Where It All Came From

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
– Michael Jordan


I was listening to an interview recently with film writer and director Quentin Tarantino. He talked about his creative process which started with bits of ideas or scraps of stories that eventually make their way onto a blank sheet of paper. From there, they start to take shape and are tirelessly worked and re-worked until they ultimately manifest in a finished script, and later, a finished film. In most cases, the entirety of all steps from conception to completion represented years of his effort.

When asked how wonderful all of his success must feel, Quentin had an interesting reply. He said that he frequently takes time to walk around his home and thinks to himself, “wow, my imagination paid for this house”. What may have initially sounded boastful was in fact a totally Tarantino-esque statement about the need to stand back and acknowledge the wondrous process that allows us to convert the fruits of our labors into things that elicit feelings of profound gratitude.

Taking stock of what we have created in our homes is something we do very little of.
As an interior designer, I’ve observed the way many of us (myself included) focus on the things that aren’t working, aren’t finished or aren’t as we would like them to be in our homes. When I am engaged with a client it is to fix problems and make something better or altogether brand new. When a project is completed the focus is typically on the aesthetic of the project, not the things that made all that transformation possible in the first place.

Like Mr. Tarantino, most of us have the ability to create our environments because we have a talent or expertise that allows us to be employed. The ideas and work that we contribute are converted to a monetary exchange. That remuneration is what allows us to convert inert paper money into the things of beauty we can then surround ourselves with.

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Sometimes the opportunity is available as the result of a loved ones generosity, in life or posthumously, who has given/left you a monetary sum, a piece of land or a beautiful piece of furniture. That gift has the ability to be converted into the
starting point to a home or a thoughtful addition to what you already have.

While some opportunities can be traced back to hard work or generous gifts, there are some that come as a result of exchanges that don’t work out. Many years ago my husband and I were negotiating to buy a property that had amazing potential. When things came to a stand still we found that there was another interested party. They ultimately got the house and I was crushed. In a pinch, we rented the home that eventually became the one we live in now. As it turned out, the house we originally wanted needed such extensive structural work that it would have prohibited a large-scale decorative renovation. I am eternally grateful to whatever forces intervened making it “possible for us to land where we did.”

Do we give enough appreciation and gratitude to the energy it took to create what surrounds us?

Nothing, good or bad, comes to us without some energetic exchange. No goal is reached, no relationships are made and no possessions come into our lives without something else being put into motion. Whatever the impetus – your own hard work, a generous benefactor or the serendipity of the universe, gratitude is what gives it all value. And the funny thing about gratitude is that it allows another kind of energetic exchange to occur. When we approach something with gratitude it imprints positively in our mind, thus, every time we see the object of our gratitude those good feelings are radiated back to us. The circle is complete.

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If gratitude has such a bountiful payout doesn’t it seems worthy of the small investment of our time? Gratitude only requires us to occasionally stop and see and feel what we have created. If we aren’t doing that then we must ask what am I exchanging my efforts for? Are the long hours at work draining you or giving you the opportunity to build a home, travel or donate to needy causes? Has a generous windfall or inheritance been converted to something that enriches your life or those of others? Money is only as valuable as what it can bring to you. If you are not making the conversion to things you find beautiful or experiences that enrich your life, then you are just amassing valueless currency.

We live in a very fast paced world that forces us to constantly be looking ahead. Perhaps, like Quentin Tarantino, we should get in the habit of walking through our homes and looking back at all that it took to create them. You may remember with pride the hard work it all took, or have a good laugh – or a sentimental tear in your eye – remembering how something came into your world. Reconnecting like that is also a good way to weed out the things that don’t elicit your gratitude. These are things that don’t serve you or add value to your home or your life. These are the things which must go.

Pay homage and imprint gratitude into all that you have. That simple act insures that abundance and gratitude keep enriching your life.