The Design Dialogue Series: Energy

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e n e r g y

The Design Dialogue Series

   Okay, so I admit that I got really excited with my first post of the Design Dialogue and totally dove right in. For those of you that were right there along with me, can you blame me?! How could I not!! 

   The truth of the matter is that this idea is a culmination of what has been years of study, trial and experience. With a topic like this, I think it's important to lay the ground work for what I have learned, taken and mixed together to form this little theory of mine.

The first topic of discussion to kick off our dialogue is the one thing that everything in this big wide world is made of: Energy.

What is energy? Webster's dictionary (as always) defines it best: 

Pronunciation: en-r-j
Function: noun
1 : power or ability to be active : strength of body or mind to do things or to work
    <a teacher of great intellectual energy>
2 : natural power exerted with force : lively action
    <work with energy>
3 : the capacity (as of heat, light, or running water) for doing work
4 a : usable power (as heat or electricity) 
   b : a source of energy; especially : a resource (as oil) used to provide energy
        <develop a long-range plan for conserving energy>
(Synonym: see POWER)

   This conversation can get very philosophical if we continue to break down the science of energy, and maybe it should! Because energy is everything, and energy is powerful. And in a world so complex, something that we all have and share and are constantly giving and taking and using is something that should really be explored. It was Socrates that said that energy, or soul, is separate from matter, and that the universe is made of energy - pure energy, which was there before man or any other material thing like Earth came along. Everything living is made up of energy which is held in little atoms that are constantly and tirelessly at work for something. Quantum physics says that as you go deeper and deeper into the inner workings of the atom, you see that there is nothing there - no matter, just energy waves or vibrations. Those vibrations can be measured and their effects seen, but they are not a material object. They have no tangible substance, yet they are powerfully at play in everything we see, say, and do. As Osho so gracefully explains, "Consciousness asleep is matter, and consciousness awakened is consciousness. All is consciousness and all is energy."

   Each of us are made up of these atoms and are continuously giving off and absorbing light and energy all the time. Even when we are sleeping every cell of our body is at work, moving and aligning and transmitting electricity throughout the body and mind. Each cell has 1.4 volts of energy, which when you multiply that by the 50 trillion cells that make up you & your body, that gives you an idea of how truly powerful you are! The Chinese call this energy "chi," and there are traditional Chinese practices of measuring this energy outside of the body and using remedial modalities to balance and manipulate our energy for healing.

   Diving a bit deeper, each atom has it's own distinct frequency or vibration. Quantum physicists have realized that what they originally thought they were studying as "matter" is actually the energy created when two atomic waves meet - as they either meet in sync, creating a harmonious constructive effect, or out of sync, creating a destructive effect. Think about dropping two pebbles in water. Both pebbles create a ripple effect and eventually these ripples collide with one another and create an entirely new and different effect, usually a more amplified one.

   Cue Osho's wisdom that we are all connected through energy and are always meeting and entangling with one another's. Cue those "good vibes" and "bad vibes" you get from any person, place, or situation. It's important to be aware of when you are getting caught in destructive energy patterns or waves and when you are in sync with constructive energy waves. This all reinforces the idea that our energy is directly effected by the energy of our surroundings, and the coolest part of it all is that it is intuitive - we just know. We know when we feel nourished and we know when things feel toxic. In fact, all living things - people, plants, animals - know instinctively when something is good for them or not. The trick is educating ourselves enough to know what we need to do and how to create these rejuvenating, healing experiences for ourselves.

   The perceived issue here is that we have lost our connection to this innate ability to know what is good for us and what is not. Living in a modern day society where people live their lives based on all kinds of external factors and priorities, we have followed suit in living our lives the same way we see others - because, well, that's just what everyone else does. We nurse our phones, build rooms focused around a TV, and distract ourselves with technology; we live in homes with predetermined types of rooms filled with all kinds of functions and "comforts"; we go to work and sit at a desk for 40 hours a week in a stark environment with fluorescent lighting that lacks any sustenance, excitement or life. Or maybe we don't! Maybe we have connected with the idea of just using our phones to make a call, focusing our rooms around people and conversation, turning off the technology when it stunts our movement and growth. Maybe we have transformed our homes into an oasis, with healthy spaces for reflection, introspection, and contemplation. Maybe we have revealed the possibility of personalizing our work space and introducing elements that promote good posture, ample support, connection and balance. And in the end, created a life that enables us to truly live, and live well.

   Changing the modern day, redefining a new science of living, adopting new principles of designing and ultimately removing what no longer serves us to make space for what does - that is my (ambitious) aspiration for the Design Dialogue. In every arena - schools, homes, hospitals, work environments, etc. - you name it, there is work to be done. Our buildings and the designing of them can better serve us and invigorate us rather than leave us weak, confused, sickly, and disconnected. The design of our culture can shine through the design of our built environments and better connect us to each other, to ourselves, to our true nature and to our purpose.

   And yes, I realize I may sound like quite the dreamer, but I totally believe it is possible! There are people out there living their lives accustomed to these means and I want to know them and know more. Because I see the spaces we are designing today and the practices and materials employed, and while there has been great progress in certain areas, I think we can continue to push ourselves to do better.

   I yearn to design and build a world where people are more connected, nourished, and alive. I imagine a world where people are fulfilled, empowered, and living their best life. I dream of a dialogue that starts to unravel the crazy, pent up, disgruntled society of this modern day age, and I believe that it can happen one step at a time.

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If this dialogue peaked your interest or raised an eyebrow or two, join the conversation!! Send me an email or leave a comment and let me know! With the Design Dialogue I will continue to explore and expand on these topics, but for now I leave you with the wisdom of Osho:

"Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are and all will be revealed."

Until next time dreamers,


xoxo, Karlene