Sunday, September 21, 2008

wide, open spaces ...

I'm fascinated by the way each of us is so different in the kinds of things that we drawn to or that we respond to. For example, I was talking with a co-worker recently and mentioned that I didn't feel comfortable in Portland, Oregon. I used to travel there on business and found the trees and mountains lush and green and beautiful - but also heavy and oppressive. I felt closed in. I longed for the openness of the expansive horizon at home, of the sun setting over the Pacific. I feel most at peace and most connected to the Divine within when I can see far into the distance, across wide sky and wide open water. It makes me want to spread my arms wide and open my heart chakra. I feel expansive, like I can take a long, deep breath, filling my lungs with fresh air and a feeling of light and freedom.

Busyness - like a forest of trees - and visual "noise" have always made me uncomfortable. I've always tried to be very present to my experiences - the breeze's caress, the warmth of sun, the scent of rain - and perhaps this has increased my sensory sensitivity. I seem to reach a point of sensory overload more quickly than most folks for some reason. I figure it's just the way I'm wired. I'm aware of this, but not much bothered by it any more. It's part of who I am here.

This sensitivity spans a gamut of things. I prefer small gatherings of a few friends instead of a large, raucous party, music blaring, people everywhere. I love to talk and laugh and share jokes in the comfort of an intimate group of people.

I am utterly, cat-purringly content being home with just the sound of the water running in the fountain outside my window, down in the courtyard, as it is right now.

I have no desire to visit New York City. A lot of visual noise of tall buildings blocking the light. I imagine a lot of audible noise as well. Too busy. Too much sensory input.

I can't see the hidden picture in "Magic Eye" stereograms. Everyone else seems to be able to see the picture but me. All I see in them is a lot of busyness. I just can't filter out the visual noise in order to see the hidden picture.

This need for simple sensory experiences extends to my wardrobe, too; mostly
solids with a few patterns in a couple of skirts.

Many bloggers make photo collages. I find it very difficult to see the images in the photo collages. (Maybe this is like the "Magic Eye" thing?)
I think all of this has something to do with the way my mind processes the things my eyes see.

This need for quiet and calm extends to living spaces, too. Most people would look at the bedroom photo at left and just love the layers of extended wall, shelf, tufted headboard. I find it waaaay too busy for me. Disturbingly noisy. The shelf has too many disparate, unconnected items on it. The mirror, too much ornamentation, particularly when paired in the room with the sleekness of the white bench. Busy baroque clashes with clean-lined modern. It all feels too heavy behind the bed and too puny and underwhelming everywhere else. It lacks balance for me. Like I said, this is just the way my mind processes the input. I know a bunch of people totally love that bedroom.

When I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago, I removed two walls that separated the kitchen space from the living space. Now, I have an open downstairs with no interior walls (except the powder room and closet), completely open and uninterrupted from the front window to the back courtyard. I just love it like this! There's room to dance, to open my arms and spin, to throw down a yoga mat and do a few sun salutations. The breeze dances from the front to the back, tinkling the capiz shell chandelier as it moves through, creating music in my wide, open space.

Heavy and noisy, busy and fussy just don't resonate with me. I need space, I need openness. Wide, open spaces ... quiet and calm ... simple things ... less and less ... a lightness of being and less sensory noise. It's just the way I'm wired.


ADDENDUM 9/23/08

As I said at the beginning of this post, I'm fascinated by the way each of us is so different in the kinds of things that we drawn to or that we respond to, and all your responses are just wonderful to read. A friend e-mailed me that she is much more comfy in a sunlight-dappled forest; the open sea would intimidate her. If I was in a sunlight-dappled forest, I'd be looking for the nearest widest opening of sunshine - LOL! One of my most memorable experiences of my life is one morning on a cruise when I sat out on a side deck for breakfast all by myself gazing out at the vastness of the open ocean. I love the way we're each wired so differently! No matter your personal preferences - or your politics, since the election is nearing - our differences can be celebrated and enjoyed.

Namaste (The Divine in me recognizes and honors the Divine in you.)


paintergal said...

Interesting thoughts, Rose. When hubby and I visited Boston last year, I thoroughly enjoyed the city, while knowing that I would not want to live there.
I find it fascinating that America provides so much diversity, not only in culture but also in climate and landscape.

rebecca said...

Hi Rose,

I found you thru Prism's site. And I'm so glad I did!

What a wonderful, little, peaceful, calming place you have here. Your words spoke to me and I felt I had found a kindred spirit. I, too, find the picture of the bedroom way too busy for my taste and, honestly, would have a very hard time relaxing there. My sensory overload tends to come to me in terms of noise. I've always been this way since a child and prefer quiet, small gatherings over large get-togethers, I prefer a quiet house with soft classical music over the noise and chatter of a tv. Your piece reminded me of a piece I posted last year.

Oh, I will certainly return to be calmed and centered by more of your lovely words.


Connie said...

Thank you Rose. I always love hearing your thoughts on any subject. I have always like "clutter" around me! Since I am trying to declutter this house, I am feeling different as I "open" up the space. It is more calming. I have a lot of stuff to get rid of and I wonder why I thought I needed it the first place. Different passage of life for me - so different feeling are coming with it.

Daisy Cottage said...

Well I love the way you are "wired" - so loving, so spiritual, so kind, and so thoughtful. I love reading your thoughts on things and am so happy for you that you ARE true to your soul and surround yourself with what makes it whole. That's the most important thing. Be where you are meant to be and embrace it. Your words are comforting and soothing and always beautifully shared. Thank you Rose!


Amber said...

Rose, I think you're wired great!

But I do also think it's what a person is used to. Having lived in wide open spaces w/ big skies (Western US) for the last 15-odd years, I also find it strange when I'm in a forested area...I feel less in control not being able to see around the bend because of trees. But I know I could get used to them. I also think in some ways, the trees obscure things and make it LESS busy in some respects.

In the end, I need balance. Yin and yang. I can't do a minimalist space...they usually feel cold and devoid of personality. Conversely, too much "frou" and gilding the lily drives my senses insane. I need somewhere in the middle.

The ocean, the mountains, the desert...are all majestic and simple...yet there is tons of life to observe if I'm inclined. More and more I want simplicity with depth...whether in my surroundings or in my relationships. That's a good Middle Way for me.

Amber said...

PS Rose-- Both my parents and Mike's entire extended family live with a TV blaring just about 24/7. It drives both of us absolutely batty. You call his (very dear) mother and you hear The Price is Right blaring. She doesn't even hear it anymore.

I guess you just get sensitized/desensitized to any surroundings. I, like you, can't hang with that. When I'm not watching TV, it goes off. For example, this evening there was no TV on at all. Just quiet. Sometimes I play music. I don't want the kids growing up with the TV going all the time, during meals, etc.

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amber said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kat said...

Rose...Im rushing out the door to a dental appt. but I will be back!
Go pick up the award I have for you on my blog.

Kat said...

Its been a crazy busy hectic day here! I just sat down and knew Id feel better after a visit here.
You are perfectly wired! I happen to like the way you are wired.
Im not to crazy about that bedroom picture myself.
I like the woods,mountains and ocean...wheat fields not so much.

Anonymous said...


It seems that you and all your friends like the same things just in different doses.

You like full sun, open ocean, others prefer dappled sun and mountain streams. Same sun, same moving water.

Yes, "our differences can be celebrated and enjoyed"!

Celebrating the differences and sameness of YOU today.