Posts tagged Rituals
Objects & Attachment: Embracing the Ephemeral
Paige Geffen_New Mexico Home_Krista Peters
Paige Geffen_New Mexico Home_Krista Peters

We don’t need to own things in order to connect with them.  I am living in someone else’s home.  I have a private room with some of my personal belongings, but everything else is not mine - from the plates and mugs I eat and drink from to the old dresser I pulled out of the closet to put in my room that I deeply cherish - it’s all temporary.  I can accept the ephemeral nature and see that these objects are serving me now, for an indefinite amount of time, knowing that they will leave my life at some point.  This is a beautiful way to practice non-attachment.

Objects - whether ours, borrowed, etc. - can help us to sit with ourselves, to pause, and to pay attention.  An object can be sacred without ownership.   A ritual can be sacred without permanence of practice.  While I work with my clients on setting up rituals based on their needs, as we grow and change, our needs also change.  We may have to work on other areas and introduce new ways of doing things and/or modify previous practices.  Therefore, the most significant way to do this work is to check-in with yourself in regards to where you are night now, in this moment.  

The last thing I want is for people to feel that they need to go out and acquire new things to practice this work.  You can do this work sitting on the sidewalk with piece of gravel or walking in nature with a stone from the dirt.  The more we recognize that we don’t ‘have’ anything, and the more we see that our deep, personal truth is what guides us, the less we will rely on our stuff and instead shift the focus to rely on our inner selves.  We practice with the physical in order to access the metaphysical.  If you can learn to allow your cup of tea to help you to pause, to breathe, and to ground into your body, you can learn to do this anywhere with anything (or even absent of that ‘thing’).  When you stop to notice the sensation you feel when sliding your favorite ring on your finger or your comfy winter socks on your feet, you connect to the innate wisdom of your body.  The ring and the socks won’t give you power or self assurance, but the action of connecting to yourself will. 

I realize that we typically don’t purchase rings and socks to practice self-connection. I am all for surrounding yourself with beautiful items.  Beauty is a driving force in my life.  Walking in nature and seeing the sun set over the mountains is a prime example of observing and experiencing beauty.  Putting on an outfit that makes me feel amazing in my skin is also an example of this. Here is a quote I’ve previously written on my perspective of beauty: “To me, beauty without intention really isn’t beautiful.  It feels empty.  We can emphasize the marriage of beauty and intention by realizing that they are the same.  That beauty comes from mindfulness, from nature, from slowing down, from our hearts.  Beauty looks like truth.”

Yes, it’s obvious that we can find beauty in nature and in our beloved objects, but can we also find beauty in disorder?  Not so long ago, my life was a complete fucking mess.  I was living in tremendous chaos everyday.  Everything I was experiencing, no matter how messy and no matter how much I hated it, was bringing me closer to my truth.  I was being cracked open to look at all of my shadowy parts in order to embrace them.  This work saved me.  I learned to ground in the midst of groundlessness.  I was able to find beauty in small moments and in overlooked objects. Most importantly, I was able to find the beauty within myself. To accept myself, flaws and all. This is an ongoing process that I am always working on. I am not a perfect ball of sunshine devoid of insecurities. However, I am committed to continue to tear down conditioning in order to connect to the roots of who I am. You, too, can do this.

Mused: Holiday Self Care Guide
Mused Holiday Self Care Guide

Last year I created a conscious holiday gift guide to suggest ethical items by independently owned brands for you to gift to your loved ones.  I felt called to take a break from providing you with more gift ideas this year.  We are so pressured during the holiday season to shop and consume, so I wanted to instead present a self-care tool guide for you to unwind and ground with.  You can find most of these items already in your home.  I’ve included a simple ritual you can perform with each object.  The rituals are meant to be simple and fuss-free, for anyone to enjoy.  While this is not meant to be a gift guide, if you do feel inclined to gift any of these items to friends and family members, consider hand-writing a note of the ritual listed (or create your own) to encourage self-care and nourishment this time of year to those around you or far away. Escape the whirlwind of holiday parties, unhealthy food, and uncomfortable family dynamics, and treat yourself to these acts of tension relief while listening to the dreamy playlist here.

