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Homework finished

In just a couple of days my ten year effort will be heading towards another stage. Filming on Tuesday will wrap around all the footage and experiences that have made this film possible. It has been something. I guess I would say that I never could have hung on so long without two ingredients. The first was a totally obsessive compulsion to know and the second was all the amazing people who have carried me through. In the end, the magic of having my children participate in editing, animation and creativity and me knowing what I learned and might have taught them too. It was simple in the end, it was one thing, it was knowing we are all connected and absolutely anything you do has an impact. It was a learning about lots of other cultures and the thinking behind beautiful buildings that taught me about these connections, called sacred geometry in architecture.So now, I am off. maybe this will resonate and maybe not but I will tell you one thing, it was worth it, succeed out there or not. It was worth it to see it through, to sacrifice and to find in the end that the work had it's own life, beyond me, beyond my control.

And so it goes, the largest creative project of my life and it's not about me, it's about us and our interdependence. Like birthing a baby, this one has ideas of her own, now to let it rip!

 

 
Thomas Moore and Home

In the 90's, Thomas Moore wrote a book that changed my life called, "The Care of the Soul". I had had no idea that the soul was different than the spirit and no way of knowing Tom would become a guide and mentor for me. It was a long time ago and as I kept researching this idea of soul, and many of Tom's words resonated around this idea of Home. So much so he is featured in my film called, "It's About Home."

Tom's story is unusual as he was raised as a monk. Highly religious, he was very young before he really questioned religion but as he did, he studied the Greeks and the Romans and focused on Marcilio Facinio's work from the renaissance about the soul.

So what is the difference you may ask. It appears the soul is about ordinary life. Our physical life and all the things that support life and wellness are part of the soul. The other parts that are important are the need for beauty and magic. These are soulful qualities. According to Tom, the soul needs home more than anything else. This is where our paths meet and our thoughts merge.

Tom has made me understand the spirit aspect of life but as I studied architecture and sacred geometry I realized the soul and spirit always connect, always are interactive and my images in the film show this. Socrates had taught these connections too and in the film, the aspects of heresy are shown. Why were these images of connection so powerful and why had they often been oppressed? The answers and Tom's ideas are in the film. Keep watching and come see the work in progress A screening at Urban Re Think, Orlando, Florida, Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 7 pm.thumbnail

 
A living Home

Years ago I began asking myself a question. The question seemed simple enough, it was, "What is home?". If I had known it would take me literally years of research to answer this question I still would have asked it!

Home was so much more than a building. Home was a feeling place, a living thing full of memory, beauty, anger, health and ambition. Home was a manifestation of so much of our time and effort. Home was important. Home is important and my job has become to understand the relationship between our home and our health in mind, body and spirit, all part of this home experience.

In my own lifetime I have had numerous homes. Each time, my home either helped the quality of my life or took away from it. Each time, I either wanted to stay or wanted to go and with this experience some things became clear to me. Home was always a feeling place that needed tending, not unlike a garden. Seasonal events and natural changes made it alive and if I payed attention to all this, my homes radiated wellness and happiness. I loved the seasonal flowers and decorations that I made from local things, full of fragrance and color . These things always reminded me of where I was and how nature changed. I never enjoyed plastic flowers or arrangements from other locations as they had no connection to my home at all. There was always enough locally to make my home feel alive in the season it was in. Hence, I began to realize purchasing things from away that had no relationship to my environment did not make my home feel right.

 
Making Home Fabulous during a Recession

As my friend and author Thomas Moore says,"Home may be the most important thing we do for the soul". I agree.

Home making, designing and building and maintaining has been my lifetime job personally and professionally and I can tell you that the things that make a house a home are never affected by a recession, never.

The reason for this is that the magic of home is about all the feelings, smells, colors, baths, laughter, tears and extreme joy and sadness it is never about fancy things, huge ornate buildings, expensive furniture or big parties although we all love them sometimes. Home is much bigger than this and so much more affordable.

Let's think on it. When I am happy, I am usually at home, with my family, friends or in peaceful solitude. Usually, my bills are paid but not all the time and I like it a lot when the place is clean and smells like Meyers soap, an organic gentle smell that doesn't rip out my nostrils. I love the smell of something cooking that made everything feel right and often a hot cup of tea will top off a great time.

Home is also fabulous when I enjoy music and look outside to see the seasons. I like to enjoy the colors of the fabrics in my room against the sky and often feel so lucky to be in the moment. Sometimes I feel like walking outside to look at my trees and plants and feel the season and think about my next project or plant and the touch of color it brings indoors when planted.

