As some of you may know my family and I have just made a move from Auckland to Whangarei to align our lifestyle with our family values.
One of the things that really stood out for me when we packed up our house in Auckland was how much art affects how a place feels. Our Auckland homes’ walls were covered in art that I loved: over-sized scrabble pieces that spelled out our family members names, original framed creations crafted by my children and artistic friends, prints, quirky industrial pieces and photos of those that I hold dear to me.
It took seven years of collecting and curating and they were part of the place that I called home. These pieces brought me much joy, but it wasn’t until after I took them down did I realise just how much they contributed to the feel of my home. Some of this I had taken for granted, but as we took down piece by piece and packed them away and I looked at my bare walls where my masterpieces once hung I realised two things.
Firstly, that over the years I had spent a small fortune in command strips and secondly a home without art is just a house.
It has filled me with much bliss to rediscover my buried treasures and turn our new house into our home.
This has made me reflect on the environments that I worked over the years as an early childhood teacher and how they made me feel.
Why do we value beauty?
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever; it’s loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness – John Keats
Now there are people out there who think that things like pictures, pretty trinkets, candles, plants and quirky bits are just superficial and not important, but I would like to challenge your thinking on this.
To experience beauty in our lives is a fundamental human need. Beauty speaks to the soul of who we are – we are holistic beings it is imprinted in our DNA to create beautiful things and to be surrounded by beauty. Our environment evokes an emotional response in us it’s a reflection of who we are as people.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart – Helen Keller
We have all experienced this when we walk into a home or an early childhood centre we feel the wairua of the place and the people before anyone has even said a word
The Holistic Lens
Let’s take a look at this through a holistic lens.
When we are happy and at peace in our environment we feel a deep-seated feeling of belonging. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, after meeting our basic needs and safety, belonging is our next most important need.
Once our teams, our children and our families feel that they belong they are able to contribute in a positive way. When beautiful “real things” are freely available for children to play with we are saying “I trust you”. When we create beautiful environments, we are saying ” I respect you.” “I value you” “I love you”.
Expressions of creativity, the freedom to exchange ideas and explore freely is only possible in an environment where we feel safe to do so.
Are our environments allowing our teams and children the emotional nourishment to feel love and belonging? Do our centres feel right?
Living beautifully is a unique expression of our divine nature – The Virtues Project
Take Stock of Your Environment
In my previous post “Why you should be your priority” I wrote about taking stock of your environment.
How is your environment making you feel? What have you taken for granted in your environment? Does it reflect the people in the home or the centre? Is it time for a clean out?
Perhaps it is time to take an emotional internal evaluation of each space and reflect on how that space is not only looking but how it feels. What emotional response is your environment evoking?
Is it a space that feels home-like, filled with beauty that inspires awe and wonder? Or is it a chaotic, busy space that makes you feel overwhelmed by being in it? Has a collection of junk and debris accumulated over time and we have become oblivious to it? Or is it a space where carefully curated treasures have been lovingly displayed?
Our children are constantly downloading our wairua, but they are also downloading the wairua of the spaces where they spend their time.
Our teams, children and families deserve a beautiful environment. We deserve a beautiful environment.
It is not enough to create efficiency – we also need to create beauty because it is a fundamental expression of our humanity, of who we are. If we deny beauty we deny our humanity… and our future. – David Truebridge.
Thank you for reading my blog. I would love to see some of the ways you create beauty in your place. Please feel free to share them in the comments