The Inspiration for Star Rose Shoin
There is a series of inspirational sources for the name and motivation of Star Rose Shoin. The first came about as I realized it was time to make my living plan and lifestyle space have an air of simple elegance. Two books cited at the end of the article provided decoration advice and positive changes that are still in progress but so far have been of excellent help in this quest for self-improvement with a purpose.
The next resource of enlightenment is my enjoyment of gems and minerals. There are two marvelous shops in the Chicago area that specialize in teaching about and selling these natural beauties, and one store has a stunning selection of stones that produce star-like effects when seen in just the right lighting. The stars are a result of crystal growth within quartz and other gems that centrally align three lines to produce a simple six-pointed star. With patience (a vital element in a gently balanced life), as you gently rotate the sphere you will see them in rose quartz and gem cabochons such as rubies and sapphires.
Then there is this fact: living in the United States and in the city of Chicago, a young nation and a young city so far as civilizations go, I have found out a lot about myself and that with which I and this nation have been endowed. Chicago has made headlines that lean towards the negative, unfortunately, but there are solutions that are tried and changes aplenty to make; we have not given up hope or vision completely. There is a sense of behavioral disconnect in our society; what is causing this lingering fragmentation is a subject long debated. But there are places of hope around and within us; what we do with this energy is the realm and audience chamber of wisdom.
Some people say that Chicago’s hot-water – hot-buttons of gang warfare and its off-shooting violence, the poor education system and an appointed school board, segregation, high taxes and governmental greed, and lackluster groups of officials are what is holding back progress and are among America’s worst problems as well. Some say it is the scattered provision of Web connections, some say it is too much online connection. Some call out road rage, some point the finger at corporate corruption, and some rant about racism. Each of these aspects has its place in the national problem spotlight, but can we find a common denominator that reduces the scattering of issues to a basic key to unlock the blocked and clouded energies? You can begin to sense a glimmer of hope in my father’s daily mantra: There is always room for improvement.
This leads to an explanation of the third word in the site’s title: Shoin. It is a term used in Japanese architecture and interior design, a style of simple grace and elegance based on a type of desk built into very formal rooms of traditional homes. The Shoin style lights a path to a lifestyle of clean living, uncluttered, reduced, and yet aristocratic in its use of high-quality materials and especially the welcoming atmosphere such homes and rooms present to visitors. Step through the genkan, settle in, be refreshed and relaxed and take in the splendid feeling of warm balance.
A second source of interior simplification is the Pure Tao style. This is a lifestyle change that is similar to how in architecture and design people departed the Victorian tendency to fill spaces with baubles, art, and heavy furniture that gathered a lot of dust, in favor of the Mission and Prairie styles, ideal examples of which are found throughout Illinois and other parts of the Midwest, that also find elements of the Asian approach to decoration and daily life. Pure Tao incorporates soft colors, minimal and streamlined furnishings, nature, and facets of routine that maintain the essentials of cleanliness, comfort, and clarity of mind and ease of action. Furnish your space with simple things or items that have personal meaning, that give you a sense of grounding and of elevation; but a vital aspect is to include in any space only a few things in order that there not be clutter in any sense – physical, visual, mental, or spiritual.
As we make this journey together, it is my humblest and deepest hope that through sharing, learning, and forward vision we will all become service stations for improvement of ourselves and our nation.
1. Mehta, Geeta and Kimie Tada. Japan Style. Tuttle, 2005.
2. Logan, Divi. Lincoln Park Flowers, 2015, photograph, Chicago, Illinois.
3. Lee, Vinny. Coming Home: Spiritual Interiors. Watson-Guptill, 2002.
You may also visit these fine small businesses: On the Rocks on North Clark Street and Precious Possessions on North Michigan Avenue for selections of gems, minerals, raw and polished stones, and jewelry.
Skill tools for my photographs: Canon A-1 SLR and Leica V-LUX-4 Digital Bridge Camera.