Welcome to the Living Your Intention newsletter!
In my June newsletter, I shared I was planning to go on a technology "diet" for the month of July. My weekly diet would consist of several days of outright fasting from email consumption and social media; on the other days, I would simply reduce my intake. I planned to unsubscribe from superfluous communications and refrain from enrolling in personal development courses. As part of this diet, I would abstain from writing a July newsletter. I would reduce technology intrusion and take time to simply "be."
I received wonderful responses from many of you - even some calls! You concurred that technology is both imposition and energy drain. One person shared that her 17-year old daughter instituted an "electricity-free" day once a month at their house -they don't unplug the refrigerator, however. I'm impressed with the wisdom of this young woman and how she is representing our future consciousness regarding energy conservation. She might be interested in a blog I wrote several years ago entitled, "Microwave-less in Minnetonka." I promise I will re-publish it on my website, Intentional Spaces.
Someone else mentioned recently reading an article equating the inability of the I-generation to compose proper e-mails and letters with their dependence on texting and instant messaging. She wonders if the schools are still teaching grammar and sentence structure! Another comment supported my observation about less social contact among work colleagues; sequestered in their cubicles with their noses in their computers at her company, she experiences the complete absence of the sounds of interaction and laughter. I always love and appreciate your feedback.
So how did I do? Well, my diet was initially more difficult than I anticipated. The "habits" of checking emails and Facebook had become so routine they were almost like an addiction. I became aware of how frequently I "automatically" checked without thinking. So much for mindfulness!
Fasting was obviously more difficult than dieting, although it really did become easier with time - like any new habit or lifestyle change we are trying to make. Giving up some of the "technology food groups" proved to come a bit slower, but when it did happen, it was amazingly easy!
I actually gleefully unsubscribed to many "notices of upcoming series" and even more recently unsubscribed to Living Social, Groupon and Crowd Cut! I hear you gasping! Don't get me wrong, I love a deal as much as the next person and have taken advantage of some of them through the years. But when I became aware of how their daily enticements were filling my email space and tempting me to read them, I realized it was just too much!
For a long time, I thought I was in control by just skimming and deleting, but, when I really began to pay attention, I found these email notifications time consuming and distracting. And how much unsolicited stuff do I really need? I figure if I took advantage of at least half of what they offered, my life would be very different: I would have a great artificial tan; my face would be filled with Botox, thus wrinkle free (O.K. tempting!) my lashes extremely long and my teeth very white. I would be proudly wearing my $50 classic polo shirt with its new superdry performance fabric, along with my cubic zirconia stud earrings and my new Betsy Johnson jewelry while taking a sushi class. My car windows would be tinted and, having taken my "permit to carry" class, be the proud owner of a "conceal and carry permit." Unsubscribe! Check!
I am also happy to say that I've managed to avoid signing up for classes; I am a life-long learner so this is the most difficult for me! So far so good.
I missed writing my newsletter, but, honestly, the timing was perfect as we embarked on a re-decorating project that has consumed our summer.
It remains a bit early to assess the ultimate outcome of my month-long self-imposed diet. The month has been busy with little time to "be." However, there is one piece of advice I have taken to heart and want to share in hopes that it might make a difference for you, as well. My Homeopath, who is wholeheartedly supporting my technology diet, shared her philosophy regarding email. She reminded me that, initially, emails were for quick, succinct sharing of information to increase efficiency in the work place. They were never meant for conversation. She adopted the philosophy of no more than 3 sentences per email. More than that requires a conversation, either in person or by phone. I like it! That is my new approach for controlling email conversations. I would much rather hear your voice! And there is no technology drain!
I also know I'm not ready to end my diet. It's feeling good so I will continue. I really can't anticipate the outcome, but with the changes and transformations that are occurring in 2012, I suspect more insights are in store! I'll be sure and keep you posted, but maybe not as frequently!
