Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.
– David Hume
When you were a child, did you have a diary, or some sort of sketchbook in which you housed all your doodles? Or perhaps you scribbled random thoughts, haphazard comic book characters, or awkward stickmen and repeated patterns of shapes while you chatted on long phone calls with friends — or maybe that was just me. And what about playing with Lego, or making epic structures out of everyday objects, transforming your everyday space into an otherworldly fantasy land?
My childhood consisted, in part, of many days spent at my grandparents’ house with my younger sister and older cousins, playing with blocks, and creating complex shelters out of giant bed sheets. With its malleable foundation anchored firmly by books, while ceilings were buoyed by tall lamps, these gentle, handmade castles became indoor playgrounds in which we figuratively ran free; our radical ideas danced about wildly, our divergent thoughts were respectfully heard — if only by one another, within the soft confines of our delightful self-imprisonment.
My sister and I sometimes reminisce about this shared fond memory: looking back, we remember how intuitively creative we were as children, using found objects and materials to inventively produce creations that met so many of our emotional needs. Sincere excitement would arise the night before these beloved playdates, our imaginations already churning around our next big idea — most of all, we remember having such a great amount of fun.
In honor of creativity, problem-solving, and ingenuity, we all need a gentle reminder of the inherent value in play. The best ideas often come during well-deserved down time, when our minds are given much-needed permission to relax, let loose, and unfurl into their full, complex glory; to dream, and dilly dally over myriad mindless musings in the spirit of pure enjoyment — this is what I feel it means to live expansively.
Technology regularly gets a bad rap for sucking our time with inanity, like a vacuum cleaner aimed at ridding the world of substance; staring at Smart phones, looking at millions of images daily, and seeing gossip fly by on small, shiny screens often provokes a range of emotional reactions from our spectator selves. Dancing frenetically between self-defensive withdrawal, and active participation in this rolling hamster ball that is the ether, we sometimes struggle to retain our footing back onto solid, supportive ground.
However, technology can equally inspire us to get back to our grounded roots. To notice the beauty in the simple, the everyday is all the more achievable through industrial advancements; the natural magic that quietly lies in wait within the mundane aspects of daily life is often no more than a click away — if we so choose to seek it. Writing a weekly blog, publishing doodles on Tumblr, or even Tweeting inspirational ideas can help us to feel connected with ourselves and others through online social media.
We all have an inner child who wants to have fun and play.
– Javier Pérez
A series of sweet sketches by graphic designer Javier Perez shows the potential in platforms like Instagram to be a source of inspired creation, rather than a waste of valuable energy. In Instagram Experiments, Perez merges everyday items with quirky, hand-drawn lines to create new, recognizable hybrid objects — with a light-hearted, personal twist. Clothespins become crab claws; floppy disks turn into sturdy, square-shaped bodies; and a flower blooms into a delicate gramophone horn.
Seeing our everyday objects with fresh perspective can rejuvenate our relationship with them. Finding the beauty in the mundane is one of the tricks to experiencing small moments of joy every day, no matter what else is going on in our lives. Technology currently allows for so much option when it comes to creativity: instead of being relegated to choosing between a paper-based notepad, or journal, we now have computer software, opensource platforms, and a multitude of innovative choices for both making and distributing our humble reflections and reveries.
Ultimately, this is all about getting back in touch with ourselves, and creating a deeper connection with the objects in our lives that we know most intimately. Much like valuing the sleek Soma water filter, appreciating the simple beauty of our everyday material items and surroundings is apt to foster feelings of gratitude. Since we know that practicing daily gratitude is one of the best ways to feel more content and peaceful, I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to further our day-to-day fulfillment than seeing our surroundings with fresh eyes and hearts.
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
– Friedrich Nietzsche