My seven spatial archetypes provide a contemplative framework for looking at the world and getting to know your place within it.
A harbor offers sanctuary and quiet refuge.
Photo: Allan Mandell, from Home Outside p.47; Design: Julie Moir Messervy.
It’s 2010: a new year and a new decade and an opportunity to start fresh once more. Some of you have read Contemplative Gardens and The Inward Garden, in which I talk about my theory of “spatial archetypes”—the seven vantage points on the world. As I’ve developed them over the years, these landscape images are also physical, psychological, and spiritual homes for each one of us. I find that if I spend some time each day living in the mindset of each of these “habitats of home,” my life feels rich and well-rounded. Try it and let us know if it works for you as well!
Finding your sea in a koi pond.
Photo: Randy O’Rourke, from Home Outside p.46; Design: Maggie Judycki, GreenThemes, Inc.
1. Sea—Immerse yourself.
Arouse your senses. Surround yourself with music, flowers, atmosphere. Bask in the sunshine or sit in the quiet of a cathedral. Submerge yourself in water. Allow your conscious self to slumber.
2. Cave—Find your focus.
Find shelter in a form-fitting place with a window onto the world. Occupy a contemplative retreat with a framed view of the beyond. Make yourself a burrow, a hollow, a hut, a berth: home.
3. Harbor—Embrace someone. And be embraced.
Enjoy sanctuary in a pair of enclosing arms. Nestle into a port just off the open sea, a booth in a bar, a wingchair in a parlor. Erect boundaries–walls, fences, hedges: make a cloister, court or quad. Define your realm of refuge.
A promontory takes your experience to the edge.
Photo & Design: Victoria Lister Carley, from Home Outside p.47.
4. Promontory—Explore the edge.
Find a new frontier. Stand at the brink. Get to a balcony, overlook, or belvedere. Feel the rapture—and danger—of going beyond your comfort zone.
5. Island—Become the center.
Cut the cord. Float alone on the sea, backed up by all the earth, looking up to the stars above. Know yourself by finding time alone.
6. Mountain—Gain perspective.
Find wisdom at the very top. Occupy a high place: a cupola, tower, or treehouse. Protected yet free. Enjoy the journey upward while watching the miniature world below.
The sky welcomes you to expand your horizons.
Photo & Design: Myke Hodgins & Associates Landscape Architects, from Home Outside p.47.
7. Sky—Transcend the everyday.
Leave the landscape far below: Go for beyondness—Exercise your creativity, fall in love, get a runner’s high, become enlightened. Let your spirits soar. Find your bliss.