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. - Albert Einstein
Following Frank, Part 1
Several years ago, Tom and I and our favorite road trip buddies, made plans to travel to Wisconsin to see some of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School movement. Both Feng Shui practitioners, my friend and I were interested in him and how his architecture might, or might not, relate to Feng Shui principles of living and working environments.
A trip to Spring Green, Wisconsin and Taliesin launched the beginning of what was to become our "Following Frank" road trips.
Born just two years after the end of the American Civil War, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was witness to the extraordinary changes that swept the world from the leisurely pace of the nineteenth-century horse and carriage to the remarkable speed of the twentieth-century rocket ship. Wright welcomed and embraced the social and technological changes made possible by the Industrial Revolution, unlike many of his contemporaries. He enthusiastically initiated his own architectural revolution. Inspired by the democratic spirit of America and the opportunities it afforded, he set out to design buildings worthy of such a democracy. Dismissing the imported, historic European styles most Americans favored at the time, his goal was to create an architecture that addressed the individual physical, social, and spiritual needs of the modern American citizen.
Wright set the standards for what became known as the Prairie Style. These "prairie houses" reflected the long, low horizontal prairie on which they sat with low-pitched roofs, deep overhangs, without attics or basements, and generally long rows of casement windows that further emphasized the horizontal theme. They were generally built of brick, wood, and plaster, with stucco walls. Elaborate floor plans and detailing were discarded for flowing internal spaces organized around a central fireplace or hearth. Wright designed them to reach out to nature, not to other buildings.
I knew none of this when I was first heard his name, which also meant nothing to me. Going to Cloquet, MN years ago, residents always proudly pointed out their "Frank Lloyd Wright gas station." I don't recall being impressed but then I hadn't been properly introduced to the man and his work. The gas station was built in 1956; a prototype for a service station design that Wright and his colleagues envisioned would sweep the nation, however, this is the only such station that was ever built. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1985, it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.
Interestingly, I was to have another exposure to Frank Lloyd Wright architecture several years later. I was living in Deephaven, MN. and frequently walked or drove by an interesting, imposing home overlooking Lake Minnetonka. I learned it was the Francis Little home; commissioned in 1907, I didn't realize at the time it was one of Wright's last great Prairie School houses.
In 1972, the Metropolitan Museum of Art bought the Francis Little house. Portions of the interior were dismantled for future installation in the Metropolitan and for sale to other institutions. Our own Minneapolis Institute of Arts purchased the hallway leading to the master bedroom. What a shame they didn't, or couldn't, purchase the entire home! I attended the Estate sale held there, and I recall neighbors buying light fixtures, sinks and bathtubs among other miscellany. I purchased a small lantern that I still have.
Many years later, now very aware of Frank Lloyd Wright, Tom and I were in New York and made a point of visiting the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Constructed from a reinforced concrete in shape of a hollow funnel, it opened to the public October 21, 1959, six months after Wright's death and 16 years after he began work on it.
The Guggenheim museum building instantly polarized architecture critics. Some of the criticism focused on the idea that it overshadows the artworks displayed inside, and that it is difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow, windowless, concave exhibition niches that surround the central spiral. Prior to its 1959 opening, twenty-one artists signed a letter protesting the display of their work in such a space.
In 2000, the American Institute of Architects selected their top ten favorite buildings of the twentieth century; the Guggenheim Museum was among the select few. I suspect artists today are thrilled to display their work there! We instantly loved the building and would agree it might overshadow the artwork inside. But perhaps that was because we were admittedly there for the building, not the art. I was enthralled with how the circular forms spiral down, like the interior of a nautilus shell, referenced in my July 2011 newsletter.
