This Is My Space
Design is seeping into all aspects of my life these days. Maybe my life being in a liminal state has created a craving within me for the appearance of purpose and harmony. That's not a bad thing, though.
I finished reading Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton recently. It talks a lot about how the spaces we inhabit and idealize often influence and reveal things about our world and our identities.
It's not a coincidence that so many people in modern America are turning to things like minimalism, tiny houses, and silence. Some people want to chalk these things up to trends and hipsterdom, but, while these things can surely be commodified, I believe they are actually the outer manifestations of an inner spiritual rebellion against the excess forces of commercialization, productivity, and consumerism.
In other words, we want some peace and beauty in our lives, so we create space for that in the midst of the swirling uncertainties and pressures of our lives.
This has become "cool" in part by the fact that so many of us desire it while so many of us aren't brave enough to actually do it. Just like so many of us have a goal we've always wanted to pursue but never have.
Many of us want some space but we're not sure where to find it.
Many of us want a place where we can belong rather than fit in.
I'm still searching for those spaces myself, but I've also been intentional about making space for myself. Sometimes when you can't find a space, you have to carve some out for yourself.
This is my space. I'm proud of it. I pieced it together recently from things I've collected and bought over the years.
I got the table for free. Someone dumped it off by the side of the road. I like finding treasure in other peoples' trash. This is true both physically and "spiritually".
The wooden cross sitting atop my books was an "award" I received back in high school for contributing the most (spiritually) to my church youth group's annual retreat. It felt more like an award for being the best Christian though, which is what I feel like everyone is trying to do.
We're trying to be a superlative when there really is no hierarchy to begin with.
I keep the cross as a reminder of where I've come from, but it's also a reminder of how productivity-focused spirituality has become. We're always in the pursuit of being "closer to God" or being a better so-and-so. Seeing the wooden cross when I meditate is a constant reminder to drop the act and stop trying.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: God is not a carrot on a stick.
The silver ring on the right symbolizes purity. It reminds me of all the hoops we jump through to feel pure, holy, and put together. It encourages me to stop seeing myself as a sinner or a saint and then to return that favor to everyone else.
The little glass bottle on the left is filled with some dirt from a never-finished building project on my college's campus. The dirt was originally used to photograph the cover of my first book. I've kept it with me all this time, and it's symbolic of two important things: 1) my creative process 2) "for you are dust, and to dust you shall return".
I found the 14,000 things book several years ago for $0.50 in a Goodwill store. I used it in college as an endless source of writing prompts. Nowadays it's a reminder to stay thankful and notice all of the details in life that I constantly overlook.
The vodka bottle is a really powerful symbol for me. You can read the story behind it here.
The crushed coke lid is not really a symbol of anything, but that's actually a form of symbolism for me, so make of it what you will.
The tiny piece of wood in between the ring and the coke lid is a little confusing. Talking about it would just ruin it.
The two plants are there to give my life more life. They grow and I grow, but you don't really notice until later because it happens so slowly. There's no point in trying to speed up the process. In fact, that would take the fun out of it.
The bamboo is appropriate right now because I'm learning a lot about eastern cultures and spirituality.
The notebook is one that I made. I used to make notebooks for a brief period in college. The cover of this one has a section of a roadmap that is focused in on my two homes: Asheville and Greenville.
That's my space. At least, for now.