Monday, December 22, 2014

Sacred Space: Sparking Matter to Life

Sacred space shimmers in the places where consciousness caresses matter. In the savored overlap of awareness and physical form, both we and the world come alive. The separation that inflicts the false wound of I as separate from the surroundings rediscovers its (w)holiness as unified energy-matter. In this overlap, stones can breathe. Our elusive inner stream of thoughts and emotions can be felt as tangible patterns and shapes. The awakening spark of consciousness and the world igniting one another can happen anywhere, in the cathedral and the check out line, through a stained glass window and a path through a silent wood. The portal is the here/now. It is entered where the rays of our consciousness meet the places where we dwell. Here, sacred space sparks to life.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Architecture of Light-Shadow

Architecture comes alive in light. Morning rays awaken roofs and walls. They flow through windows, stirring interior spaces to life. Glowing surfaces reveal the shapes and spaces of every detail from countertops to cornices. Each design choice selects an inflection of light. Every choice of light is a choice of shadow. Without shadow, light cannot be perceived. Gradations of light and shadow reveal a dome's arc, the zig-zag rise of a staircase and the billows of a down comforter. The term light-shadow, or shadow-light, more accurately describes the experience of illumination.

Moving through the day, the radiance of light-shadow provides ever-shifting wonder. Wherever I am, I can savor the magical nuances of shadow-light as it dances across the surfaces of the world. At the darkest times, I can dwell in the light.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Architecture of Tangible Support

Architecture is support embodied. Floors, chairs and tables provide stable settings to uphold the details of our lives. They offer their support equally to all. It doesn't matter if you're having a great day or a crappy one, if you're a saint or a sinner, a park bench provides you with a place to rest, talk with a friend, read a book or enjoy the scenery. Look around and you will see architecture's support everywhere—the stair treads that lift you from one floor to another, the road that winds over the mountain, the bridge that carries you across a river, the cooktop that supports your simmering soup, the bed that receives your rest. Behind each of these objects are the supportive intentions and actions of those who created them. So, when you're looking for a little support, you can find it right under your feet or close at hand in architecture.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hidden Energy

When most people look at Antonio Gaudi's architecture they see undulating structures. I see energy. To me, the fluid shapes of his walls and windows, columns and railings reveal the forces animating the forms. As I photographed the roof ridge in the photo, I sensed it writhing like the spine of an immense dragon. When I visited other Gaudi sites, I found the dragon there too, rippling through the designs. Encountering the old master's work in this way transformed the way I see architecture. Instead of static masses, "frozen music" as Goethe put it, I see vessels that coax energy from the earth and sky and guide it into flowing streams of shelter and support. Buildings don't have to look like Gaudi's to transmit life-giving energy. Any outer style can come alive when designed with heart. Life can be breathed into any bit of matter to become a living being that inspires those who dwell within it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I love the ways architecture evokes wonder. A vision stirs the soul. Mind plans how to translate that vision into tangible form. Body locates the land and gathers the materials. Piece by piece the vision is constructed. Then WOW, weighty matter rises and swoops through space. The gravity of doubt and fear falls away and our imaginations soar. Beauty floods our senses and we experience what is possible when we open to wonder.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The First Supper

After 8 days of a cleansing fast and a day of diluted orange juice, I prepare vegetable broth for my first meal. The green liquid in a red bowl offers the colors of a summertime Christmas. Raising the bowl to my lips, every cell in my body seems to surge forth to devour the gift of flowing nourishment. One sip fills me with flavor and gratitude. This primal act is holy without reasons or definitions, without gods or sages. It is Life consuming itself to continue. It is my body opening to receive the offerings of the earth from
which it came.

How many countless bites of food and sips of liquid have I taken, not really aware of this miracle? In how many immeasurable ways does life nourish me moment by moment as I fret about how I will survive and worry about whether I am loved? Those unconscious moments and groundless fears seem laughable during this sacred First Supper.

During the 8 day fast, my mind and body became wonderfully still and clear. The world became vividly vibrant and beautiful. The whirlwind of activity and striving outside my door seemed more mysterious than ever. All the hurry and hustle looked like it was preparing for a feast that already existed. We only needed to stop, see it and drink it in.

You and I have heard this all before. Yet, in the sweep of living we forget, again and again. I'm thankful I had the time and means to step back for a while and let my mind and body rest in stillness. Hopefully, the experience sunk deeper into my bones than before and I will delight more fully in each morsel of food and each gulp of liquid. Enjoy you next meal. Bon Apetit!