What do you have that’s not about betterment, not about movement, not about personal growth? What do you have that has no agenda attached?

What do you do in your life that has no purpose other than your simple enjoyment of it? What do you have that has no justifications?

We need these things. It has taken me forever to realize that I needed them in order to be whole, and that without embracing the yin to my yang, I am fundamentally incomplete. We all are. Not in a “get it all perfectly balanced” kind of way, but in a way where that which we deny leaves a gaping void that cannot be filled with more of the same.

But This Isn’t Deep

Actually, I’m talking about fashion and home decorating.

With all of this lush navel-gazing and courageous living, looking for the opportunity to love bigger and play integrity like it’s a guitar and I’m Hendrix live at Woodstock, I’ve narrowed down my “non-work activities” accordingly:

* Yoga or running (good for mind and soul; supports courageous living).
* Coffee with friends (good for mind and soul; supports courageous living).
* Reading books and visiting bookstores (good for mind and soul; supports courageous living).

And, um. Yawn.

Even the play was becoming like work.

Way off in the corner were these little whispers that I spent a helluva a lot of time trying not to pay attention to: fashion and home decorating. The costuming of my person and the mix and matching of my home. For years, I’ve resisted the call–while, interestingly enough, surrounding myself with people who openly adore both.

Why was I resisting the call? “All of that stuff is so superficial.” Interestingly, I wouldn’t have applied that comment to any of my friends. But for myself? A waste of time and money–why, money should be spent on books! On travel! On yoga classes!

— On things that really…mattered.

–On things that are deep and meaningful and furthering my personal evolution…

Lack an Agenda

But here’s what I’ve come to realize: all of this work considering my actions deeply and trying to sound the clarion call of courage for others was putting me so in my head that sometimes, I didn’t know where the fuck else to go. I needed something that was lacking in agendas.

For me, that’s fashion and home decorating, which I now realize complements my heady, “contemplate the Universe and its larger meaning” tendencies. Give me tea and a stack of design books. Let me wander an antique store. I will completely recharge my batteries wandering the racks of some knock-off bargain basement store like TJMaxx, contemplating options–even if I don’t spend a penny.

Hair curling. Scouting for new pins and people to follow on Pinterest. $6 smokey eye kits from Target. Bring it. It’s all so ridiculously fun for me to play with, like a grown-up version of playing dress up. And if it’s frivolous? Well, then–so what. For god’s sake, grown men spend hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours playing video games or setting up fantasy football drafts. Why do women get so much shit over fashion?

It’s Not “Balance” Exactly

I think it’s more of an 80/20 proportional kind of thing, sort of like Danielle LaPorte’s description of the 80/20 balance in Style Statement–80% of you lives grounded primarily in one place, while 20% of you embraces something complementary that gives you a bit of an edge (I’m Sacred-Bold, by the way, for all of you Style Statement fans).

So–It’s not in my truest nature to spend entire days considering the proper shade of cream for my bedroom, in the way it is definitely in my nature to spend my days considering something a client has shared with me during a session, and what we might talk about when we meet again. But the complete absence of my own personal 20%–the things that were “trivial,” that meant nothing? Their absence was wearing me thin. So consider these ideas:

If you’re an artist, consider where you might need some time with, of all things– a book of math equations.

If you’re an accountant, roll up your sleeves and fingerpaint.

If you’re a gifted tri-athlete, start heading to church on Sundays to sing gospel.

If you’re a gospel singer, un-do a few buttons and take a pole dancing exercise class.

The growth of everything in nature happens because room is made for complementary “opposites”–there are the times of year that provide optimal growth conditions for thriving, and the times of year when a plant dies off or is food for an animal that’s passing through while it’s on its own cycle of changing seasons.

We all need our complements, the things that provide a bit of nonsensical fun, to balance out our truest natures and make us whole.

What are yours?

P.S. Find me on Pinterest by looking for Kate Courageous. If you, too, find yourself sighing and thinking, “I would love to own a Noguchi coffee table,” or “That Michael Kors sweater is beautiful,” then we’d probably get along famously. And–here are my absolute favorite home-design lust books:


UnDecorate by Christiane Lemieux

The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carly Roney
Design Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney
Decorate by Holly Becker