Now we were heading out on our first official "Following Frank" trip. We booked rooms at The Usonian Inn, Spring Green's first original Taliesin-inspired inn. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, J C Caraway, and built in the 1950's. Wright used the term Usonian when he began to develop a series of homes in response to the 1936 economic depression. Designed to control costs, Wright's Usonian houses, like Prairie style homes, featured low roofs and open living areas. Both styles made abundant use of brick, wood, and other natural material. However, Wright's Usonian homes were small, one-story structures set on concrete slabs with piping for radiant heat beneath. The kitchens were incorporated into the living areas and open carports took the place of garages.
Some have said that the word Usonia is an abbreviation for United States of North America. This meaning explains Wright's aspiration to create a democratic, distinctly national style that was affordable for the "common people" of the United States. Wright's Usonian homes became a model for suburban development. His innovations in affordable housing paved the way for a rapidly growing middle-class suburban population. Usonian homes were often built with an L-shaped floor plan.
It was fun staying at the Usonian Inn - it was like we were transported back to the 50's. Our rooms were clean and spare and the proprietors friendly and easy-going. It seemed as if life at the Usonian was comfortably stuck in the past. The Inn is listed on the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places and National Historic Register under the original name - Rest Heaven Motel. We would stay there again!
Our plan to tour Taliesin, Frank's summer home and architectural headquarters, almost didn't happen! We misjudged our time and were late arriving. The little red bus that shuttles visitors up to the house had already left! Fortunately, our very kind bus driver, aware that 4 people were missing, came back for us. We joined a patiently waiting group and a superbly knowledgeable tour guide!
Taliesin, which means Shining Brow, was the name of a Welsh bard and poet, as well as a mythical Welsh seer and visionary. It was an alluring name to Wright. He used the name Taliesin again when he later built a home in Scottsdale, Ariz. The original Taliesin was rebuilt several times over the years due to house fires and was expanded and renovated when Wright began the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is located on the grounds.
We were enthralled with the beauty of the home and the countryside viewed from every window -green hills, prairies, ponds, pasturelands and courtyards full of wildflowers. I was especially taken with the Asian artifacts throughout the home. Wright was an avid collector of Japanese prints and textiles and those pieces there were stunning! Because Wright didn't use particularly durable materials in his buildings, upkeep is continuous and expensive. We certainly observed evidence of this at Taliesin, but, fortunately, there are many committed to its preservation.
Visiting Taliesin was a perfect initial immersion in the world of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and a great beginning to our "Following Frank" road trips.
Our second "Following Frank" road trip found us on the road to Mason City, Iowa to stay in the impressive Historic Park Inn Hotel, the only remaining designed and built Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in the world. More about our road trip, Frank, and Feng Shui in September!
Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
- Frank Lloyd Wright
What's Your Trip Type?
There's Still Time in 2012 for a DreamTrip!
Sand and Sun
Costa del Sol Oct 20-27 8 day/7 night $419.99/pp
Spain's sunny Mediterranean coast is a charming collection of picturesque fishing communities that now attracts millions of visitors. Beautiful views of Gibraltar, the Coast of Morocco and Spanish Mountains, poolside relaxation, exciting nightlife, and delicious cuisine.
Cape Greco, Cyprus Oct 21-28 8 day/7 night $399/pp
Sea-view luxury accommodations celebrate the glorious sunshine of Cyprus, a mountainous Mediterranean island with golden beaches and clear skies throughout the year. Your hotel is adjacent to the Cape Greco National Forest, a nature preserve with miniature pine trees and juniper, sea cliffs, sea turtles and caves.
Munich, Germany Oct 19-23 5 day/4 night $133.99/pp
Munich's cultural scene is second to none in Germany, with the museums even considered by some to outrank Berlin in quality. Many travelers to Munich are absolutely stunned by the quality of the architecture.
Paris, France (choose from two trips this fall!) If you've never been to Paris, it's a must! If you've already been, you want to go back! Museums, nightlife, daytime ambience, cuisine, couture - nothing compares!
