Harmony: balance, symmetry, and flow
The design aesthetic of harmony isn’t something we can always see, often times it is something we feel.
What does harmony feel like?
“Though I initially saw harmony as sitting in tension with aesthetics like freedom and energy, I began to suspect it might ground and balance these more exuberant aesthetics in ways that could make them even more potent.” (page 108)
The chapter on the design aesthetic of harmony and how it makes others feel caused me to pause and consider two main themes.
First, JOY can be found in order as you seek to create harmony.
Ingrid explained, “When I thought about it this way, I realized that the JOY of order comes in large measure from what it opposes: chaos and disorder. Order isn’t dull and staid. It is a tangible manifestation of a vibrant harmony, of disparate parts working in concert to sustain the graceful balance of life.” (106)
I have distinct memories of when my three children were all small and there were toys all over the house by the end of the day. My husband was always asking me why we went through the efforts of picking it all up and organizing it when we knew by morning the toys would be back all over the floor. The order brought me JOY as I would have my cup of coffee and smile at the clean floor hoping that these efforts would prepare me for another day of chaos.
Second, perfectly imperfect things come together to produce harmony that leads to JOY.
Ingrid discovered, “It didn’t seem to matter what was being put into order. Simply arranging similar objects into geometric configurations was enough to transform anything into a source of delight.” (page 105)
Seeking to create harmony is not about perfection and this makes me feel relieved. Think about the example of a quilt. Balance, symmetry, and flow can usually be seen in a quilt and harmony can be felt, yet the seams and patterns may not be perfect. The imperfect, squiggly stitching pattern that is superimposed on top of a perfectly geometric design comes together to create harmony.
So I will leave you with this to ponder…
What does harmony feel like for you and how can you attempt to create it in your workplace so that it leads to JOY?
How can we help our students to experience harmony?
“Harmony.” Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, by Ingrid Fetell Lee, Little, Brown Spark, 2018, pp. 103–133.