One of my favorite simple practices is putting fresh, warm sheets on my bed.  The act of doing so always makes me feel connected to the place where I recharge my body. While I do this once a week for all of the linens on my bed, I change my pillowcases every few days to keep where I’m resting my head clean.  These pillowcases from Deiji Studios come in so many beautiful colors.  They’re made from 100% stonewashed French linen and will soften with wash/use.  They’re also hypo-allergenic and environmentally friendly.

Whether you’re grabbing pillowcases warm from the dryer or folded in your linen closet, familiarize yourself with the fabric.  Run your hands over the material, lift it up to your nose to get a sense of the smell.  As you slip them onto your pillows, set an intention for your evening of rest (regardless of the time of day).  Your intention can be as simple as getting a night of deep, restorative rest, or asking for your dreams to reveal some truth to you. 

Scent is a powerful yet often overlooked sense.  It is known to trigger memories and emotions and can take us to nostalgic and/or new places.  I love this incense from Haeckles - the only ingredient is lemon balm, which is used to reduce stress and increase calmness.  I also steep lemon balm into my daily infusions for a full body effect.  Read about Haeckles and their incredible story here, yet feel free to use any incense of your liking.

Take the time to light your incense and use it as a signal to pause for the day.  As the scent of your choice starts to fill the room, sit down and meditate.  Whether you do this for 3 minutes or 30 minutes, be grateful for the stillness. Pay attention to your breath, and as the thoughts come in, detach from them and release them.  Keep coming back to your breath, as it will connect you to your body.   

I light candles every night prior to going to bed.  It’s a simple ritual I’ve come to rely on, and it creates a bit of romance as an act of care to end each day. I’ve been lighting beeswax candles because they not only burn clean, but they also purify the air. Big Dipper Wax Works collects 75% of their beeswax from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia because the crops there rank lowest in exposure to pesticides in North America.  They’re currently working on creating fair trade partnerships with beekeepers in foreign countries, where they source the rest of their beeswax.  Their product is extensively tested to insure high quality.

Prior to lighting your candles, plant your feet on the floor and breathe that grounding energy to every part of your body.  As you light them, ask for truth to be illuminated to you in anyway it needs to come through.

Simple acts we perform every day can become rituals that feed us, even in the smallest ways.  This comb by Une Heures is so beautiful that it inspired me to add hair combing into this post, yet the ritual below can be done with any comb/bush you already have.

Pay attention to the way the comb feels against your scalp and the way it catches strands of hair to smooth your locks as you brush.  Start out in front of the mirror so you can observe the process, but then close your eyes in order to feel into your body. Remember to pause each time you use an object as a tool to help serve you.

Taking a bath is perhaps the most referred to and obvious act of self care.  For those of us who have a tub and access to clean, running water - it’s truly an accessible luxury.   I was fortunate to try these bath salts by Vessel Surface Care, and I used them up in about a week (I took a lot of baths in that week).  These salts are enriched with bentonite clay, ginger, dandelion leaf, and essential oils of cypress and rosemary for aiding in the detoxification process.  This bath soak is perfect for this time of year, as we aim to unwind from all of the excess around us (sweet treats, alcohol, and perhaps even unwanted energies from family gatherings and holiday parties).  Each product by Vessel is formulated by Seattle-based health coach, Lizzy Ott.

Rather than checking your phone while waiting for the tub to fill, open your bath salts (or soap, etc.) and smell them.  Close your eyes and allow the aroma to fill your nostrils, and continue to breathe this scent into your chest.  Exhale and repeat until you feel calm and centered.  When the bath is ready, use your hands to administer the salts into the water, as opposed to pouring them directly from the bottle.  Get your body aquatinted with the product prior to soaking in it.  These acts enable a simple way to ground into your body prior to the even deeper grounding you’ll be doing when submerged in water.

I wanted to include bowls in this round-up because one of my favorite things to eat during this time of year is soup.  I’ve been making a delicious squash soup with garlic, onions, ginger, and thyme.  My body craves it.  Soup or not, eating out of a bowl is my favorite way to eat.  I have buckwheat cereal nearly every morning, and for dinner I usually make a warming mixture of veggies, grains, and herbs.   There are a ton of ceramic bowls in my kitchen cupboard (hand thrown by my housemate), and I love how irregular they are.  Each one has its own personality and feeling.  I often write about running hands/fingers over the texture of our objects, and ceramics are one of my favorite items to do this with.  The bowls featured above are by local Santa Fe artist, Kimmy Rohrs of Whiskey & Clay.  I adore all of her work.

