A few years ago I took part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It was delightful.
The woman holding the ceremony was a serious practitioner of the art, and the traditional tearoom installed in her home included the small square entrance that you cannot get through unless you crawl (gracefully) on your knees.
This small door (nijiriguchi, or "crawling-in entrance") harkens back to a time in Japan when there was a lot of warring going on between Samurai. The door's purpose was two-fold: First, Samurai and other weaponized people couldn't get through the door without taking off their swords. Second, it required all who passed through it to enter in the same manner of humility.
This was not an accident. The architecture deliberately created this equalizing effect in an otherwise hierarchical society and played an essential political role. Within the teahouse, people who usually could not talk to each other because of social rules were able to create alliances, and business got done.
The card Passage describes an area that we pass through to get to a destination, for example, transitional places such as foyers and thresholds. It also describes how these transitional spaces shape us, preparing us for that destination and the activities that occur there.
By setting a small door as the entrance to the tea hut, participants were shaped for the experience within. The events in the teahouse were able to happen because of the process people went through to get there.
My design work focuses on people's workspaces, and I know that creating a space for transition can transform how settled and prepared we feel when we sit down at our desks. But in so many workspaces, especially home offices, an area for transition is non-existent. We enter into our office and Wham, we are there.
Try this. Take a moment and notice how you feel as you enter your workspace. Do you feel settled? Or do you arrive startled and panicked? Do you skirt around the edges of your office looking for a smooth transition in?
How would it feel to have a pause? A space to prepare, to enter your work consciously and become present? What would that do for your work and your life?
I don't mean that your office needs little doors. When you create a place of Passage it can be pretty simple. The feeling of softness under your feet when you walk in. A small picture behind the door, only seen when the door is shut. Scent, sound, a moment of color. All signal to the body and mind that you are entering a new place and allow a pause to connect with yourself, to draw yourself together, to regroup and dedicate.
To slow down. To prepare.
This new moon to new moon month we are collectively moving through a Passage. Even though we may be focused on the destination of our future, Passage suggests to us that the place we are moving through right now is preparing us for our future. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, take the time to slow down and become present to the qualities, challenges, and gifts of this threshold. Allow yourself to be transformed and shaped by taking in the rich signals of what is around you. Passage is not something to get through to get to the “real” stuff, but a place in of itself to hold this action of proceeding, traveling, and birthing into the next world.
Passage: A Practice for Our Journeys of Creativity
Passage is a good card to meditate on when we are on the journey of birthing anything intimate, vulnerable and personal into the world. It is an inherently sensual card, so during these times take a moment to delight in the materials, colors, textures, scents, and sounds that hold us in the present and shape us.
You are invited to a Fresh Look
If your office or workspace feels funky -- and not in the good way -- you can invite Judith to take a fresh look at your space and get insights on how to bring your office into greater alignment with Who You Really Are. Just ask.
Judith helps you figure out where your desk should go, what color to paint your walls, and all of the little details so you feel more at ease, totally at home, and completely held by your office.
She holds a Masters Degree in Interior Architecture at the University of Oregon and is certified in Design Psychology.
How does this deck work anyway?
I created a deck of cards that ‘reads’ our environments. It's still a little mysterious to me. How, I ask, can the cards 'read' the environment if they can't even 'see" it? However, they have proven again and again to be amazingly helpful in both creating designs for my clients and helping all sorts of people understand their relationship with their workspaces and home spaces in order to feel more spacious, free and alive.
In each newsletter I draw a card for all of us, to help us navigate the month ahead, understand what our collective environment is presenting to us, and suggest small changes we can make to our personal physical space that will support us in the coming month. Would love to hear from you if this card was helpful!
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