You know how, but you can relearn

Everything is an experiment.

Tibor Kalman

What we’ve learned as children enables us to function, but at times not thrive in daily life. As adults, relearning is hard.

I want to be task oriented. This is one of my strengths, but I want to relearn. For me, the reward of an accomplishment (checking something off the damned list) is a huge incentive. Doesn’t matter if I write it on a dirty napkin, if it’s a to-do, the world is not at peace until it’s done. Something else I developed was the tendency to rush. Pure impatience. All I want is for the task to be finished. Do I understand the extent of what I’m doing? Doesn’t matter. I’ll plow through until I can say it’s completed. The process has never been my strength. Often I even find it difficult to care about what I’m doing, I’m focused on the end result.

I want to focus instead on relearning how to engage in tasks fully, not as a means to an end, but as a means onto themselves. Like listening to music, the end isn’t the goal. Rather, the pleasure is in the process.

This is simple, and applicable on a life and death scale.

Growing up, I slowly had this process of realizing that all the things around me that people had told me were just the natural way things were, the way things always would be, they weren’t natural at all. They were things that could be changed, and they were things that, more importantly, were wrong and should change, and once I realized that, there was really no going back.

Aaron Swartz

Frank Lloyd Wright: in his own words

The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wikipedia

Space is the breath of art.

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.

Less is only more where more is no good.

Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity.

I hate intellectuals. They are from the top down. I am from the bottom up.

Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.

As we live and as we are, Simplicity—with a capital “S”—is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.

—FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, The Natural House

Frank’s words resonate with us on that human, personal level, and like the designs of his buildings, his syntax is intentionally clean and minimal.

Arguably the greatest architect of the 20th century desired a Simple heart—Simplicity in all aspects of his life—and like him, I think the answer to our complex questions (and our fraught, complex lives) is much simpler than we imagine. Will knowing this (even agreeing with it) change anything? Maybe not now. But later? With your last breath in earth? Yes. You’ll know. Have the courage while it still matters.


Feature image copyright © 2014 Bauhaus2YourHouse

The Newest Version of Familiar

Experiment with change. New experiences become familiar surprisingly quickly. Replacing old, familiar reactions with new, intentional responses seems extra challenging to overcome. These thought processes are comfortable and second-nature and even if we can acknowledge they don’t always reflect well on us, it’s hard to subvert what we know.

A simple example would be mumbling a response rather than speaking clearly. The remedy is awareness, at least at first. The why isn’t important. Determining you’ve acquired mumbling as a type of vernacular from your parents or possibly as a result of your uncertainty of others’ desire to listen doesn’t change that fact that you’re a habitual mumbler.

What matters is how to stop mumbling and communicate better. Take note of the instances when/where you’re mumbling. Don’t try fixing the habit, just notice when it happens. Be consistent with noticing. Just see yourself in the situation: there you are, mumbling and leaving your sentences unfinished. It’s not worth getting hung up on how often/severely you mumble, just watch.

Once you’ve gained a handle on the ability to “watch” yourself when you mumble, it’s a smooth transition into watching yourself speak clearly. You are now aware you don’t mumble anymore. After a while it won’t be something new. You’ll become a habitual non-mumbler without thinking twice.