I was in my acupuncture clinic treating patients today when a man walked in to check the HVAC system. The building is old and there have been issues with the system for years. He needed access to a room where a patient was resting so he had to wait a few minutes. We chatted a bit about acupuncture. He mentioned how great it was that it was my job to help people find wellness. He said, “All any of us really want is to be well.” I agreed and pondered the benefits of my chosen career, both for myself and for others. He went on to finish his work and just before he walked out he said, “This is really a peaceful place. I think my blood pressure is lowered just from being here.” It made me smile. Without even receiving an acupuncture treatment, just by creating a calm and relaxing space, I invoked a sense of well being for this complete stranger.
So appropriate then that later in the day I tuned in to The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show (one of my favorite podcasts, by they way – check it out). He was sharing a class with author and podcast host Srinivas Rao, who spoke about how our environment can help us or hurt us creatively. He encouraged his listeners to create a work and home environment that serves them. He even suggested that decluttering could help us to manifest our goals. I had just seen first hand in my office how a peaceful and nurturing space could leave a random person feeling relaxed and happy, even when he wasn’t there to accomplish that. What a great reminder to maintain this in all areas of my life.
I have always strived to create a environment, whether it be home or work, that allows me to feel calm and centered. It’s the only way I’m able to focus on my creative goals. I’m sure a chef feels this way in their kitchen, or a painter in their studio. We want our tools where we need them. Maybe some nice things to look at and inspire us. Good materials to work with. When I’m surrounded by clutter or distractions, it is so difficult to stay focused. I mostly just feel anxious. The world feels a lot like this these days. So much chaos. So many distractions. It’s more important now than even to create a space that nourish us. That creates calm. That allow us to thrive.
I recently moved my writing desk into my bedroom. I had been thinking about moving it here for quite some time but worried it would take up too much space or bring my work into my sleep sanctuary. But not only has it allowed me to have my tools close when I’m feeling most relaxed but because it is already a calm and quiet place, I can focus my energies on being creative without the distractions of other obligations around the house. When my desk was in the living room, right next to the kitchen, I found it almost impossible to think clearly. There was always a random kid’s toy next to my laptop, and the stove was always in sight reminding me that it would soon be time to start preparing another meal. Now, when I get out of bed the first thing I see is my gratitude journal, and I begin my day writing. At night, after my daily yoga practice, which I also do in my bedroom, I can close the door and sit at my desk to do research or write this blog post. The simple act of moving my desk to a place where it can be kept free of clutter and outside noise, has allowed me to more genuinely focus on my myself and my work.
I learned about creating a space like this when I was in college. I lived alone in a small studio apartment with a cat and two turtles. This was probably one of the most creative times of my life. I wrote songs, poetry, crocheted hats and scarves, and made more than one collage for my wall. I swam and rode my bike regularly and got outdoors whenever I wasn’t alone studying or creating. Sadly, I eventually graduated and entered into the chaos of the real world and so many of my creative habits got left in that minimalist studio apartment.
I am grateful for people like that man in my office today and Srinivas Rao, who remind me to always create a space that serves me. I’m happy to have had the experience of living alone where simplicity allowed me to nurture my creativity. I’m excited that I’ve ventured down that path once again and remembered to stay true to my needs and create systems and spaces that work best for me. I’m fortunate to be able to share that with others in my office, to assist them in cultivating their own wellness, and hopefully go out into the world and share it with others too…even if they are only there to look at the HVAC system. And I look forward to continuing to share what I have learned with you. Together we can journey the path to wellness and success and creativity and calm. Together we can create a better space where we all can thrive!