We all naturally look at the world through our own life lens. We see the world through our own eyes, and despite many efforts of others to help us to see things differently, it is often a moot point to change someone’s vision of things once it is set in place. Alas, hope springs eternal, and there is much effort given to helping others to see things differently and to change the minds of others.
This ranges from changing your political views to changing a friend’s mind about how to raise her children to mundane things such as which restaurant to eat dinner for your birthday, or how to cut the potatoes best for the salad. It is human nature to want to be heard and to share your opinions. It is also human nature to want to be surrounded by people that have the same way of thinking as you do. However, the world is deeply enriched by the difference in us, and the ability to change our minds. It is one of the reasons I am such an advocate of travel. Travel forces us to open our eyes to new and different cultures, forcing us to see a new perspective of the world rather than just from the one we were born into. For me, it is essential to hone your holistic perspective early on in your life.
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
This reaction, to wish to be surrounded by those that see the world the same way, and the desire to change people’s perspectives to be in alignment with your own is totally natural. A natural reaction, however, is not always the best reaction. Sometimes it is important to train ourselves to have a new and improved way of looking at the world.
I have often lived my life and run my business from the perspective that I have, and it is often not in alignment with the world in which I have been living. They say that I walk to the tune of a different drummer. This is something that I was born with and I recall it from my earliest memories. Having a different perspective can be a lonely and scary place, but it also can be freeing. Alas, at my age, this path is now just my norm, and as a result it has allowed me to help others train themselves to have a new way of looking at the world that allows for a more WHOLISITC perspective. This is especially key in my work as a designer and a sustainable living advocate.
We can be very influenced by the media, TV and what others are telling us is the right thing to get, to be, to do, to say. We are in fact more influenced that we are even conscious of most of the time. At every turn we are being marketed to and this is essential to become aware of this, so you can become more in control of the choices you make and whether they are serving you, or if you are simply following the lead of the marketing targets that have been placed upon us.
Therefore, having the skill of honing your own holistic perspective, or your ability to look at the bigger picture, will be essential to your overall happiness.
Part of my design journey which I provide for me clients is a Holistic Design Questionnaire. (My Magic Box). This gently probes you to question what you believe in, what matters most to you, what you like and what you do not like. It forces an intense inner reflection which is often missed in our adult lives. Many of my past clients, (especially the males!), have found this process quite liberating and a slight shocking experience. When was the last time some asked you to explain what your feelings were and asked you to really think about the things that matter about your life, your home, yourself? Unless we ask the questions, we will never know the answers.
During home renovation projects it is also a key element that I have had to work closely with my clients to help them regain the correct perspective for each phase of the project. The need to have a WHOLE perspective in the beginning of the project. However, in the early stage of a home improvement project, the perspective must switch to being much more intensely microscopic. You need to make decisions on the details of the choices you are making. You must see the depth of details, review the drawings and or specifications for each item you chose. Your designer can guide you, as I do with my clients, however it is your home, therefore it is your responsibility to make sure to really dig deep into the details for what you are going to surround yourself with. BUT there is a danger here, that this increased focused perspective is too narrow. This is a real danger, as with this super focused perspective, you can become ultra critical and hyper activated. You can see every flaw, see every uneven material, every last minute dust particle in the paint.
“Whatever things we build end up building us.” ~Jim Rohn
In my book, Feng Shui Tips: Home Renovations, I discuss the need to adjust your Life Lens at the end of the project. in order to make sure you can be happy in your space after the renovation is done. Here is an excerpt from the book:
During the course of a Home Renovation, your world becomes micro-visionary in order to manage it properly. This is a great and necessary adjustment of your vision to accommodate the challenges in the moment. Home Renovation projects are very fast-paced, with decisions being made in the here and now which will literally be built within the next few minutes or hours. No matter what role you chosen to take in the process, be it the PM or only a focused and attentive client, your position and energy will have been focused on the project and the journey to the end.
Once the project is COMPLETED, the adjustment that is essential is to look OUTWARDS again and embrace life. This will allow you the best way forward to living a more fulfilling and balanced life. To live in a micro-focused position will eventually create imbalances in the other areas of your life, since we all have limited energy and time. Therefore it is not sustainable to stay this focused on too many things all the time. We just do not have the resources required to maintain this indefinitely.
The adjustment of your outlook on life will aid you to stop seeing the imperfections and allow this to drain you. It will guide you away from the place of constant nitpicking and complaining about the things that did not go perfectly and guide your vision outwards. It will help you to give gratitude for the things that did go well and focus on them. This shift outward again will help to balance the space to again be your home in the world at large.
This final exercise is designed to pull back the camera lens from ZOOM to a wide-angle perspective again. Look at your WHOLE LIFE and remember what your key values and the most important, the invisible things, are in life. Then go focus on bringing in those INVISIBLE things into your space: LOVE, JOY, and FRIENDSHIP.
“Create the Space and a Bigger Life Happens.” ~Alysia Reiner
To hone your holistic perspective is a life lesson that I advocate all the time. It is something I have to remind myself of often and use in my design business regularly. Making sure we can see the BIG PICTURE and focus on being happy with the whole space is key. Nothing is ever perfect, and designing your home is also a process, not a final destination. Maintaining this REALISTIC perspective will help you to not only enjoy your home more, it will also allow you to have more space for joy in your life as well.