Simultaneously, looking both inward and outward to notice the details in the everyday and then placing them in a bigger perspective . . .to both function and nurture, all that grace this Kasbah.
Transforming natural material, into living functional, beautiful, yet simple design elements, while being able to fuse the connections between human made and the natural harsh desert environment.
Yes, that is what I think about daily, in a some what fragmented way, as I go about collecting and gathering inspiration from a mix of nature, sunrises, sunsets, long shadows, the moon lit sky and the ever present sand . . . avoiding all artificial and machine made goods, at all costs, wherever possible.
I often pause as I catch the light change, you can't help practising mindfulness at the majesty that is present here in the Sahara and then focusing back on the daily details of living here . . . and the restoration at hand.
Creating an environment that connects the exterior and interior together, instead the focus being on the actual experience of being here, without distractions, while still insuring comfort and functionality for our LUX NOMADS, (guests) the term that I have coined to depict who are our future clients, to give me a person, or people to serve, as I choose and make decisions.
My mantra is to restore Ait isfoul, while not getting in the way of the grand and majestic beauty that is the Sahara.
Using the natural environment as my palette and pulling materials from the land itself . . . . . sand, mud, palms, and stone. Harmony is my goal, and my somewhat monochromatic comfort zone is finding its way. Dailing down the intense light of the sun would be to my preference, if I could be in charge, but dancing under that star lit sky makes it all too beautiful to resist..
The simple Desert life, it is not so simple, when trying to keep the heart and soul of the place, the integrity of the local traditions and culture, and at the same time modernizing the pise, mud structures.
Finding a balance, while meeting the clients needs, that are not accustomed desert life. Wow!
Blurring the natural and hand made - the scattered and found objects collected . . . twigs, palm leaves, adding texture and interest, yet not arresting your eye as you scan the oasis.
Raw clay cups made by the local potters are chosen, that was an easy one, to enliven the rituals of daily life - most pieces have been made the same way for many, many years. The beauty in their imperfections, knowing where they came from and even who's hand shaped them . . . . . . . . community has been essential for survival here throughout the ages, so supporting the locals and connecting to them, feels not only necessary, but also important for humanity, as a whole.
As a person, I am not too afraid to undertake projects beyond my comfort zone - it is diverse, and yet there is a comfort, a freedom and acceptance of all the unexpected outcomes that I now enjoy throughout my day. My intention is to show up filled with curiosity and wonderment, as we get to see what is going to happen next, after all, isn't it all out of our hands anyway, really?
All we can do is keep showing up to our work in front of us and allow life to do what life does? No?
To me, life is organized chaos even on a great day, and while embracing change, staying flexible and enjoying all the bumps and blemished that are ever present, is actually, the beauty of it, but you must let go of the need to control and just enjoy the ride. Like a camel ride perhaps, majestic and a little bumpy? This I believe, is my biggest learning to date here in the desert - control is an illusion and while having had time to watch and witness my behaviour, and judgments, while trying to get things done, I have slowly put down my fight and I am starting to try on the Moroccans, favourite saying, Inshallah, (if god wants) the reply they give when asked most anything really . . . I have to admit, I didn't go down without a fight, both internal and sometimes, a gross public display of a tantrum, not cool . . . lol!
Crafting a life here, sourcing the best of what is available in the wild desert of Morocco, makes this experience and home unique, truly a one of a kind adventure. There are no trends to follow or box shops to wander, wifi ha! Daily simple tasks have a value, and routines become ritualized to mark the passing of time. Time is not what we have grown up with here for certain, and while I was initially, unintentionally judging, I have come to appreciate when I slowed down and breathed, that what they value is far more precious than what we do often in the west. I remind myself daily, and then sometimes I forget, and I become that version of myself . . . the one I am not proud of, I become the other, and outsider, a Canadian, instead of a fellow human. But is truly progress not perfection here in everyway. I can say that slowly I become more grounded in the way of the desert, if let go of my expectations, it is serene and sacred in many, many ways and aren't we all striving for that?
Never having really dreamt of completions, and always enjoying the process, once done and when there isn't anything left to learn or improve upon, it has often been time to move on, and for me the real beauty truly lies in the suspended state that is transformation, so this is my biggest life book project to date and I try to remind myself on a daily basis to be mindful and stay present to the magic that sits before me everyday, and to the blessing of getting to wandering this path, and painting the canvas of my life . . . . in this Sandcastle in the Sahara.