates into English as "wind-water". In fact, early practice relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe and was thus inseparable from the political power of pre-modern China. Hum. Seems the more things change, the more they really do stay the same!

Specifically, feng shui followers practice the art of arranging objects - such as the internal placement of furniture in a space - to achieve harmony with one's environment. It's also used for choosing the most suitable place to live; for plotting a burial site - even for agricultural planning. Proponents claim practicing the principals of feng shui can aide in positive effects of health, wealth & personal relationships. To others, it's a pseudoscience.
Photograph: "Loft Living: Zen Style", A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.

The goal of today's feng shui is to situate the human built environment on spots with good qi. The "perfect spot" is both a location and also an axis in time. Some areas are just not suitable for human settlement and should be left in their natural state. For all its conjecture, it really is more manageable than one might think.

With this firmly in mind, I plan on delving more deeply into the practice. However, for now, I'll leave it to another post. But, I do firmly believe all things begin and end in the home. Often, when things in our personal lives don't seem to be "working", recognizing the root of our issues is a good start. This isn't as easy as it sounds. But, by understanding what's good and what not, what needs improving and what good staying put, the next step is to conceive a firm plan to begin simplifying our lives. By wiping our collective slates, lets hope we can all begin to gain some clarification and get some peace of mind. Bit by bit, we can all move onward and upward in 2008! What will you do to Wipe your Slate?


Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: WIPE, the slate in 2008!

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