The Lure of Beauty a.k.a. When to Press Pause

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This is a pretty important post, so listen up. There’s no doubt in my mind that most of us just have way too much stuff. And the thought of cleaning out, paring down, sorting through, and then disposing of it is daunting to say the least. I know this because I was one of those people.  I still am, to a degree, but I wrestle with it on a daily basis and I’m conscious of it in a way that feels like the healthy beginning of change, and I’ve got some great purges to prove it.

I also like to think that I live somewhere in that slice of happiness between having what I need and hanging on to what makes me smile. It’s the razor’s edge for a designer. There’s a constant battle between the me that can’t help but listen to the onslaught of messaging thrown my way every day to buy more, consume more, want more, and the one that KNOWS that this is just plain wrong.

My business is built on the premise that there are others like me. People who are craving something more simple and balanced and yet, still want and appreciate beauty. Because to deny ourselves beauty is a cosmic sin. I have often thought that someone should publish a scholarly paper on why human beings need beauty. Why is it so instinctual to draw, paint, sing, bedazzle? Why isn’t every building just four walls, a floor and a ceiling? I think it’s because our need for color and ornament and music is very primal, and I honestly believe that it’s part of our ancestral DNA. Let’s face it, our structures, our clothing, our furniture, even our food would work just fine without needing to be beautiful. And yet.

All I can say is that to fight it would be pointless, and pretty bloody boring. So the key is that when we surrender to the lure of beauty – when we can’t help but walk in and buy that incredibly amazing thing we just saw – that we remain conscious, that we pause. I sometimes take this a step further and purposely wait. And if the “thing” continues to haunt me, I know that there’s probably a good reason and that I most likely won’t be sorry. It’s a more responsible approach and has worked extremely well for me. I encourage you to give it a try, and be sure to keep your eyes open and your finger on that pause button.

  • Arpiné Stein
    Posted at 23:12h, 07 July

    You are so right. Beauty is something we are all drawn to, but too much of anything isn’t good. Clutter is easy to achieve. Minimal clean deliberate beauty is much harder. Something you really understand and are good at. Thanks for this reminder to push pause before I buy another thing!

  • Jan Scaglia
    Posted at 07:54h, 08 July

    Wonderfully true blog Linda. I’m still trying to heed your advice every time I look into my house. Keep up the very real posts.

  • Linda
    Posted at 08:13h, 09 July

    My pleasure! Always think twice – before you eat that donut, before you buy that thing, before you say what you’re thinking – good advice for all of us!!

  • Linda
    Posted at 08:14h, 09 July

    Thanks! And I’m happy to provide these gentle reminders on a regular basis, since we all seem to need them!!

  • Rhonda Gardinier
    Posted at 14:27h, 14 July

    I’ve been pondering this post for a while, considering my motives for gathering the things I have and my relationships with them. A journey to the beach last Thursady brought it more into focus. As I walked I filled my pockets with stones and shells and feathers that caught my eye. But towards the end of the walk I took your advice and pressed pause, sorting through and only keeping a few items that really stood out as things I wanted to share with kids at preschool, that I could visualize where they would sit in my garden, and one that felt especially at home against my fingertips in my pocket. I love the act of hunting and gathering beautiful things, but letting go is pretty liberating, as well. Keep the lessons coming.

  • Linda
    Posted at 14:34h, 14 July

    I am continually amazed at how many times the “thing” that I desperately thought I needed just falls away with a good night’s sleep. I also love the fact that when I do give in, it is always worth it, and I appreciate those beauties all the more! Keep pondering, and pausing.

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