Mindfulness as a Source of Inspiration

Mindfulness is the practice of “being” in the moment. Practicing mindfulness has reduced my stress, improved my relationships, increased my focus, and enhanced my creativity. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with my thoughts on wellness, biophilic design, and designing spaces to improve and enhance our lives.

When I am able to remain in the moment for periods at a time, I am able to savor and appreciate those moments. What’s also nice about keeping my mind in the present is that stressful events are experienced but they end because another moment comes along to replace the stressful one. Now I certainly won’t say that I am the perfect mindfulness practicioner or that I don’t hold on to stress, but mindfulness helps.

HOW is MINDFULNESS a SOURCE of INSPIRATION for me? When my mind stays in the present moment, I hear what you are saying and feel the emotions behind it. I see how you live. I smell and taste the aromas and odors in your home. All of this input is taken into consideration when creating your spaces. Understanding your spoken and unspoken needs and desires is what inspires me to create unique design solutions for every client.

When my mind is in the present, I find much inspiration in nature. The amazing way that a plant sheds water (shouldn’t your shower glass do the same thing?). The color of light streaming in through a window (the color of light affects your mood and your biorhythm so how do we incorporate that?). The beautiful blending of colors in a sunrise (wouldn’t that make a beautiful color palette?). The sounds of water trickling over pebbles in a stream or washing across rocks at the ocean (will soft close doors eliminate the jarring slams of cabinet doors echoing through the house?) . These observations inspire thoughts of sound control in the home, where and how to bring in natural light and views of nature, color palettes that may invigorate versus palettes that create restful spaces. Those are just a few examples.

Two sources of mindfulness training that I highly recommend are the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA (MARC)and Bliss Body Yoga in Raleigh. No, this is not a paid ad – I am just sharing resources that have been a help to me.

My favorite “teacher” at MARC is Diana Winston, the director. I am able to connect with what she is saying and her voice is soothing and keeps me on track. Some of my favorite guided meditations are the ones when she brings in Michael Perricone who plays Tibetan singing bowls. Of course we each have to find what speaks to us. My cousin finds the Tibetan singing bowls to be a source of irritation.

I love Colby, the owner, at Bliss Body Yoga. Her Monday morning gentle yoga class is an exercise not only for the body, but for the mind. I really need to rework my schedule so I can start attending more often. She has, however, put her studio’s classes on Vimeo so if you can’t make it in person, hop on Vimeo.

If you are interested learning how I can incorporate mindfulness, biophilic concepts, and wellness into your designs, please contact me at Leslie@LeslieCohenDesign.com

Golf as a Metaphor for Life

What I like about golf is that it demands my total attention. It rewards patience, self-control, and SLOWING DOWN. Golf is also social and is played outdoors.

When I finish a round of golf, my mind is clear and my body is, well, exhausted. Oh, and I am hungry:-)

I think I enjoy design for many of the same reasons. When I am with clients I am totally focused on them. When I am designing their projects, I am totally absorbed in developing solutions. My mind stays in the moment. And yes… here we will cross over into mindfulness.

Whenever I stay focused on whatever is happening at the moment, I truly absorb and remember it. I experience less stress. If it is a stressful moment, such as a horrible golf shot, it passes quickly as I must move on to thinking about the next shot.

Yesterday I golfed. I met new people, enjoyed being out in nature, and cleared my mind. I can still visualize the delicate beauty of a grouping of yellow flowers that was blooming alongside the cart path.

In this moment, I’ve enjoyed sharing my experience with you. Next up will be enjoying a cup of coffee on my deck while listening to the birds sing. Then I’ll start work with a clear and rested mind.

We finished just as the sun was setting. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Yes, he nailed that one!