Home is the place where I regain my strength and reconnect with my family. It is where my pets unconditionally love me and look into my eyes reminding me that life is short and one day I will find a spot in my yard for them, under a tree where the sun shines at sunset.

I love water in the sink and on my back. Soap and oil and clean towels in the morning can change my day. Laundry in the machine and sun dried sheets is almost bliss itself.

Bliss is a word I think of when I am awaking and my husband's arms wrap around me and he tells me this is the best moment of his life. I am reminded again how short life is and hold this in my mind, sometimes for days.

This place where I live is small, old, charming and always in need of repair. Part of our lives follow the needs of this old place as termites or paint fall off the clapboards. Endless repairs that remind me that we are aging here, our home and all of us. As memories fill the walls, children mature and babies come, a bittersweet life blossoms into harmonic patterns of perfection. Perfect in all the unknown, all the changing and beginning in the process of life ,death and rebirth.

Home, simple, humble, rich, full, connected fills my life in it's simplicity as the place where my intimacies are.

When I look around at all the stuff we have we don't need, I am grateful that times like these make home all the sweeter. When things are so much less affordable and the home regains it real intention. Home is where the heart is, where we feel safe and where our memories are made. No where is it mentioned that a bigger, fancier home will make you happier. For me I know for real, they don't.

 

 
It's all about Proportion

I have been thinking alot about this in many ways. Proportion seems to rule our lives in how much and how often . In our buildings, this word is a critical one to understand.

In architectural design, proportion is a word that inspires some regulating harmonic pattern that will create beauty, hopefully. The use of proportion is much, much more than that and is virtually missed by the design built world altogether. The practical yet ancient view of design has been gone for many years now and we are paying the consequences with poor quality , huge, energy hog homes built in places that should be left for our future water and energy needs. Oh well.

Proportion beyond the beauty principle is as important to our harmonic relationship to life as the aesthetic. For example, I have lived in huge homes in the past that required extensive amounts of my energy and resources. Often exhausted by the caring for these, I have had little time left for my more important needs of relationships and health. A very large price paid indeed. I also found that having a home that was much bigger than other people's lead to a false impression of who I was. I was actually struggling and feeling out of balance most of the time. These homes proportional use of my time and resources was something I had not considered .

A few years ago, I moved into a small Sears Bungalow in an historic area and this little place has only 1.400 sq. ft. Some magic has happened here that I would like to share.

The house was built with lots of wood, a material that has great spiritual quality. The wooden floors and heavy moldings make me feel safe. The rooms are very small but the proportion of ceiling height has made them feel much more comfortable, small rooms with high ceilings. For some reason, unknown to most, the land planning was done in this city to allow for N-S orientations and my little bungalow sits with all my rooms opening to the shadow and the light at the right times of day. The proportion of light emanating into the rooms has a beneficial affect because of this. I feel balanced and energized when I am there. That naturally disappears when the cat wakes us up at night demanding we turn on the water in the bath tub.

I feel comfortable with the proportion of materials and products we use to care for and repair this home. Although it is still expensive, by comparison, it is manageable. I am not aware most people look at the long term expense of maintenance and the building depreciates. Unfortunately, as we age and money thins, our homes require more and this expense is often not considered in planning.

Proportion in design and building must be understood to consider time, energy and natural resourse because when we do this, our quality of life will be changed either for better or worse.

I suggest proportion of size and the quality of products and construction are of first importance. The second proportion to consider is our relationship to our land use in design and site orientation as well as future resource conservation.

I imagine proportion may offer greater solutions to the way we are building that will create harmony inside our buildings as well as outside  of them.

Seek beauty in proportion but let it also provide more solutions in our building choices.

 
Our homes and the connection to nature
Just testing twitter integration with my blog - stay tuned for more updates!
 
Suburban Sprawl has no Sacred Core
Suburban areas lack the critical sustainable quality that older urban areas have because the original concept was flawed. Development based on inexpensive land cost, car use and a mystical concept of land ownership are not and have never been acceptable in design.
What is the core of a community? Some research into the past might imply some valuable information.
Humanity has always had a sacred core. This core was built on the most energetic land that had natural resources to sustain the population. These resources were also seen as sacred.
Urban sprawl has no core. The strip malls and huge marts have made one wonder where the core is. Even in our early towns , churches, banks, libraries, groceries, clothing stores and hardware's shared a main street. In these towns, as in ancient sacred cores, death was a part of culture and medicine was done with great care and gentleness.
Soclal decay is at the root of our building dilemma. Our building philosophies do not support the real care of the soul but support the profits of many.
Unfortunately, we are suffering from a common philosophy that understands the real needs of the population so we build unsustainable homes, unsustainable on so many levels.
Solution?
This problem requires a better understanding of what makes a community, protects our resources and creates economic balance.
It is unacceptable to continue to build as we have in the past.
Build smaller, better, and in existing infrastructures, when you can.
As for urban sprawl,
double density, identify resources and protect them, advocate public transportation, create a  real core by adding the sacred in public activity buildings and design. eliminate strip centers ,and  reinvest in local business
Reinvest, restore ,remodel and recreate.
 
