Posts Tagged ‘harmony’

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Architecture Monday

July 30, 2018

There’s something magical about the mirror pool of water.  That almost-perfect reflection, yet delicately stirred by the wind, the heightening of colour and of form, a mirror that seems to look deep within places beyond.  The placid mountain lake is perhaps the pinnacle (no pun intended, I swear…) of the form, majesty reflected onto majesty.

If the reflecting pool is the architectural equivalent of the pond, then courtyards featuring reflecting pools is their mountaintop equal.  Which is why this health centre in China goes all out, organizing itself around a myriad of courtyards, each unique, and almost all featuring pools and ponds.  With quartz white walls, sculpted trees, rich wood accents, and most certainly helped by the soft light filtering in from morning fog, the result is full of ethereal beauty and tranquility.

Love it.  This I call a space of healing.

Weihai Hospital of TCM by GLA

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Architecture Monday

July 23, 2018

Everything is an opportunity.  I am forever in love with that notion, that everything is an opportunity for design.  Take the needs, survey what’s there, and play around a bunch!  In the end, you might end up with something very beautiful.

Which leads us tonight to this barn on a farm in Chile.  Splitting apart like a zipper, it encompasses all manners of workhorse functions: toolhouse, machinery shed, dining room for farm hands, and a stable for all those horses.  And the playing is plenty evident, beginning with an expressive wood structure that provides shelter as well as forming a sculptural envelope that’s a joy to be in.  The water trough doubles as a lovely reflecting pool and demarks the edge of the site.  And that unzippering not only allows for the necessary circulation, but also frames views of the surrounding fields and mountain sides.  It’s all there, working together; the utilitarian backed up by solid structure that itself leads the eye towards beauty both near and beyond.

I love it.  A building that takes its very rugged requirements and fulfills them in a way that honours the land, honours its workers, and honours the soul of us all. Good stuff.  El Galeno Horse Stables and Warehouse by Peñafiel & Valdivieso Arquitectos.

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Wonder Wednesday

December 20, 2017

Tonight is a little different.  It’s about the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.  And the work they do is beyond wonderful.

Their mission is straightforward:  rescue and provide life-long homes for large, “exotic”, and endangered captive wild animals who are abused, abandoned, or neglected throughout the western hemisphere.  The mission, however, is anything but simple.  It involves thousands of miles of travel, creating large acreage habitats where the animals can roam and act as they would in the wild, and a scores of volunteers and staff who rescue, build, feed, treat, and care for these animals.

At the Sanctuary, you will not find baby animals for you to cuddle with.  You cannot pay money to pose with a tiger.  They do not breed or supply animals for entertainment.  It is about allowing these animals to live a life with dignity and respect.  Even if you visit the sanctuary, you will walk on a boardwalk over 40′ in the air, a path such that it places no stress on the animals.

African lions, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, leopards, wolves, servals, bobcats, foxes, lynx, coyote, coati mundi, raccoon, porcupine, ostrich, emu, camels, alpacas, horses, and our faithful dogs and cats all have a home here.

It is an organization that brings tears to my eyes and grips my heart.  They are doing hard work filled with love and respect.  It’s about expressing the fullness of our humanity.

I happily support them with donations, and I’m inviting you to do the same.  Visit their web page to see many wonderful photos of the beautiful animals they have rescued, watch their videos and documentaries, and, if you choose, donate to help them continue their fine work.

(All photos (c) the Wild Animal Sanctuary)

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 5, 2017

Delving further into the realm of last week’s post and flipping the focus a bit, there is this great quote that is rife for exploration:

“To have great pain is to have certainty.

To hear that another person has pain is to have doubt.”

–Elaine Scarry

Perhaps we can never, ever, fully, know the experience of others, nor can we ever, fully, express our own.  Thousands upon thousands of poems and songs have been written about love or misery, each trying mightily to capture the entirety of even what may seem like the most uncomplicated of emotion.  Yet thousands more will still be written, ever trying more mightily.

And despite all those songs, when we first fall in love, or have our hearts broken, or experience loss, or victory, did it ever truly prepare us?

The real question to ask in our pursuit of being alive, is what is our default thought when we hear about the experience of another?  Or see their actions without further context?  What lens(es) do we bring to bear?  How much generosity to we bring?

More importantly, what do we want our default to be?

It’s easy to be dismissive, to try to fix, to explain, to deny, or, well, simply to doubt the experience and rich context and background of someone else.  Even if that someone else is a friend, or family member. *

And while we may never be fully able to fully know their experience, we can go a long way towards it.  We can turn on our listening and our imagination and empathy and play the game to understand and to know.  Whatever gap is left, we can fill with generous  consideration and dispensation.

It is, after all, what we ourselves want when we are in pain, are feeling thwarted, stomped on, rejected, overwhelmed, without agency, under duress…

We want to be heard and to be known.

In that space, we can all center ourselves, grow, and begin to create the future we all want.

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Plato

 

* I wonder if maybe it is even easier to dismiss if they are a friend or family, as it becomes easier to project onto them:  you are my friend/family = therefore we must share the same history = therefore we are the same = therefore your actions or feelings can’t possibly be right.

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 4, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

So, Bono and the Edge played at the Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa over the weekend, with a nice, stripped down, acoustical rendition of their song, “One.”  Quite lovely.

One of the articles I was reading about the performance noted something I found very interesting about the song.  There’s a lyric in it that many people mishear or misinterpret.  And when it’s pointed out and made clear (as, apparently, the band tries to do whenever they can), it really shifts the nature of the song, to what I think is a much richer place.

What most people hear is:

“we’ve got to carry each other…”

However, the actual lyric is:

“we get to carry each other…”

This single word switch makes quite the difference.  It injects grace into the song.  It shifts the path and creates a different idea of the One.  It creates and even celebrates a Buddhist middle path, Taoist yin yang, straight up Niels Bohr way of saying “yes, we are different in many ways, and we can still come together.”  It removes a notion of obligation in the got, and instead turns it into generosity and possibility in the get.  It’s a One born from acting on our shared human desires and aspirations, our ur-intentions, regardless of the trappings of culture, society, interests, hobbies, romances, tastes, etc.

This get reminds us that we don’t have to really like someone, or want to be their acquaintance and hang out with them, or agree on everything, or be up to the same things in life, or understand everything about them, to still be committed to carrying each other.  To a future that works for us all.

Exquisite.  A melody well worthy of a celebration and worth living into.

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Philosophy Tuesday

March 21, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Today, it comes in the form of a quote:

In retrospect it may seem naive.

But then again, in retrospect, everyone looks naive.

That doesn’t mean we stop trying.

The Art Assignment

(Love it. I can read this on many levels.  For myself, I can go easy and be forgiving for what I have wrought, perhaps foolishly, in my past.  For others, I can be present and understanding and compassionate.  For the world, I can be courageous and self-expressed in striving towards a future that works for both everyone and all the wondrous creatures that surround us, with no one and nothing left out.)

 

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Dancing with Matt!

July 9, 2016

A wonderful morning dancing with Matt from the Where the Heck is Matt videos!

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Yuebo, Matt, and Me!

This was part of his tour for his upcoming video that I supported via his Kickstarter earlier this year.  So excited.  I love Matt’s videos, they are both purely delightful (I dare anyone to watch them and not smile) and they are a powerful, wonderful, reminder of who we as humans really are and what we really want — we just want to be happy and dance together.  Something we really need right now.  If you’ve never watched the vids, I totally recommend them.

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