For 6 years I worked in the startup realm as a workplace designer, helping to create environments intended to nurture the humans behind some incredibly visionary technology companies, namely Airbnb, SoundCloud, Headspace, and Couchsurfing.
My service to these companies was fundamentally rooted in my desire to connect people to their environment, their earth, to the food they eat, and to one another. I also knew that by giving to companies with a potentially huge [and positive!] global impact, my service and prayer would be amplified.
While I've enjoyed the financial freedom, fun, and *incredible* lifelong friendships that came from these experiences, 6 months ago I decided to stop designing offices and move closer to answering the deeper calling of my heart.
That calling is to design spaces that strengthen people's connection to the natural world. To create more community-run retreat centers on beautiful pieces of land that offer a way of living where the laws of nature are queen. It is a combination of returning to tribal ways and celebrating & integrating technology to improve life on Earth without causing harm to her or damage to us.
Why is this my calling? Because if there is anything I've learned during my 32 years on this planet, it is that the natural world holds the answers to everything. The indigenous people have always known this, and we see that their knowledge is finally returning to the mainstream. Western medicine has only studied 1% of the plants in the Amazon rainforest. 1%! Our Earth and our species is suffering because of this disconnection, so truly all we must do is reestablish it. To do that, people must experience it for themselves. We must have far more access to nature in order to fall in love with her again.
On a grounded level, what does this look like? Esalen in Big Sur, California, is the closest I've come to experiencing it. I want to create a sustainable and scalable model for places like this, where plants, animals, and humans are connected through the space they share and the way they coexist. Intentional design, permaculture, ancient practices from all cultures, alternative education, natural childbirth, more time spent outdoors, more presence, more intimacy, less addictive distraction.
What is my next step in achieving this vision?
Over the past few months I've had many conversations about this and I've felt a deep sense of validation to learn that many people believe in the vision, in me, or in both. I know that I need to channel this vision into a clear and grounded plan so that I can begin to seek investment. I'll need to ask every connection I've ever made for support, and though I know the vision is worthy of it, it is a very scary and vulnerable thought.
This upcoming winter I'll be studying and preparing for what is to come. I'll be broadening my design experience by creating a yoga center in Aruba. I'll be continuing to live in connection with nature wherever I am. Come springtime, I will move back to California, to the place where I know this must start, and I will manifest this magic with you, my ally.
And so it is!