Happy New Year, my dear friends. I hope you’ve had a relaxing, peaceful start to this beautiful new decade. Every January, I feel the promise of a new year and that feeling of a fresh start, but this year in particular, I feel that we’re all on the brink of something hugely important.
I can’t explain why, but I sense a major shift happening right now. A shift toward compassion. Toward mindfulness. Toward slowing down, or at the very least, wanting to slow down.
Do you feel this way too?
Whether we personally see evidence of a lifestyle shift or not, I believe that we must be the positive change we want to see in the world... Reconnecting with ourselves so we feel full. Resting well so we have energy for others. Seeking stillness in a world that’s constantly moving.
It can be done, my friends. And now is the perfect time.
THE YIN SEASON
In Chinese philosophy yin represents the wet, dark, cold, quiet and slow. Winter is the yin season. Even here in Athens, the days are short, the nights are long, and the air is brisk. The winter season was designed by nature for resting and conserving energy. You only have to look at animals to see how it’s done.
Why should it be any different for us? We’ve been provided the ideal environment for cozying up with a book by the fire, reconnecting with ourselves and our families, going to bed earlier, and feeling deeply rested.
So instead of piling up New Year’s goals (that we’re in a rush to achieve), or diving into decluttering, what if we took January and February to just relax?
Or better yet, to relax and be okay with it?
RELAX & RECONNECT
Okay, finding time to relax is easier said than done, right? I’m right there with you.
I would really love to tell you that I have been spending my January meditating by the fire, recovering with slow evenings, trying out new recipes that take all afternoon, or journaling about the upcoming year.
But I have to be transparent with you and say that these relaxing, mindful activities, well… as much as I want them, they simply aren’t fitting into my life right now.
I am in the middle of a major renovation to my 1950s ranch. Living in it and through it. (If you’ve been through a reno, you know exactly what I mean.) I look one way and see my old kitchen; I look the other way, and I see a new kitchen under loud, heavy construction.
Translation: Life doesn’t always slow down just because we want it to.
What I realized is that even among the chaos, I still have the power to embrace this season of yin, just in a different way...
PHYSICAL VS MENTAL STILLNESS
If you’re in a situation where you can take time to slow down, clear your mind, relax, and reconnect with yourself, by all means, DO IT. For me, finding physical stillness in this season is very difficult, if not impossible.
Instead, and maybe even because of the physical upheaval, I’ve discovered a different kind of peace: mental stillness.
As everything moves and makes noise around me, I can distance myself from feeling the chaos internally. Instead, I find quiet in the details:
- I notice the oversized windows and how they will connect our family to our natural surroundings.
- I see the built-ins around the fireplace and watch the furniture coming together into a room.
- I feel gratitude that we’re creating a lifestyle designed for mindfulness and connection.
- I can imagine exactly what we will be doing next January.
In awareness and gratitude, I find my calm. And for now, it’s enough to feel connected and at peace in this season of my year, and in my life.
Speaking of awareness and gratitude, I couldn’t be more thankful for the PEOPLE in the Steel+Plank community who make this busy time so special.
The people we love to serve...
When I first started out, my intention was to create casual, contemporary furniture that speaks to the slow living lifestyle. I couldn’t have imagined the positive influence we’d have on the people who are actually using our pieces in their daily lives:
- Empty nesters who downsize and use our pieces to create minimalistic spaces with a sense of order and calmness
- Young families who feel confident investing in pieces that can evolve over the years with their growing family
- Young professionals who enjoy supporting eco-friendly, beautiful designs from makers they really connect with
The people in our design community...
Then, there’s the Athens design community. Originally, we wanted to connect with these makers and bring them into our space to show our furniture in a setting that feels like our vision of an ideal home: calm, serene, transcendental.
Two years later, these artists are such a large part of the Steel+Plank community that we can’t imagine our shop without them. Some are local to Athens and Atlanta and some are from other areas, but all create pieces that add to the tranquil feeling we want in our home.
Almost every month, we host gatherings to showcase these makers and creators of art, pottery, textiles and more, and at this point, we’re family.
The people in our local and digital community...
Last but not least, there are the wonderful people who come to our in-person gatherings, sip tea with us in our shop, and support us in our growing community online.
During 8 gatherings last year, we introduced new artists from Athens to Atlanta and hosted pop-ups with textile makers, candle makers, vinegar makers and floral designers. It warmed my heart to see the community coming together, creating, smiling, laughing, and connecting.
These are the moments that embody everything I hoped we could do for our community. In fact, Atlanta Magazine called us one of the “Best Finds of 2019 & Worth the Drive!”
I couldn’t agree more. :)
Upcoming gatherings + our 2 Year Anniversary celebration
As we slowly ease into 2020, we will be hosting our first gathering of the year to celebrate Steel + Plank’s 2 year anniversary. Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 15th and keep an eye out here for more details to come.
We also have several gatherings on the books, including...
- Spring Solstice with a tea tasting and a mindful movement session
- Gardening gathering with new S+P steel planters and fresh ideas for container gardening
- “Art in the Home,” a fall event showcasing multiple local artists and our favorite art pieces
If you’re part of our community already or hovering in the wings wondering what we’re all about, we would be delighted to see you there.
We have a few more big changes coming as we find new and conscientious ways to serve you better… but I’ll save those for another time.
Until then, I wish you all an inspired and fulfilling year.