Objects that bring us Calm
Objects that inspire calm act as vitalizing props that immerse you in their tranquil theatre.
As sentimental beings, we have a habit of endowing objects with meaning. Personal influence, symbolic tradition, and event based memory factor into the emotional relationship to objects. We all strive to have a harmonious lifestyle with constant reminders of joy and tranquility.
Our own positive experiences are typically the strongest motivation for object keeping. Marie Kondo reminds us that objects carry emotion: they can spark joy, and in turn, invite new refreshed outlooks on life. Tidying up, engaging with our objects as valued members of our life, is a way to connect with the emotional quality of our possessions.
Many journal their experiences in short passages, glueing concert tickets and pressed flowers into their pages for safe keeping, and invitations for joyful remembering. Journaling is a common form of object memorialization. Some dedicate shelves or boxes to creatively engage with object keeping. These shrines and treasure boxes can easily be dedicated spaces for items that inspire calm. Similar to the way a family photo album can turn to a warm evening of recollection, mundane objects can evoke memories of comforting self-care rituals.
Surrounding yourself with calming articles can be a form of self care.
Your own directed beacons of positivity can revitalize a space, or even your own psyche. Whether this be:
- Flipping through the pages of journals and photobooks.
- Traipsing around your home filled with physical reminders of peace.
- Running yourself a calming, well-intentioned bath with your favourite bath salts ;0)
Surrounding yourself with your favourite objects is an incredibly effective form of self care. I believe this practice is the closest thing we have to time travel. Surrounding ourselves in the remnants of a memory and feeling the same joy of a past memory, special person, or dedicated emotion. The practice of storing and utilizing healing crystals has been well practiced for at least 5000 years. While some may not believe that there is a specific power or energy flow from these stones, there is something to be said about dedicated intent. The physical reminders of what you seek in life are often enough of a reminder to obtain calm, productivity, passion, etc…
The power of this mental association is more influential than one may expect. The physical reminder and mental attentiveness to goals and desired headspace is key to intentional living. Functional objects that assist and encourage you to seek the ideal are both practical and abstract. For example: A beautiful water bottle kept by your side all day to encourage and assist you in staying well hydrated and nourished. Your favourite stationary keeping you organized through its vibrance. Or even a bath salt designed to ground you and nourish your skin kept at the ledge of your bathtub. This functional, dedicated intent is powerful because it not only encourages a feeling, it emanates that feeling.
In a home setting, the concept of energy flow has always been widely practiced. The art of Feng shui harmonizes one with their own space through careful placement and design of objects and furniture. The energy flow of a space is crucial, and has dictated what modern design faux pas exist today. Marie Kondo is well known as an organizing consultant who prioritizes spatial energy and how specific objects can influence one's ability to harmonize with their space. In “The Life Changing Magic of Cleaning up” Marie Kondo focuses on several cleaning methods and routines for a better home. One of the biggest and most well-known takeaways of this book is the concept of items “sparking joy”. The general rule of thumb is that if an object does not “Spark joy”, it should be graciously thanked for its service, but then discarded or re-homed, as it dilutes the positive tone of your space.
This world view has found interesting iterations in the art world through Object Oriented Ontology.
Object Oriented Ontology is a term that lays in the centre of an intricate philosophical and artistic venn diagram. Object Orient Ontology invites us to think beyond a human perception and visualize what objects experience. This theory has swept the art world. For example, someone focussed on Object Oriented Ontology may question what their face oil experiences. We often discuss how amazing it feels to have face oils applied to the skin, but through the lens of panpsychism, one may consider the perception of the face oil itself. Different questions arise such as “What lifetime has this face oil lived?” “Does this bottle enjoy its placement on my shelf?” “Do face oils enjoy the adventure of the skin just as we enjoy the glide of the oil?” Orienting towards the joy and endowing our objects with emotional charge opens up new avenues of creatively relating to our homes, spaces, offices.
Questions such as these are set within a human perspective. The focus on the inanimate objects heightens the focus on the human experience. By removing the human from human experience, and applying to an object, Object Oriented Ontology is achieved. The relevancy of this theory in objects that bring certain emotions is substantial. Like a child with a pet rock, we too can receive desired emotion from our belongings while considering their perspectives. The lens of the human experience is often considered as limiting, but with object oriented ontology, we can learn new things about ourselves while simultaneously creating connections to our own environment and belongings.
Endowing objects with meaning is a concept that Yoko Ono touches on in her piece “The Riverbed”. The Riverbed was an exhibition which ran from Feb 22nd to Jun 8th in 2018 in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum. The piece features stones that have been molded by time, and shaped by history. Yoko meticulously placed the rocks in the formation of a riverbed. The exhibition was interactive: viewers were invited to pick up the stones and connect with them. The beauty of this was to comment on the lengthy history of the stones, and the addition of the exhibition to their memory.
The value of intention is what makes calming objects so peaceful.
Stoic Beauty values the power of intention. When visiting the lab, I had the wonderful opportunity to watch Maria in action. I was luckily able to catch this moment in our bath salt production. As you can see, Maria Wodzinska, co-founder of Stoic Beauty, values intention deeply. In every batch of bath salts she creates, she eases the tensions of the user. The Stoic Beauty team has developed three formulas packed with nourishing ingredients that will bring radiance and peace to your skin. The final essential ingredient is applying an intention that harmoniously treats its user to a devoted calm.