“How we hold the simplest of our tasks speaks loudly about how we hold life itself,”
Gunilla Norris ‘Being Home: Discovering the Spiritual in the Everyday’.
Since life has become so much simpler these days in many ways, it is interesting to think about how we define ourselves in terms of our style. What is our personal style and how do we define it? I have been contemplating how I live my life and what is “essential” to me in this time. In this time of discovery, I have found that many of the tasks I thought were important have become much less so. And just like everything in our life, we can choose whether each situation is a blessing or a lesson. I’m choosing this time as a blessing and finding a silver lining to this staycation! Finding out what is most important to me, how I live, what I eat, who I am connected to and going deep within to find out the style in which I live my life is so very exciting to me right now!!
So how do we define style? Style can be used in many ways but according to Merriam Webster, “it is a distinctive manner of expression or custom of how we behave or conduct oneself.” Huh, what Merriam? That sounds a bit old fashion. I like this definition better, “Style is the way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed. Style can be applied to whatever we are doing.”
Unfortunately in today’s world style changes quickly. And it is not sustainable. There are many documentaries that show how our fast changing style world has caused so much needless waste. The clothing industry alone with it’s quick changing fashions is a good example. What we may have thought was our style a month ago based on this old way of thinking, may be quickly changing. I am not a designer who is interested in the fad of the day. I like to think in terms of timeless design. I like to think of Scandinavian style, because it is beautiful and durable and creates good that you can pass on to loved ones in the future. As Americans, the story has been based on a desire to have more as a definition of who we are. The American story goes like this, “some is good, but more is better”. Perhaps we have had enough of this old story can redefine who we are and refine our tastes through all of this. What if our style was based on the most long term beauty we can imagine?
During the quarantine, it has been fun to play with my personal style. I typically love to trade clothes every season and have missed the typical “naked lady” gathering party this spring. A naked lady party is where a group of women bring clothes to swap with each other. I typically empty half my closet and trade for “new to me” items. So now I have nothing new to wear. And I do not go shopping for new clothes, especially not now. Luckily at this time it has become so easy to get dressed because no one really cares. I have rarely left the house except to bring the kids to their dad’s or to the grocery stores so it has been a time of easy choice to wear PJ’s all day, yoga pants and comfort clothes 24/7. And the fun flip to that is wearing yoga pants with a lingerie top or mixing it up like never before. Finding new ways to combine what I have and rediscovering the pieces I love most. I love my daughter’s suggestion of putting on our favorite music and a spring dress and spinning around. But then I digress….
Perhaps now is the time to find and call out for our natural style. What really inspires you? What evokes the most joy in our heart? Are you inspired to raise your children with awareness of the natural world, plants, animals, survival skills and how to treat others with kindness? How do we share with them a style that is true to who they are and is also in harmony with our habitat. I have been enjoying getting the kids in the garden as part of our homeschooling as they will start to see the world from a different perspective. They are learning how we can put in the work to grow our own food. Homesteading style! I want to teach them that quality, handmade made goods are of high importance to live in harmony, as we are really living in a time that requires our thoughtful attention to make choices to change the path we’ve been on. Simplicity. Love of the materials. What resources were used in the process? Choosing to purchase carefully and watching where our dollars go. Feeling into the items we have, only keeping what’s truly loved. Sharing what we have. We can break the old cycle, the habit. More is not better. Less may be the answer. Even less style. Or our new style could be a reflection of what is inside us. What is really inside of us? And how would we express ourselves from this new sense of style?
This is the kind of style that the earth is calling for. Building our new style, by getting our hands in the dirt. Listening deeply within. Finding an expression that is authentic and connected. Style that can last the test of time because it is in balance. The new centered style.