(Bear with me here...these thoughts come curtesy of a few different experiences linked together...)
Last week while the boys were at school, Benjamin asked to watch an "episode" on Netflix. I turned it on and he watched the single frames depicting the options for him to watch. He finally settled on a picture of a dog, a show called "Kippur."
I flipped it on and started to fold laundry. As I watched, I was immediately struck by how calm the show was. The voices were provided by one soothing male voice with a British accent. The sentences spoken were peaceful, spread out, thoughtful. The plot was uncomplicated, the animation simple. (Very much like the old "Winnie the Pooh," which Benjamin is also enjoying as of late) I glanced over to Benjamin, sure that after the "Phineas and Ferb" and "Spongebob Squarepants" that the boys like, this would bore him in seconds.
But I was wrong. He watched as the show meandered along. It occurred to me that perhaps this was more his speed, and maybe the craziness and hyperactivity of so many of today's programming is actually too much for him to process. I personally can't stand much of what the boys prefer. The pace dizzies me.
Fast forward a couple of days and I saw an image online of a young girl in her classroom at school. You could see the walls in the background, and every inch was covered with pictures, words, colours, learning tools, lessons, art work. Rather than be a space to encourage learning, once again I felt assaulted by too much information. How on earth are you supposed to know where to focus? Where is the time to ponder on one idea if your eyes are constantly being redirected to something else?
Then last night I was preparing dinner and thought I would put on some music while I busied myself in the kitchen. But even though I was listening to some of my favourite soothing spiritual music, I soon felt that the mix of Juliette's cooing, the boys playing, and Benjamin's questions to me were mixing into something altogether unpleasant.
Which brings me up to today. I am suddenly craving simplicity in my surroundings. Everywhere around me seems to be about piling on more and more: more sounds, more lights, more pictures, more activities, more stuff. I am on a mission to end this assault on my senses, where I can control it.
I am starting with my little domain: the home. I have felt this pull toward simplicity for a while, but only now can I articulate what it is I'm searching for. I don't want that image of the overloaded classroom. In the past I have tried to fill in the spaces and corners to create a "homey" feel, under the illusion that sparse felt "empty." Now, I want each item in my home to be there deliberately. I remember two questions from a book I read last year: is it useful? is it beautiful? My home can be a tool for learning, a haven of refuge, a comfortable nook, a gathering place, a playground of fun. I control the atmosphere in my home both with my own attitude, but also in how I create this space. My goal is to be able to move through the house and feel peace, rather than an assault on the senses.