GOD IS IN THE DETAILS
When the 19th century French novelist Gustave Flaubert famously said “God is in the detail”, he was simply insisting that if something was to be done, it should be done with our closest attention.
This, of course, has a particular importance when creating sacred spaces.
Big design decisions such as colors, lighting, dividing walls, furniture, etc are most important to set the scene, but it is easy to forget or overlook how much benefit actually comes from small details.
In the previous article we talked about the important of presence, how sharpening our focus on the now can become a direct gateway to the deeper intelligence of source and thus, our path to a more expanded and fulfilling life.
I have therefore found it important, when creating spaces, to pay attention to smaller elements, such as cutlery, tableware, the quality of the sheets or pillows..
And while these are elements are often the ones which drop so easily to the bottom of the priority pile, they are also the ones we actually connect with the most deeply, the most often, and which can have the power to connect us to the present moment.
I will never forget one of the first sales I ever made in my gallery.
A senior executive from a large luxury brand had fallen in love with a set of 10 glass vases and absolutely insisted to take them home for a modest £10,000.
I was later fascinated by the effect the vases seemed to have, not only on his home, but also on his habits and moods. He phoned the gallery two weeks later to thank us for these lovely pieces which had apparently deeply impacted his life.
Ever since the purchase, he no longer rushed out of the house at the same speed in the morning, as the vases had such a deeply hypnotic impact, he couldn’t walk by them without slowing down, reflecting, then moving on.
THIS is what I am talking about.
Far from the allure of Elle Decoration’s “must-buy list”, we need to be dressing our homes with pieces which deeply resonate with our core being, touch our souls and trigger recognition to our truest most authentic selves.
When I was designing the Saint-Martins lofts, for instance, the brief was to use only 19 greek street pieces. Yet, I couldn’t resist to break the rules and bring in one of Jaime Hayon’s famous Hope Bird, a small Lladro statue which symbolised the innocence of mankind as we look forward in optimism.
Since then, numerous guests who have walked in the flat have asked to place orders for the same.
So, what if we don’t have 10,000 for a set of vases or 800 for the lladro bird?
Well in my own, much humbler, flat I simply used elements which jumped out at me in markets, vintage shops or cool design haunts, and most importantly, I make time to build a connection with them.
For instance, the central point of my living room is a vintage Turkish gold-coloured plate bought from a nearby shop, for dining, I have chosen tableware made by local artisans out of fossil rock from a dehydrated lake in Mauritania, as well as small glasses in typical Morocco shapes and tumblers made from old wine bottles, cut by local community groups in Guatemala as part of a local economy-boosting scheme from my time working in sustainability.
Again, it really doesn’t matter what these elements are or how much they are worth, what matters is what they ignite in us and whether or not they able to help shut off that useless chatter, bringing us back into the present moment. For me, these all do.
Of course keep an eye out for items which jump out at you while you are out in the world, and make the right, conscious, decisions, choosing pieces that will end up in the “save” pile of your future, ruthless, decluttering practise.
But I also have an even more important tip for you, one that has deeply impacted my life as well as that of most people I have recommended it to.
For the next 24 hours, I want you to start by walking around your home in a state of “noticing”.
From the moment you open your eyes to the moment you go to sleep, notice what are the elements that make up most of your interactions in the day. You get up, push off the sheets, slip on the slippers, maybe grab a glass of water, put the coffee on, grab your phone, sit at your desk, eat lunch, hang the laundry, perhaps watch TV… and end the day you kick off the slippers again and slide back under the sheets.
What would the day look like if you met each of its micro-moments with gratitude?
What if you began your day by opening your eyes simply being grateful that you have eyes which can see? What if you thanked your sheets for keeping you warm and cosy through the night? Thanked your glass for holding the water so it could get to your mouth and hydrate your being? What if you could thank the spoon for carrying the honey to your tea? Or even thanked that smelly rubbish container for holding things we don’t need or want any more for us?
I invite you to spend 24 hours in luscious, luxuriating gratitude for the simplest little things, those we easily forget.. all of them.
If you are anything like anyone I know who has done this simple task, you will end your day with warm tingling sensations of bliss coursing through your body.
Let this practise be the antidote to your discontent.
And hopefully you will do it long enough to watch it create new pathways in your brain, at which point seeing the good in everything and everyone will become your new default setting.
Oh and remember, ENJOY!