Enlivening Spaces by Michael Soule
What do you do when your work space gets messy or cluttered? Are there times when you find yourself unable to concentrate at work? How we tend to the spaces around us has a definite effect on our ability to think and to work and on how other people feel and experience our space. Cleaner, more tidy, better organized, more beautiful spaces invite something different not only from others but from ourselves.
Here are a few tips on how to bring a focus to the spaces around you. Here also is an article by Linda Thomas who cleaned the Goetheanum in Switzerland for years and the insights she gained about the power of training our consciousness on details of our spaces.
The Spirit in Spaces
When I get going too fast at work (every May in fact!), it becomes difficult to keep my desk and the spaces around me tidy. Things piles up faster than I can put them into their place, or create new places for ones that need places. I am aware of an increasing tension when this happens. As some point I find it necessary to take a few hours to bring everything back into order. Everyone has their own relationship to this cycle – some are more able to do it in a regular rhythm – and others whenever it is needed. I was reminded of the dynamics of this recently when studying some material on the nature and life of the elementals in relation to working with my garden.
Linda Thomas, who cleaned the Goetheanum for many years, wrote a lovely article about the spirit of cleaning. It is not just about having neat and clean spaces. The cleanliness and orderliness is important and necessary, but not sufficient for maintaining a living space around us that supports our work in a healthy way. Enlivened space requires awareness and consciousness.
It has only been a generation or so since people had a living relationship to what were often referred to as “little people” around them – the spirit of the house or garden or farm (Tompten or House Gnomes). A few people are still sensitive to these beings, but generally the life of these beings (referred to by Rudolf Steiner as useful elemental beings) has been relegated to superstition.
Still everyone I know has had some experience of the life or spirit of things in their surrounding – including the mechanical or electronic tools that we use frequently in modern life. In the understanding of those who can perceive spiritual realities, the elementals are quite real, very active and in every material forms (from plants to inanimate objects), and have an effect on our capacity for doing good work in specific space. There are specific ways that we can work with these elemental beings to create positive and healthy spaces around us.
Here are a few suggestions. These practices not only make our spaces feel better, but also make it possible to be more energetic, productive and healthy, and in the olden language, please the spirits of the house, so that they can be more helpful.
Stay focused and productive. The life in a space is permeated with the quality of meaningful activity in it. This is ideally done through loving the work you do.
Make your space beautiful. The ambiance of a space is enlivened and inviting when it is beautiful and orderly. Not only is it important to add beauty to a space, but to appreciate the beauty that lives in each thing – even the little things one might overlook – a pen, a paper clip etc.
Appreciate the change in seasons and make it part of your work environment. The outer conditions of nature are an important factor in any space. Historically, the activity of house gnomes were very tied to the seasons and the more in tune with the season a space is, the more possible it is that the forces active in the seasons can flow into our work.
Keep positivity in your soul mood. Cheerfulness lights up a space in very important ways.
Fill your space with gratitude and inwardly express your appreciation for the gifts of the things around you. Keep a sense of wonder for the things you use every day.
Clean up your office with consciousness and feel more alive when you go home for the day, for the weekend, or for the summer.
Click here to read the Linda Thomas article, Chaos in Spaces.