The concept of my Satori! is simple: I sat in bed the days following the death of my dog Kay and I wondered about my own mortality.
My dog was just a puppy in 2005 when I accepted a position that became a life-altering job. The job gave me a chance to achieve my career goal of being the top operations manager of an electric power generation company, but it came with non stop travel, heavy stresses and the need for wide shoulders because ultimately every issue seemed to find its way to my desk.
Fourteen years later, and that dog had became my best friend and night time companion, as unresolved discomfort in a bed, and my broken nose style of snoring found me sleeping on the floor with her to find rest. She was a flawed animal, once biting my sister in law, and we couldn’t let any strangers near her, but she was loving and kind with my family. Her death shook me. It dawned on me that I only had so much time. None of us know the hour, and worrying about it won’t add a second, but I was gripped with this thought that all the hard work in my life would go for naught and that I’d never have healthy retirement years to pursue my personal goals and objectives.
That was my Satori, my sudden awakening, that I was mortal, that time wasn’t infinite and I could not afford to waste any. I took a Konmari approach to organizing my life. It was simple really; what is important and gives me both utility and happiness was kept, and what did not was not.
The Capstone Project is a direct result of my Satori, an application of a lifetime of skills and knowledge and applying it, like a focused beam of light. But I needed the right incubator, fertile space to flesh out my ideas into reality. I needed creative space.
There are different schools of thought on the ways we as humans learn. The benefit of being in my mid 50’s is that I have enough perspective regarding my own experiences and I’ve realized that the ways I learn at 53 are the same way I learned at 18: I like quiet, uncluttered space, with my thoughts organized in a manner that I can easily access them.
I can’t work with the radio or TV on, absolutely no headphones unless noise cancelling, and I need my work and creative environment to be clean. I can’t work or think cluttered and “…you don’t need a degree in organizational psychology to know that a cluttered work area does not make for clear thinking” (Pernnell 2019). A different form of psychology, the relatively new science of environmental psychology, “…explores the influence of our physical surroundings on how we think, feel and act ” and again, I know I need well lit, clean, organized and quiet (Rattner 2017).
As a result of Satori, I have started this Capstone Project, a series of projects really, all interlinked and chronicled here. I don’t want to get ahead of myself on the projects, but if I’m going to be creative I needed creative space and I have secured space to work within. Located mere minutes from my house, 1,000 square feet with a loft for storage and bathroom that allows me to drink unlimited coffee at night and on weekends.
It needs work, but that’s OK, its all part of the journey. I don’t like to rush through my personal projects, quality over quantity. “Give your space a metaphor or theme. This will shape how people use and think about the space” (DeGraff 2014). Creative space is the metaphor.
My goal is to have the creative space cleaned, organized and built out to my personal taste and specifications by the end of the coming winter. I’d like to begin my actual first project in the spring of 2021. Video companions to the posts begin around January 2021 if I stay on schedule.
I’ll post progress pictures and write updates along the path.
Thanks for reading
DeGraff, Jeff. “Need to Get Creative? How to Create and Idea Space.” Jeff DeGraff Blog. 15 Dec 2014. Retrieved at: https://jeffdegraff.com/blog/2014/12/need-to-get-creative-how-to-create-an-idea-space/
Pennell, Kate Maria. “How to Set Up Physical and Mental Space To Do Your Best Work.” 6 May 2019. Medium.com. Retrieved at: https://medium.com/swlh/create-space-to-have-space-to-create-2bf24bafeac8
Rattner, Daniel. “How to Use the Psychology of Space to Boost Your Creativity.” 2 June 2017. Medium.com. Retrieved at: https://medium.com/s/how-to-design-creative-workspaces/how-to-use-the-psychology-of-space-to-boost-your-creativity-4fe6482ef687