4-Star Hotel Regina Oct 26-29 4 day/3 night $459.99/pp
Rochester Champs Elysees Hotel Nov 23-26 4 day/3 night $519.99/pp
Orlando, Florida Oct 17-21 5 day/4 night $207.99 entire condo (sleeps 4!) Minutes away from Disney, SeaWorld, and other parks, this escape is family-focused with incomparable amenities: heated pools, ample, luxurious accommodations, and Polynesian-inspired water wonderland for the kids.
Bahamas Cruise Dec 10-14 4 nights on RCCL's Monarch of the Seas $281/pp (including port fees and taxes) with Adventure Ocean youth facilities, including teen only areas. Private island stop and day in Nassau included.
Outside the Box
Reykjavik, Iceland Oct 4-9 6 day/5 night $299.99/pp
In the heart of the capital city, your quaint first class hotel is home to one of the Iceland's most renowned restaurants, as well as the most comprehensive collection of Icelandic art in the country.
Sherwood Forest, England Oct 26-29 4 day/3 night $289.99/pp
Sherwood Forest Natural Nature Reserve is Nottinghamshire's gem, and is the homestead of the folkloric outlaw Robin Hood. Thoresby Hall is an ornate example of the exuberance of 19 century Victorian architecture, magnificently restored in 1998. This trip closes by September 24th. Additional nights to extend your trip are available.
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Thank you so much for your interest in Living Your Intention!
I welcome your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you! Please know that I am grateful for your presence.
"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Learning of the tragic events that ultimately surrounded Taliesin, we were prompted to read Loving Frank: A Novel
by Nancy Horan.
"In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America's greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney's profound influence on Wright." - Bookbrowse
"The renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright has received much historical attention, but author Nancy Horan turns her gaze on Mamah Borthwick, Wright's lover -- their long-term affair scandalized the public -- who deserves attention in her own right for her work as a feminist. Loving Frank tells the story of Cheney's affair with Wright and her struggles to mesh her own independence and intelligence with the traditional roles of wife and mother." - Bestsellers
Prairie School Architecture in Minnesota
Minnesota is home to a number of remarkable Prairie School Buildings: banks, commercial structures, churches and residences. Many excellent examples (designed by William Gray Purcell, George Grant Elmslie, George Washington Maher, and Prairie School founder Louis Sullivan) can be found in the Twin Cities, as well as smaller cities and towns, primarily in the southeastern part of the state. Review various trips and print tour guides.
Comparing Frank Lloyd Wright's Philosophy of Architecture with the Principles of Feng Shui
Nature Serves as the Model
"Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain."
"The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built."
Everything is Energy
"Space. The continual becoming: invisible fountain from which all rhythms flow and to which they must pass. Beyond time or infinity."
Your Space Reflects Your Life
"Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the 'atmosphere' of the things they live in or with. They are rooted in them just as a plant is in the soil in which it is planted."
"Man builds the house and the house builds the man."
The Power of Feng Shui
"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."
In China, the Dragon is the sign of the emperor, as well as a symbol of power and wealth. In honor of 2012, the Year of the Dragon, visit my online store:
Order Chinese Dragon cards, stamps, stickers, address labels, and apparel!
Certified in Western Feng Shui, Traditional Compass Feng Shui and Fashion Feng Shui, Hinda is a founding member and President of the Feng Shui Institute. Through her practice, Intentional Spaces, she helps you explore ways to create a balanced and harmonious environment that reflects your individual personality, life style and personal goals.
For residential and business consultations, speaking engagements, or customizing a workshop for your group, contact Hinda at (952) 938-0894 or email:
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"You see the world differently
when you see the world."
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The purpose of this newsletter is two-fold: to share ways to incorporate the art of Feng Shui in daily life and to share travel experiences and opportunities you can access.
Each of these, in its own way, can
support mindfulness and intentionality
as we navigate life's journey.
I hope you encounter a new idea, a new resource or a new viewpoint. Perhaps some small insight will answer an unspoken question, provide a helpful tip, motivate or inspire you,
or simply give you a moment to escape from the day's demands.