As mentioned already, run your fingers on the surface of your bowl to take in the texture.  Notice how it feels against your fingertips and how that translates into the rest of your body.  Is it rough, soft, smooth?  Try to hold or touch the bowl with one hand as you use your other to fill it with your meal.  We can always slow down with our objects in the simplest ways.

I practice journaling nearly every day. Nearly, because I’m human and sometimes life happens, but I do commit to it as a daily practice. It helps me to center in a way that nothing else (not even meditation) does. I’ve been practicing this for over five years, and it changed the trajectory of my life when I started. These are the only journals I write in.

Check-in with your inner self. How’s your heart? When you answer, start writing with your non-dominant hand. This will feel weird at first, but it will help the truth to come through. If you don’t know where to start or if answers are not coming through easily, just scribble, draw, etc. (with your non dominant hand). It may trigger words to come, or it may be all you need to get your weirds out. Some other prompts that may be fitting for this time of year: “what do I need to feel safe?” “what would be true if I slowed down?” “how can I show up for myself in the most authentic way?” “how can I nurture my simplest needs?”

Objects & Attachment: True to Form
John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

Part of why I’m drawn to objects is because we can count on them.  They’re reliable.  We don’t have to wonder what mood they’ll be in or how they’ll receive us.  We get to receive them.   This is why they can help us to ground so well - because they aren’t projecting anything onto us.  Whatever you’re getting from an object has to do with you, and if it’s not “you,” it’s your conditioning, societal programming, etc.  We can let go of the attachment of the object being a symbol of identity or status, and instead, simply true to form.  We can focus on the lines, the texture, the material and see it for what it is - an inanimate object. Letting go of attachment does not translate to detaching from warmth. It’s about detaching from the needing. We are whole as we are, and we don’t need any person, place, thing, or object to complete us. So when we let an object be true to form, without a story of how it should fill us, we leave room for us to be true to form as well.  That’s why this series is focused on attachment.  I’s about letting go - of how we think things should be, should look, should feel.  

We often assign meaning to the experiences we go through.  This is a very human thing to do and can sometimes help us to make connections in our lives in order to grow.  However, if we attach to the meaning,  we can miss the reality in front of us.  So we can find meaning in our experiences while simultaneously honoring them in the most stripped, literal way.  Because when we let go (of our agendas, motives, dreams), we see things as they are.   For instance, you can feel an intense connection with another person and then realize that the relationship has no place to go.  Perhaps the other person does not honor the connection, or perhaps they simply are not showing up in an honest way.  You don’t have to denounce the connection.  You can still honor it.  You can hold space for it.  So long as you realize that you don’t need it.  So if it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped, or if the other person doesn’t show up in a healthy way,  you can let go of the person, the story.  But the connection remains - it will always exist.  

By letting go of the stories and expectations of our objects, we are actually strengthening our connection to them.  We are seeing them in their purity, and in this space we can see ourselves more clearly.  We can honor ourselves as we are.  In a physical sense, we can honor the shape of our bodies, the curves and crevices and marks (just as we do with our objects), and then we can honor ourselves in the metaphysical sense - in our wholeness.  When we go to the metaphysical without first grounding in reality, we can get ourselves in spaces of delusion and fantasy, where things become skewed.  The point of going into the metaphysical is to be in our truth, where sometimes things just are without logical explanation or evidence.  When we enter this place while grounded in the present, we can access our inner knowing without the noise of confusion.  

So when we work with our objects, we can rely on their concrete nature.  This structure is what actually helps us to live with more ease and fluidity.  We can be here, now.  Free of our stories and past experiences.  Free of what others may think of us.  We forget about all of that.  We can be present.


If you’re looking for personalized guidance and/or to dive deeper into the work, feel free to contact me or to book a private session.

Woman x Self Practice
Paige Geffen_Self Practice
Paige Geffen_Self Practice
Paige Geffen_Self Practice
 

I’m honored to be featured on one of my favorite websites, Self Practice. If you don’t already frequent the site or follow along on Instagram - get on it. The founder, Lauren Trend, is a dear friend, and she is truly a wonderful human being. I am always inspired by her content, but mostly by her commitment to her own practice, in order to inspire others to create their own practices. There are so many beautiful intersections with the work of Object & Us. Interview below, and you can view it here.

