Saturday, August 28, 2010


Many times I have encouraged others to do what I try to do – reject consumerism and celebrate a more traditional and enduring way of life. Our society is all about mindless materialism, and it’s not easy to combat that toxic influence in our homes and our workspaces. We are constantly told, through the mass media, that real success for modern people involves having big homes, fancy cars, expensive restaurants, exciting night-life, and exotic vacations. (Wait, just a minute... that formula for success doesn't include at least 95% of us! What about the rest of us?)

We need tools to overcome the forces that urge us to define ourselves through consumer activity. We need ways to define our own values and get the strength to pursue our own personal causes. My search for strength-building tools led me to read about color therapy. I found out something that I already felt deeply - that colors have a symbolic or subconscious meaning, and that we can change our lives by surrounding ourselves with certain colors. It also worth noting that color therapy is totally in line with feng shui principles.

Recently, I wrote a blog about how I edited my wardrobe to include only black, blue, and white items. My wardrobe-editing venture allowed me to limit the total number of pieces in my closet and drawers to 40 items. When I chose clothes in these colors, I had 3 objectives: 1) practicality (I already owned a lot of clothes in these colors), 2) versatility (shades that were “primary” colors - weren’t tones of the same colors and were harmonious together), and 3) “felt right” - when I’m wearing these colors I tend to feel confident and at ease. After successfully reducing my wardrobe to three colors, I considered limiting the colors that appear in my home.

My research into color therapy reinforced some of my ideas. I discovered that a focus on blue-and-white is a very positive influence in my life. And, it's actually helpful to me in redefining my personal goals. When I see blue-and-white around me in my personal space, I feel harmony and confidence. My home and I are complete and because of this, I have no need to accumulate a lot of gadgets and toys. The repetition of blue-and-white makes my home truly my sanctuary – where I find meaningful work, meditation and simple pleasures.

You might ask: Why blue and white? Why not blue-and-green or red-and-white or some other combination? My research in color therapy has shown that the combination of blue and white is a very special one that represents simplicity, sensibility, and aesthetics.

Our pro-high-tech, consumerist society is plagued with industrial chrome, plastic grays and glossy black, colors which reinforce human-inspired activity and complexity. Bright chrome, plastic grays and glossy black are not found in nature. To achieve harmony and simplicity of spirit, we need to rediscover the colors of our natural world. The combination of blue and white can help us rediscover our true roots in nature. The blue signifies blue sky and the sea and symbolizes fidelity (as in true blue) and serenity. White is the color of clouds, stars, and candle light and stands for purity, new beginnings, and unity. When combined, blue-and-white creates a sense of completeness and aesthetic harmony.

Personally, I have always been drawn to traditional Japanese home decoration and applaud their simple and dignified homes. The combination of blue-and-white is a part of Japan’s sense of beauty and, over the centuries, has been a great inspiration for Japanese crafts, arts, and house decoration. But, of course, the Japanese aren’t the only people to emphasize blue and white, and the folk art of many countries has a blue-and-white tradition.

I want my home to celebrate the blue-and-white tradition. I want the bulk of the things I acquire, make, and display in my home to include these colors. I’m aware that this process will take a long time. I can’t just throw out or give away a lot of things in my home just because they aren’t white or blue. What I’ve done up to now is add some blue-and-white things to my home – for example, a bedspread, some sheets, a tablecloth, napkins, dishes, and small accessories. The change to blue-and-white will be somewhat slow - a few things now and some later – as, over time, I choose what I buy and make for my home. (As you might imagine, I'm also emphasizing natural materials - wood, stone, cotton, linen, ceramics, and etc.- in my home.)

Try out the power of blue-and-white in your home decoration and see if it doesn’t help you to have a more complete and harmonious home. Choosing these colors should also help you find the strength to follow your causes, including, hopefully, the rejection of consumerism. (It goes without saying that you mustn’t let your color choice be a reason to do more mindless shopping!) Obviously, domestic peace and harmony depends on a little more than house decoration. You must also simplify, de-clutter and clean your home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The blue and white theme, I believe, is genetic. My kitchen is blue and white. So is my porch. I did paint all the outside furniture black, and this year, shared my blue and white flower pots with my grand daughter, who is also a blue and white person. (First apartment). Both of my daughters have blue and white kitchens and patios that spill to the outside with these colors.
My porch has become a play pen again. I have new, very young grandchildren. There will be another year for pots of flowers and tea cups when I don't have small people who eat them.