a life well designed.. from the inside out

As a luxury interior designer, for nearly 2 decades my job was to assist my clients in creating truly spectacular homes and spaces. I’ve traveled to exotic destinations for or with my clients in search of that perfect “whatever”. It was an exciting, glamorous, and often stressful life of presentations, budgets, deadlines, schedules, and deliveries. The homes I worked on, particularly in Hawaii,  were on average 10,000 square feet each and sold for anywhere from 4 to 12 million dollars. One of the beachfront custom homes I got to work on is often rented to the Obamas when they visit Hawaii. I’ve been very blessed in my professional experience and don’t take any of it for granted. 

We somehow believed that outward perfection would lead to interior happiness and joy. You know, the perfect family room would obviously lead to joyful evenings spent together playing games, connecting, and authentically communicating. And sometimes, it did. But sometimes, it didn’t. That beautiful comfy sofa is not always going to make your kid want to sit still and talk to you.

In my years as an interior designer what I really learned is that designing our lives from the outside in simply doesn’t work. We all ultimately want the same things, happiness, freedom, connection with loved ones.

Now, as a yoga and meditation facilitator I see where we went wrong. Our focus should have been on designing our lives from the inside out. Uncluttering our minds and then our closets. Or maybe both at the same time.

Our physical spaces when well-designed clearly influence our wellbeing. What colors we choose or how we lay out our spaces, formal, casual, etc… There is a ton of psychology that factors into the art of design and as someone who has studied design most of her adult life, I have a tremendous amount of respect for my art. However, it simply isn’t enough. Really, the perfect sexy bedroom will not make you love your partner more compassionately or bring you closer together. I’ve designed gorgeous bedroom suites for couples who shortly after the project was finished, sadly left each other.  You must work on yourself and your own happiness.

As a society I believe we  need to focus more attention on designing our lives from the inside out. Creating space with our breath. Creating a peaceful sanctuary that we can always return to inside of ourselves with meditation and a regular yoga practice. Tapping into our inherent inner state of bliss before running out to buy those new furnishings or redoing the bathroom. 

If you are curious and want to learn more about yoga, meditation or an upcoming retreat in Tuscany, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Or, if you’re ready to buy a new handmade rug, I can help with that too (wink).

One comment

  1. What a beautiful post, Shirley. I have a feeling I will come back to it again and again. I am in the process of decluttering in a major way and sometimes it feels endless and I get defeated. But each time I can pull things away I get to really see what is underneath (recently that meant a lot of both crap and “good stuff” left by my mom which unearthed very precious letters I had never seen written by her as a young woman to her parents) and it’s all worth it.

    Thank you for writing.

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