Name: Paige Geffen

Occupation/Business/Creative Outlet: Interior Designer, Art Director, and Founder of Object & Us 

Starsign: Leo (sun), Libra (rising), Gemini (moon)

Favourite Number: 21 

First thing you did this morning? I made myself a hot reishi drink and went outside to view the beautiful landscape here.

What does 'wellness' mean to you?
I see wellness as a holistic practice, yet there is no perfection.  We don't graduate, so I believe we are constantly working towards wellness. 'Wellness' has become a trendy commodity, but it's something that cannot be bought. No matter the amount of herbs and healthy foods you buy, wellness comes from within. To me, wellness is about taking care of myself despite how messy life may be, despite how many supplements or items I don't have access to. Lately it's been about grounding in the midst of groundlessness

Products found in your shower/by your bath? Every product by F. Miller skincare, Lesse Official face serum (need more!), Dr. Bronner's lavender soap

Three things that can always be found in your kitchen cupboard? Nettle & Oatstraw for infusions, Cinnamon, Himalayan Pink Salt.

Favourite kitchen utensil? This spoon from Wild Poppy Goods - I use it to scoop herbs, adaptogens, to grab the last bits of ghee from the bottom of the jar

Favourite Travel destination? I spent a month in Copenhagen 8 years ago, and I have been itching to go back.  I honestly haven't traveled much for leisure in a long time, but I just moved to the countryside outside of Santa Fe, NM, and it's breathtaking here.  I'm on an unknown, indefinite adventure.  I highly recommend moving to a place you've never been before - it's exhilarating.  

Currently reading? When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, and An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

Currently browsing (.com)? Locations for an upcoming shoot, and googling images of Timothee Chalamet ;)

Favourite breakfast food? Vegan/Paleo biscuit-like bread (I substitute flax meal for eggs in this easy-to-make box) or buckwheat with cinnamon & ghee, and breakfast sausages - in the spring/summer I make my go-to smoothie (avocado, blueberries, chard, almond butter, coconut butter, cinnamon, water).


Three items in your make up bag?  14ecosmetics foundation, a brow brush, some form of liquid/cream blush (still searching for the right brand).

An album/mix that calms your nervous system? Joni Mitchell's Blue.  I have her lyrics tattooed on my forearm, and my dog is named after her.  I am starting to tear up writing this. She is such a vision of freedom and independence, and I believe her voice can move mountains and bloom flowers simultaneously.  Also, Moon Safari by Air, anything Cat Power, anything Jon Brion.  I could go on and on... 

An album/mix that hypes you up? Swim by Caribou, It's Album Time by Todd Terje, anything Arthur Russell, Sebastien Tellier.  Again, I could go on and on...

Most commonly used apps on your phone?
Instagram, Spotify

Favourite form of movement/exercise?
Hiking, walking, and dancing - I like to keep it simple.

One thing you'd like to incorporate into your day/week that you're currently yet to?  Yoga - I used to practice and stopped when I was advised by doctors to limit my exercise due to health issues.  I feel ready to start again.  

Nighttime rituals?  I live by my rituals, and the work of Object & Us is rooted in rituals.  I wash my face and put on a face oil, listen to theta waves and/or a calming playlist, write a gratitude list.  

I feel most creatively fulfilled when... I'm cooking a meal for myself, I'm taking photographs (usually of still life's), I'm writing for Object & Us, or lying naked and thinking of/doing nothing and simply feeling connected to my body.

I'm currently working on... owning my darkness and embracing all of the parts of myself I was taught to be shameful of. I'm working on being whole in my magnificence, which means honoring the grit. I'm opinionated, I'm sharp, I'm fierce, I rage.  Someone recently told me that rage is apart of love and that I am so full of love and so full of rage. This duality is what drives me to do anything creative. This is also the duality of sexuality. I'm also working on embracing my desire - for lust, for love, for life. I don't mean chasing it, but meeting it.  

This time last year, I wish I knew... that ultimate surrender and giving up my ideas of what I felt I wanted would lead me to the most unexpected, terrifying, and beautiful places

I'm grateful for... my inner voice, the warmth of the sun on my face, my best friend and soulmate Joni (my pup), Lauren Trend (seriously).