Spiritual Sustainability

architects, cleveland, washington, sustainability, residential designA sustainable home should do more than just save energy and resources. It should be a place to have fun, a place to freely think, hope, and dream. It should provide a personal sense of well being.

Our sense of well being is grounded in our many daily thoughts that are usually generated by some sensory stimuli. How we interpret the stimuli serves as the foundation of what we think. The way our food tastes, the sounds we hear, the surfaces we touch, the conversations we have, the passing glimpse out of the corner of our eye, or the things we smell just might be the stimulus that is needed to generate a new thought. Therefore, it could be said it is this thought process that forms the foundation of our sense of well being. It might follow that the more our senses are stimulated, the more thoughts we will have, the better our sense of well being.

Just for a moment, think what we do in our home to stimulate of senses and to increase our sense of well being. Every now and then we will rearrange the furniture or paint the walls. Maybe we will buy something new to hang on the walls or some new window treatment. Maybe we will watch a video or play Kinect. We do this to keep things interesting and to change the pace of our daily living in an attempt to strengthen our sense of well being. What if your home could that for you all day and everyday? This home does just that.

My home brings the outside in and lets the inside out. The interior spaces are open and free flowing. It allows my senses to run wild beyond the “normal” four walls, floor, and roof of a house to include the limitless floors, walls, and ceilings of the natural planet. It opens new possibilities for thinking, hoping, and dreaming. It not only uses the Sun for heating, the wind for cooling, the rain for irrigation, and the Earth for insulation, it uses these elements to initiate the change needed to stimulate abstract thought. It sustains my spirit and provides a strong sense of well being. Besides, it’s a fun and exciting place to live.

Remember your homework assignment? How did you experience your natural environment? That experience can be directly applied to this subject. When the Sun travels across the sky, the wind blows, and the rain falls, this home changes. As the days turn into weeks, week’s turn into seasons, season’s turn into years, this home changes. My home is constantly changing. It is a living and breathing manmade structure in harmony with the natural world. It provides the opportunity for abstract thought and thus a strong sense of well being.

The next homework assignment, if you elect to accept the assignment, is to observe and document how your home sits on your property and within your neighborhood. What windows have sunshine and what windows have a breeze? How close is the nearest bank or grocery store?