Washing Dishes Together

What does the card Material mean?

The card Material is the story of the passionate love affair between humans and the material world. 

More than any other critter I can think of, we humans explore clay & stone, wood & wool, plants & bones -- anything we can get our hands on.

Material encourages us to have a relationship with our material surroundings that is balanced and equal -- a partnership. This is the relationship of the artist or artisan -- those that allowed the World to teach, shape and transform them, as much as they shape and transform the World.

The other day I was talking to a friend.

She was mulling the idea of 'partnership' with the earth. Someone she admired had suggested to her that she work in 'partnership' with the earth, and my friend wanted a concrete image of what this looked like so that she could do it.

She told me that she had been rolling this around in her mind while doing the dishes when she looked down at the soapy water and began to laugh.

She had been washing the dishes in partnership with the water.

The card Material is about being in partnership with the material world around you.

Years ago I took a pottery class. At some point, we began to learn how to center clay on the wheel. I don't know if you've ever tried to center a lump of clay on a spinning wheel, but it's a lot like trying to get a very active fish to sit upright and still. As I chased my muscley lump of mud all over the place, suddenly, and for three amazing seconds, it centered, spinning peacefully and effortlessly under my hands. For those three seconds, I understood the zen intimacy that a potter has with her clay. 

There is a point at which the artisan -- the potter, the weaver, the builder -- understands the media that she or he works with intimately. Instead of muscling the material into place, pushing and agenda-ing, the artist works in partnership with it. 

This is the space we are stepping into collectively. The card Material reminds us to SEE the resources that are in front of us, and work WITH them. It says that we have gained some artisan mastery -- we have put in the time poking at and exploring the clay of our world -- learning how it moves, building strength, sometimes chasing it helplessly -- until we know how to stay centered. And how to come back to center when we fail.

For many of us, this past summer has been a time of poking at our clay, asking questions, and accepting what properties it has to give. What we really have to work with. Material is a reality-based card. Starting where we are and using what we have is not a point of defeat, but an entrance into the creation of beauty.

I will give you an example of how this shows up in your workspace or a room in your home. (Though it is equally true of any aspect of life because it's an approach, not a thing. So think of how it can apply to your work, your business, your relationship, etc.) 

Take the example of Natural Light. Big windows and views. Everyone seems to want these in their environment and to be sure natural light is wonderful. If you have a darkish room, small or no windows, sometimes you feel like you don't have the resources for a beautiful space, a place where you feel expansive, powerful, spacious. Top of your game. 

But shadow also has beauty. Darkness has depth and power. A small window has zen focus. 

Building a space with the resources of that space not only allows success, but it creates a beauty far more powerful than trying to muscle an incompatible 'look' from a room with no windows. And when we work in that room, we can feel it. We can feel the room relax and bloom and become powerful in its own amazing way.

And that, in turn, reminds us that we can too.

What are the resources you have? Where is their power and how do you step into partnership with it? 

(And if you don't think you have resources for beauty in your room, or you're having a tough time seeing them, book one of my complimentary Fresh Look sessions and I'll help you find them. This is where I'm the artisan.)

When you have this partnership approach to resources you have in your life, your workload is halved. You may be humbled sometimes, you may be awed. And you may let go of a certain amount of control. But you have the wind at your back. Your pot is centered. The clay is working with you. The water is washing with you. 

And the thing that you create -- the thing that you create together -- is a strong and powerful beauty.

Making it easy: What Material resources do you have?

Sometimes when we cannot see the resources that we have it's helpful to start an inventory. Whether it's a room, business, or something else, list neutrally the properties it has. Choose three that you find challenging and imagine showcasing those qualities. This gets us out of the pattern of pushing against them, and often we begin to see their true beauty and potential.


the dishes

Judith Tamarah
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!

Make your work space as brilliant as you are.

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