Is it us or me? The question of human survival

A linkedIn blog about design and building.....

I think the intense responses make it clear how many people are interested in this on so many levels. That is a good thing.
One thing we can agree on is the mother nature is fine and it is our health and survival that is the issue here.
If this is the case, it seems to me that there have always been two kinds of ways we act as humans. One way is to act as humanitarians, the other is to conquer based on many economic reasons. All of humanity has done this forever.
The problem facing us has now met an impasse. Our earth, the population and the available resources are colliding for the first time and it matters because we might not make it and if we do it may not be for the best. Certainly, the argument about our grandchildren has become very provocative.
This is one planet. We all share it. If you think we are exempt, think about the spread of the Aids epidemic and how it has spread throughout the world. Think of the pending human trauma in other countries as they try to feed and house their families and there will be no water. The pictures of these impoverished people we see today will be in the millions, actually, billions and soon. Imagine the risk to us all in disease and uncontrollable , unmanageable resource management.
Planned Parenthood has failed and religion continues to tell women to not use birth control and this happens mostly in poor countries.
Humanity has one option, only one, create a new Enlightenment, we have before. Focus on each other and health. Prioritize , before all politics and religions making health for mankind the only priority, physically, soulfully and spiritually. Let the individuals honor be the first order of business beginning with each other, today and from now on.
Redesign design making homes high quality, energy efficient, and healthy in executing and production. Look to serve, as the greatest people have and push social consciousness towards our shared humanity.
Keep talking....

 
American Cities are Unhealthy

American cities have lost the essential elements of health in design, energy use, land planning and future population absorption. The training of architects today is very much like the training of physicians, many specialists and no comprehensive philosophies that guarantee all aspects of human health is included in a diagnosis. Essentially, the training of the architect historically resembled more of the training of the engineer today and this was not as complete as was done historically.
As a student of Vitruvius, 27AD, the building process was considered a part of human health and our buildings and cities today lack this fundamental consideration. Historically, cities and early communities shared the same qualities and design elements. These were, location to water and potability, high ground, patterns that related to the constellations which assured measure of time and agricultural planting, height of buildings never exceeding 7 stories to allow for air and light, a sacred core, transportation, upwind of bad air, local materials and products. Naturally, all these also assure sustainability and the deeper soulfulness we crave. Our cities and the ones around the world are hastily being designed with the new "Green" band aid methodology. Unfortunately, these pieces address an underlying problem in the essential elements of human health with basic existing design and construction approaches being profit driven. Enclosed buildings, unhealthy air, excessive glass, lack of  "clean" products , greenways and harmonic patterns in road and infrastructure will continue to assure stress and ill health unless this model is challenged and we adopt a dramatically new model, more like the ones from the past.
The drawings from the past all share the sacred geometries that assure human health. We have no patterns today nor do we have any philosophy that is challenging our mechanistic architecture.
I challenge the way we have taught our architects, their thinking and methodology and know how individuals crave other solutions.
For your information, 44% of personal income is spent on home. 55% of our environmental resources are spent on home. My clients and research confirm that 85% of home purchases are made by women and another 85% of purchases at Home Depot are made by women. This represents over 2 trillion in annual expenditures.
As we will be seeing the population double in foreseeable future , the US has not grasped the need to downsize, the need to spare the aquifers from urban sprawl nor the need to provide soulful , healthy homes to individuals. We are so far off track it feels as though with out bold changes in this industry, our building solutions will not begin to address the future and human health and survival will be compromised.
The reason I believe in my work is because of my professional experience dealing with clients over a 25 year period.The public is stressed, the solutions we are providing are not based on a new approach but on the same soulless, mechanistic approach from the last 100 years. I believe our answers can be found in the spectacular building models form the past that not only remain our most beautiful but also show us how to consider human health and the health of the environment as interdependent.
If this note, has in any way challenged or interested you I have many more ideas to share.
I have a distributor  and am looking for a strong team to complete this important work. I was told many times why I could not design and build homes but I continued. Producing a film feels very much the same way.
I have a complete marketing study, 95% of all footage, 60% animations and a companion book. I believe I have uncovered a nerve in the market because of the huge response I have received.
 
