Creating a Green Office: The Before

Dear relatives,

My grandmother would have been 91 years old this week (Gemini love!). And this year, I’ll be celebrating her life in a way I never expected as I work toward opening an acupuncture clinic and mind-body center in my hometown. In between farm chores, I’ll get to design my dream office. I’ll be documenting the process and progress here, and hope to address some of the struggles that come with being a person of color and business owner. I’m also looking forward to educating myself on beginner Feng shui principles, which is an important part of Taoism, Chinese philosophy and cosmology. For now, I’ll ease into that conversation by sharing with a few “before” images. All of the photos you’ll see were made with my phone, so bear with me! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetWhen I first visited the office, I was immediately drawn to this open space. There is great potential here. I can see it so clearly: Qigong classes, community acupuncture, workshops, meditation… I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetThere are three rooms in total — the large, open room is located to the right when you first walk in. The images above are of the middle room. This will be utilized as an administrative center primarily. There will be a small sink and kitchen area in here as well. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetAt some point, the middle room may need to transform into an additional treatment room. Until then, I’m just taking everything one day at a time.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetA random photo of me just to show you the mirrored ceilings, which are located in the entrance. This was the second thing I noticed, for many reasons. In particular, the symbolism that mirrors carry as a reflection of internal and external environment. I’ve also been trying to learn more about using mirrors as a design strategy. If you have any resources, send them my way!Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe main treatment room is pictured above. This was the room I had the most challenge with in terms of envisioning what it could be. The room rectangular in shape; more long that it is wide, but it’s not narrow by any means. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this space has to offer once everything is cleared out. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetIn the last month, there has been so much progress already. I’ve slowly started to tell folks about the office, and the response I’ve received has been so warm and encouraging. The experience has been very humbling, and I’m thankful for the postive feedback. This has been a dream of mine for a long time now, and the idea of seeing it all come to life in community with others is more than I imagined.

Here’s to honorinng our grandmothers, and all the ways they inspire us. A blessed New Moon in Gemini to you and yours.

In Solidarity,

Christian

 

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Botanical Powered Branding

Botanical Powered BrandingRecently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to brand a business. Next summer I will be taking a course focused on how to manage a healthcare/healing arts practice. There’s a lot that goes into building and sustaining your own business. The legal, and financial components alone require serious inquire and thorough consideration. But I’ll save those details for another time. ;) Today, I’m thinking about the creative energy that goes into designing a logo, committing to a message, and promoting ones skill set. Continue reading “Botanical Powered Branding”

Dreaming of a Green Office (Part II)

Pallet6August is fast approaching, which means that autumn vibe are on their way. The change in season will also officially mark my third year in graduate school– where has the time gone? It’s wild to think that in two years I will be in my last semester, and on my way to transitioning back to life in the midwest. At the same time, I am beyond excited for all of the possibilities ahead!

As you know, I’ve been dreaming up my ideal green office full of botanicals, reclaimed wood, and open space.  At this point, I’m still keeping the big picture in mind, and saving the decor details for later. Pintrest continues to be a useful tool as I think about how I want the overall layout to look and feel.

For example, I love the tan leather chairs and plant-filled nook from the image above found over at Apartment Therapy. I can easily imagine this as a perfect corner in a small office space.

Continue reading “Dreaming of a Green Office (Part II)”

Style 004 / Word Up

    One lesson I’ve learned in my 30’s is that you have to work with what you’ve got. Had someone sat me down to explain this back in the day, I may have been better equipped to handle the bullying I experienced on a daily basis. In the small town that I grew up in, I did not have the luxury of seeing people who looked like me (outside of my family) that is more common in larger cities. I understand that most people of color, at some point in their lives, will be confronted with blatant or covert racism directed toward them in some manner. In my experience, small-town racism has a unique set of challenges, and concerns. There were just less of us around town, and being of Black and Native descent, people got ugly with me, real talk. They could not ‘place’ me, and I was often asked questions about the ethnicity of my parents, and my people. Yo, if I had a dollar for everytime I heard “Which one of your parents is white?”, “Are you mixed?” or “Why do your eyes ‘slant’?” I would have a nice little stack right about now. 

