The Story of Things
I think it was their shape that caught my eye. All of those angles drenched in shiny lacquer. Standing there in the middle of CB2 staring at them, I was transported to a handsome library drenched in dark navy walls with antique leather chairs and brass finishes. I could see the boxes resting on a shelf next to a collection of wine-colored books; the gold lettering on their bindings seemed to play off of the reflective lacquer of their hexagonal neighbors. As I stood in that library studying the boxes, wondering what was inside, I imagined what they would look like on a low, wide coffee table in a sun drenched living room in a Hampton’s beach house. Inside, there would be seashells.
Life is busy, a reality to which many of us have reluctantly conceded. What pains me the most about busyness is its warped sense of priorities. Somehow, and for no good reason, the people and rituals I cherish get pushed to the back of the line. Raise your hand if you can relate. I try hard not to take my relationships for granted, but it happens. And while one of the calling cards of true friendship is that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, it’s important to reach out and show the people you love how much they mean to you.
Creating A Home Altar
I have a special place in my home devoted to my spiritual practice. My altar includes photos of my teachers (yoga and family) and some objects that inspire me: statues of Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, some rocks, crystals, and trinkets I’ve collected, and a Catholic prayer card given to me by a dear friend. I like to spend a few minutes in front of my alter every day contemplating my life and my practice, but what I’ve learned over the years is that this physical space I’ve created in my home is really just a reflection of the altar within me. Every object, every photo is simply a manifestation of that which lies deep inside. I carry it with me always.
The art of arranging flowers is, for me, all about letting go. I might have an idea of what I want the arrangement to look like, but it never ends up looking like what I had imagined. If I focus on the act, itself, and give up my attachment to the end result, my arrangement will take on a life of its own. Devote yourself and then surrender to the process — that is yoga.
Thanksgiving dinner is more than just the meal. It’s more than the table decorations and the pumpkin pie; it’s about the meaning behind our traditions. I think that’s why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; more important than the results is the intention behind what we do.
I miss good ‘ole fashioned holiday spirit. These days is feels like the holidays are wrapped in shame and tied with a big fat ribbon of guilt. Even just a small sampling of recent conversations with my friends reveals that we’re all suffering from the same feelings of lack—there’s just not enough time to get it all done. For example, one of my girlfriends wrote, “I’m hunched over my computer, feverishly ordering yet more last-minute xmas gifts and pouring over my extensive end-of-year to-do list (gets longer, not shorter, why?)!” That was on December 10th.
The Art of Display
One of the things I love most about browsing my favorite stores is to see how they reinvent their space. As a frequent visitor, I may be familiar with their merchandise, but I’m always amazed at how the art of display can make me see things in a whole new way. Products I thought I new are showcased in a new light, and suddenly everything in the store feels fresh and unexpected.
The majority of my creative inspiration comes from wandering around my life with my eyes and heart wide open. Creativity, I find, is like Starbucks—it’s everywhere, unless you’re looking for it, in which case it’s nowhere to be found. One day, while strolling aimlessly through the city, I happened upon a pretty little flower shop where they packaged tiny bouquets in what reminded me of old hat boxes. How cool, I thought! I immediately imagined offering this to someone as a gift. The last thing anyone would expect when opening the box would be a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and that’s what I just love about this idea—they’ll never see it coming.