A landing place for the jaded gaze
A scenic interruption of the mundane
A visual invitation
For 10 glorious days Maui offered us multiple, exotic cameos (and a perfect getaway despite coming home pale as ever, 3 pounds heavier).
A centerpiece can surprise or transport us, like these top-lit, dream-state jellyfish.
A centerpiece can appear anywhere, at any time, arresting our attention, like these patterns formed by loosening plastic film on window panes.
For me, creating a centerpiece feels like making an altar. It awakens the senses. Lifts the spirit. Mom taught me this.
A “found” centerpiece, like these photos, offers unique spontaneous pleasures—no work involved.
Best of all, we don’t need a tropical island to create an island of calm in our day.
What’s in a name?
Centerpiece — imagination toys with the spelling:
Sent her peace
I grin, yet feel a small ache. Could this be code for something worth naming?
For centuries spiritual seekers have zeroed in on a word or phrase they long to deeply experience.
A verbal centerpiece.
I’m describing a shirt-tail cousin to Lectio Divina, the monastic practice of daily reflecting on a word or phrase gleaned from scripture or other spiritual texts.
Dwelling for a day beneath a word like a banner feels bracing. A mental upgrade.
Annually, I choose a word or phrase for the coming year. Not because I’m hyper-spiritual.
No. Call me The Distraction Magnet. My soundest intentions are easily foiled. Plus I’m forgetful. I need Cliffs Notes for more aware living — preferably the haiku version. Abridged.
Words with variable interpretations nurture, guide, and challenge me.
If they pull double duty as noun and verb, all the better.
To keep things fresh, I sometimes substitute new words. Write them on jaunty place cards and sticky notes, then affix them to dashboards and mirrors. Handlebars. Calendars. Closet shelves. Cupboard doors.
I fold them into wallets and tuck them inside books I’m reading.
Like cheeky cartoon captions, well-chosen words re-focus me, streamline my thoughts. Refresh my intention.
The briefest soul download . . . in a single glance.
Sometimes they affect my Yays and Nays. They help me:
cull old nemeses
Centerpiece living vs feature creep
During childhood my brother craved those fluffy corner pieces on bakery cakes, inch-deep in piped ridges and clustered roses.
I preferred middle pieces, choir-girl modest beneath a skim of white icing.
Too much of anything jangles me, be it whipped lard-and-sugar, caffeine, or excess input—including Costco and media touting myriad products, ever-breaking news and images.
Give me the gist. The essence. The heart of the matter, where I can briefly rest.
And catch those small messages hidden in plain sight.
Today I want to sense the crux of things . . .
in decor and diet
conversations, letters, emails
prayers, poems, and blog posts
events and interactions
And tonight, recount each centerpiece of the day—those created, and those found.
“It’s simple,” Mom said. “Just do this, often”:
Any “found centerpieces” in your day so far? I’d love to hear about them.
Why not create one for your desk or table? Or your screen saver?