Integration is inclusion or unification of opposites. It lets you make room for the messiness of life by acknowledging both your fragility and strength. Integration is seeking creative control of an authentic, well-designed life through orchestration of thought.
Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way made me aware of the concept. It provided concrete tools necessary to identify and verbalize the intention. For an architect in me, the obvious place to start was with my environment.
Integration is being deliberate
Thumbing through an old notebook, I came across a list of a “100 things I love about my new apartment.” I compiled the inventory approximately three years ago, after having moved to a new place. While gutting and repurposing, I was exercising integration. It entailed synthesizing numerous details, making it not only more spacious and functional than before, but also very pleasant to be in.
A well-designed life can be compared to a well-designed space
Integration implies reliability with an element of unpredictability. No matter how much you strategize, there has to be spontaneity. In the words of Philip Johnson, a well-designed space “contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates.” I think a well-designed life serves similar functions. Mostly, it awakens possibilities.
Here are some of the items on my manifest:
#28. Details in my kitchen/mirror backsplash
#33. Flowerbed outside of the kitchen window
#53. My spoon display in the laundry room
#59. Ipe decks (see #33)
#61. My sofa by Antonio Citterio
#66. Angled cedar step out of the shower
#69. my creativity doll inspired by Julia Cameron
#81. Feeling like what I do matters
Integration is embracing delight of your personal style
The apartment has a small footprint, but is arranged thoughtfully. It is organized in such a way that every inch matters. It’s my home. I am safe here. I feel love. It’s nothing short of divine. What I do matters. Broad strokes and fine lines. It’s a composition.
My environment showcases the building blocks of my passions. It gives me room to explore, prototype, experiment. The ordinary has a chance to be transformed into the extraordinary and mysterious.
Integration is nothing short of expansion. It’s achieving balance through answering every need — whatever that might mean. It’s a way to illuminate each dream’s attainability.
We can plan for success (or integrate what we want into our life) by visualizing it. Exactly! I have written about our power to see what we want to see here.
When we see it, we believe in it. Integration is a blueprint for a well-designed life! Don’t you think so? Actually, more than ever, I would love to get your feedback here.
Photography by Colin Sussingham