Last week the Tibetan monks were in Santa Fe at the Int’l Folk Art Museum on Museum Hill. I went to see them creating this intricate, gorgeous mandala out of colored sand. They worked as a team, creating an intricate, colorful masterpiece after just a few days.
How does this apply to decorating your home? I learned three important lessons watching the monks. And all three lessons apply to decorating your home.
LESSON #1: Patience with the process. The first lesson I learned was the extreme patience required to create something beautiful. Day after day the monks would bend over their emerging masterpiece with the patience of Job. A few grains of sand here, a few grains there. Carefully and methodically, patiently they worked. Step by step, the monks trust the process it takes to create.
Beautiful things take patience. Ask any woodworker who makes fine furniture with his/her hands. Something beautiful takes time. Something as simple as repainting a door properly …. It takes a few hours to do it right. There is the necessary prep work. The primer coat. Then the layers of paint, carefully and patiently applied. Trust the process. Maybe you are remodeling or you’re getting frustrated that your project is taking forever. If you have a home improvement project that is taking a long time, King Solomon’s own house took 13 years! (See 1 Kings 7:1) If your place is taking awhile, then remember Solomon. And remember the monks. P-a-t-i-e-n-c-e.
LESSON #2: Take only what you need. When the monks filled their long funnels with the colored sand, I noticed they only took as much sand as they needed at that moment.
Erma Bombeck said, “The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with ONLY a loaf of bread are three billion to one.” The same thing goes for our trips to the home improvement store. We go for one thing and come out with a cart full. Next time you go to the home improvement store, get only what you need. This is a good reminder - don’t buy a 5 gallon bucket of paint if you’re painting a tiny bathroom. Or if you’re staining a small table, maybe a just quart of stain will do the job. Heaven knows we DIYers tend to have too much leftover paint and stain in our garages. Let’s learn from the monks…. take only what we need.
LESSON #3: Some jobs are best left to the experts. Around the corner from where the monks were working, there was a very simplified sand mandala for the visitors to try their hand at making one. Cheerful volunteers coached us as to how to gently fill in the sections with colored sand. I had watched the monks many times and thought, "Pshh, I can do this!" But no matter how carefully I tried to achieve the same result, the little grains of sand would go outside the lines and tumble everywhere except where I intended.
There was no denying – the Tibetan monks were clearly the masters of this art. Here too is another lesson – no matter how easy something may appear, there are some jobs best left to the experts! How does this apply to you? Know when your home improvement projects are best done by an expert. No matter how many times you’ve watched This Old House House, or watched hours of tutorials on YouTube – there is a time to call in the experts.
Decorating lessons learned from the Drepung Loseling Monastery monks:
1) Have patience with the process.
2) Take only what you need.
3) Know some jobs are best left to the experts.