Chapter 1: What Is Your Ultimate Goal In Life
Who am I if not myself?
For a very long time, all across the west we have approached home design as a collection of separate features to serve us, the individual. Making sure that our homestead fills that “thing”. That little chunk, missing within ourselves. Ocean views, wide screen TV, natural finishes, gardens, large functional kitchens, a vintage margarita machine perhaps?
However, I put to you that it has only helped us contribute efficiently to the big ol’ separation. Separation from humanity and separation from ourselves. We build roofs to shed water away from ourselves, obsolete sewerage systems and homes which are designed with little to none of our true, individual and collective purposes in life.
The old saying ‘home is where the heart is’ could not be closer to the truth, if it tried. Think about it. Home is the sanctuary, the cave, the place where you feel safe in recharging your soul, processing all of life’s challenges and opportunities. Home is a tool for your prosperity.
It is where one ‘lives’. Think to yourself, where do you live? As in, where do you feel most alive? It could be at your house… But then again, it could be when you are walking to work, the cold breeze whisking past your bare face while you ponder your wildest dreams and fantasies. Perhaps you feel most alive when you are going for a swim, running naked through the woods, playing video games on your computer, scavenging for second hand building materials, making love, riding horses, drinking with your friends. To be alive (home) can mean so much more than a building that people sleep in.
This is very important when it comes to design. To design a house, or a home, is to essentially design a state of being. A tool for one’s prosperity. Everything is so perfect in its diversity that when you look at standardisation in design, words like ‘obsolete’ and ‘unfortunate’ begin to dance around in your mind like a drunk mayor, trying to find his way home.
Have you met someone who talks about and discusses their dream of leaving the busy city life for an off-grid, natural lifestyle? You can see the glimmer in their eye and the romance in their voice as they paint the perfect picture of their desires. It usually includes things like a ‘solar powered home’ or chickens in the yard and a vegetable patch.
‘The Living Home’ design concept explores the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of those desires. The concept is more of a process or an evolution of design. It is arranged as a series of questions and statements for the adventurer to explore and make sense of themselves. It covers areas of self purpose, environment, culture, society, creativity, community, dogma, practicalities, evolution and death. You can begin at any stage of the process, as long as you follow it through to the end and make at least three revolutions of the entire process.
The reasoning behind this is that our learning in life never seizes. Life is full of evaluations and re-evaluations. This usually leads to achievements and miscalculations. Both of which, lead to further learning. Knowing this, it starts to become clear that there is no start and no finish. Just a constant stream of learning and ‘doing’. This way of conducting your reality makes ‘failure’ an obsolete concept because there is only space for growth through your own self-acceptance and self-critique. Allowing yourself to make mistakes so you can evolve.
People process things and grasp concepts differently. That is why it is not important to start at the beginning of the design sequence. In life, there are no beginnings and ends, only a continuous stream of events and many revolutions of life cycles. You will gravitate towards whichever part of the concept appeals to your desire the most. This will help in keeping you interested as well as keeping you on track to approach sections of the concept that appear silly or unnecessary at first glance. Some of the sections may seem confronting and off topic. Remember, to design a home for yourself you must learn who it is that you actually are.
Let’s kick in to it then!
The order of the journey begins with self purpose and slowly makes its way down to practicalities and technique. In this article, I will only briefly discuss each section. Mainly because they are each very in depth and would require more writing space than a single article on a website. Also, by planting the seed I hope for you to take this away and explore it yourself. Life itself is life’s greatest teacher.
This question is a literal as it sounds. A little more literal than you may think. When I ask my students this question, usually they answer with something along the lines of “a house in the hills where I can do my art” or “To travel overseas and help build homes in war torn countries” or “Start a community with a group of like minded people”. To this I usually ask “why?”
What is it about our main purpose in life that makes us gravitate towards these things? Is it the dissatisfaction we have with our current life circumstances? Perhaps its a longing we have for change? Is it our fantasies, taking us on adventures that we have never journeyed on? Promising us that all can be wonderful in life and that there has to be more to this thing. It couldnt be all about waking up in a box, to travel in a box, to work in a box and then to finally be buried in a box!
Why? I ask you to ask yourself that question. Find yourself somewhere peaceful. Somewhere where you can comfortably be yourself and ponder things without interruption or distraction. Turn your phone off. I would like you to narrow what you want out of life down to one word.
Forget about houses and homes for a moment. Forget about missions and anything else that is tangible. What is it within your heart that you long for? What is that core foundation that will bring you ‘the dream’? It is important to transcend fear and reaction based desire. Reaction based desire is a desire that comes as a result of consequence. You could be working a job you hate, be in a passionless swamp of a relationship or you could be literally owned by a mortgage. Dont let these things interrupt your search for this word. Focus on what makes you feel whole and what you want to contribute to the world. You know the one. That moment when everything makes sense, when you dont need to ask questions, when you can just ‘be’. Once you think of those moments, again ask yourself, why?
Continue this process until you get down to one word, one feeling, one purpose. That one word is going to be the basis and foundation of this entire design process.
Dont be to hard on yourself. This word can change in time, as well as other aspects of the design process. That is why it is important to do at least three entire revolutions of the design. Each time you go round, the end goal will become more tangible until the stage that you have that lightbulb moment when you feel like you have arrived. After that time, it will still be beneficial to do the process again, whenever you feel like you need to check in with yourself to reaffirm and clarify things.