Contained Abundance

Posted December 13th, 2010 by Helen and filed in Uncategorized

Trish Kandik rents out a room in her Eugene, Oregon downtown bungalow to travelers coming through town.  I stayed in her home last weekend while visiting my daughter who goes to the University of Oregon.

Her home is small and modest.  The first thing I noticed though, when I walked in was a sense of spaciousness and calm.

Contained Abundance

It is completely lacking clutter. I found out later that Trish has a business helping people get rid of stuff and organize the environments they live in.  I was really drawn to this domestic space she’s created, and each day I would marvel at how I enjoyed being there and taking pleasure in the minimalist aesthetic.  It was not severe or deprived, just serene, and imbued with a spirit of intentional reduction.

My room was simple and tidy. A bed with a quilted cover, a bookcase with six books clustered in a corner, a closet holding four hangers, two towels and an extra blanket. Every object is in a place, where it seems it is supposed to be.

There was a house key, loaf of pumpkin bread and a bunch of bananas on the dining room table.  It might have been the dark, rainy November day, the multi-colored leaves scattering outside in the park across the street, but I thought this is contained abundance.

To focus and pay attention to keeping things simple takes a huge amount of care and discipline.  And to keep it up day after day.  Not letting the proliferation of stuff happen. I’m not sure if it requires an obsessive-compulsive personality to create this kind of atmosphere.  Perhaps the lessons of less can be learned and internalized.

My experience at Trish’s has me thinking about the Lunch Love Community Project – exploring how a ‘story’ or a ‘proposition’ can be conjured out of cascades of recorded material from the river of life and arranged into a five minute film that tries to imply much more than it shows. What is not there, or there between the edit points, is as important as what is there.

For me, the Lunch Love Community webisode will do well to have, upon clicking the Play button, an infused spirit like the one I found at Trish Kandik’s bungalow in Eugene. Small, contained and spacious, with a subtle power that only becomes apparent as you tune in and pay close attention.

Is this possible to create an oasis like this in our media-cluttered environments?

I am trying.

It really is like writing a poem where every word, and how it sits, and is linked to the next, is making the experience work.

I say this because it requires a fearless and confident relationship to language, design, and visual culture.  To be able to pick and choose, remove more than you add, and contain the abundance.

Lessons from less, so that people can see more.

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