American Cites are unhealthy

American cities have lost the essential elements of health in design, energy use, land planning and future population absorption. The training of architects today is very much like the training of physicians, many specialists and no comprehensive philosophies that guarantee all aspects of human health is included in a diagnosis. Essentially, the training of the architect historically resembled more of the training of the engineer today and this was not as complete as was done historically.

As a student of Vitruvius, 27AD, the building process was considered a part of human health and our buildings and cities today lack this fundamental consideration. Historically, cities and early communities shared the same qualities and design elements. These were, location to water and potability, high ground, patterns that related to the constellations which assured measure of time and agricultural planting, height of buildings never exceeding 7 stories to allow for air and light, a sacred core, transportation, upwind of bad air, local materials and products. Naturally, all these also assure sustainability and the deeper soulfulness we crave. Our cities and the ones around the world are hastily being designed with the new "Green" band aid methodology. Unfortunately, these pieces address an underlying problem in the essential elements of human health with basic existing design and construction approaches being profit driven. Enclosed buildings, unhealthy air, excessive glass, lack of  "clean" products , greenways and harmonic patterns in road and infrastructure will continue to assure stress and ill health unless this model is challenged and we adopt a dramatically new model, more like the ones from the past.

The drawings from the past all share the sacred geometries that assure human health. We have no patterns today nor do we have any philosophy that is challenging our mechanistic architecture. I challenge the way we have taught our architects, their thinking and methodology and know how individuals crave other solutions.

For your information, 44% of personal income is spent on home. 55% of our environmental resources are spent on home. My clients and research confirm that 85% of home purchases are made by women and another 85% of purchases at Home Depot are made by women. This represents over 2 trillion in annual expenditures.

As we will be seeing the population double in foreseeable future , the US has not grasped the need to downsize, the need to spare the aquifers from urban sprawl nor the need to provide soulful , healthy homes to individuals. We are so far off track it feels as though with out bold changes in this industry, our building solutions will not begin to address the future and human health and survival will be compromised.

The reason I believe in my work is because of my professional experience dealing with clients over a 25 year period.The public is stressed, the solutions we are providing are not based on a new approach but on the same soulless, mechanistic approach from the last 100 years. I believe our answers can be found in the spectacular building models form the past that not only remain our most beautiful but also show us how to consider human health and the health of the environment as interdependent.

If this note, has in any way challenged or interested you I have many more ideas to share. I have a distributor  and am looking for a strong team to complete this important work. I was told many times why I could not design and build homes but I continued. Producing a film feels very much the same way. I have a complete marketing study, 95% of all footage, 60% animations and a companion book. I believe I have uncovered a nerve in the market because of the huge response I have received.

 
Six Words

Nature's Patterns challenge the creation theory.

One is all inclusive, complete , perfect

My home, my peace, my balance

Her home, harmonic, balanced,beautiful earth

Ancient mysteries explained through sacred geometries

How do you use six words to say what has taken a lifetime to understand? Once, I began to question everything changed. The question was simple to begin with. It was" How did we get where we are?" What it meant was, how did we loose our landscape, our regional designs, our quality buildings? Where had our communities gone, our families? How had the culure gotten so far away from close family and community ties? Home, our most sacred place had changed so much over the years and between divorce and corporate moves,mortgage expense, poor design and land use, drugs, alcohol ,internet porn, our very core, our personal sacred space had been violated.

Home, where we regain our sense of belonging has changed. So, this work, these six words is big . It questions what happened and where we go. It has looked into multiple cultures over vast periods of time to try to rediscover how to redesign design and this is what I learned.

Design from the inside out, from the person to the building , building to community , community to earth and back again. See these as interdependent, connected and One.What I learned is that this One cannot abuse the earth or each other, knowing the deep connection of life itself.As so many buildings, their architecture and building quality relied on this concept. This interdependence between human health and survival and the impact of the building on the earth. These connections impact all aspects of human health, in body,mind and spirit.

 

 
Pregnant priests?
Unfortunately, there are religious groups that deny a woman the right to birth control. Ideologies that encourage population to fill their own pockets with cash has been in existence for a very long time. The prejudice towards women, children and human life should be challenged. Unfortunately, these religious groups have very few free thinking people in their power bases.
There is nothing to prevent the population from exploding, that window has closed. Mother nature will deal with this with famine, disease and environmental pollution to say nothing of the human suffering .
Our job is to deal with acknowledging these problems and to begin to adjust our thinking towards a balanced outcome.
We must agree that we share this planet and find forums to have our professional expertise begin to comprehend the magnitude of this problem. We can solve so many problems if we are realistic about this calamity of population, pollution and diminishing resources . It is not what we know, but how we think that will make the difference.
 
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