It was not until I got to Antioch for undergrad, when I finally started to love myself better. After all those years of bullying, racism, size-ism, and being called out of my name, it took me a while to undo, and unlearn this form of violence projected onto me. In truth, this process of unpacking has directly informed the evolution of my style, the patterns of which I am starting to see much more clearly these days. I think that is why I so love businesses that promote equality, justice, and sustainable practices. Most of my favorite clothing and accesssory staples are handmade items. I like to mix thrift and vintage with (a few) modern pieces in one outfit. I have a thing for t-shirts with a conscious message, like the one above. This tee was screen-printed by one of my comrades in college. It was used for on-campus demonstrations and organizing efforts geared toward addresseing institutional racism. I feel that t-shirts employ a similar mechansim to street art. They really do have the power to convey messages, a truly wearable work of art. 

Style is such an objective thing, though we are literally and metaphorically led to buy into the idea that there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to go about it. It really is a form of bullying. For me, I use style (not fashion, ’cause that shit fades) as a way to push back, to resist, to question, to respond, and to show my solidarity. It is, after all, within my power to do so. Now, I want to hear from you. How do you utilize style? In Solidarity, Christian

Space For Opportunity

 

I recently made a big career decision to quit my job, and work for myself again. If you are an artist, freelancer, or budding entrepreneur, you know how crazy scary this is! Tomorrow is my last day at the current gig, and it’s been an interesting experience balancing ‘new’ and ‘old’ work. It was a hard choice to make, and even though I feel that I made the right one, there are residual fears that keep coming up. I’m worried about things like making rent, staying organized and on-task, supply costs, having enough for groceries, etc. I am not unique in having these fears. There are folks struggling with much more, and with greater responsibility. I acknowledge the privilege that I have being a student in an esteemed graduate program. I also understand the opportunity in front of me to focus on growing community around my passions.

The most odd, and challenging thing for me is trusting myself. This has always been the mountain I return to, and climb over and over again. I can be shy and introverted, so one of my biggest business fallbacks is self-promoting, self-advertising (eek!). It’s just not my strongest skill. Even having a conversation with people about my new job is daunting. I wonder (and worry, a little) how people will respond to hearing me say I am and artist and student. At the same time, those who know me will just get it, right? I consider that a relief, and a blessing. Small business is about community, and a part of trusting myself is trusting my community, too.

Keeping perspective will be integral to this journey. When I did my SWOT analysis for last quarter, it became really clear how much I need to work on nurturing potential opportunities. Although this road will not be easy, I can rely on my professional and personal reflections to see where there is abundance, and work from that space. Here is a short list of some things I am really grateful for, that I hope will flourish even more over the coming months as I delve into this path.

  1. My connections with people, organizations, and business doing transformative, revolutionary, and justice-oriented work.
  2. Growing my skills and knowledge of Chinese Medicine and Herbology
  3. Living in the Southwest for the first time in my life, and being able to travel throughout this region.
  4. A flexible schedule that I can create, or re-create when necessary.

Any tips on small business and blog success? Send it my way, friends!  ♡ In Solidarity, Christian

Art To Motivate The New Year

2015The prospect of making changes is something we all face this time of year. As 2015 approaches, there are so many things to be thankful for. The lessons learned, the challenges, the accomplishments, are all a part of what supports the process of internal, and external growth. This October, I celebrated my first year anniversary as a small business owner. I never thought I would have tried to do this in a million years! Having witnessed both my mother and father go through the ups and downs of being self-employed, I understand the struggles that come with the job. At the same time, being able to share my work with others is truly a blessing that I try not to take for granted. After all, it is the connections we make that enrich our lives, and our work, whatever it is that we do.

That is what makes the New Year so special. It is an opportunity to evaluate, and envision, from where we are to where we want to be. In light of this, I am having a special 10 % off sale on all art prints in my Societ6 shop from December 26, 2014 – January 2, 2015.  If you’re not spent from all the holiday flare, and want to get yourself, a family member, or friend something unique, come on over to browse! Sometimes, art is just the thing we need to help us stay motivated to accomplish our goals. Speaking from experience, it never hurts to start early!

Creatively yours,

Christian