My Conscious Living Wake-Up Plan

In the Beginning

Last year when I started this blog my main focus was my external world and associated projects. What I’ve learned in the last eleven months, is that to truly connect with my outside world I need to take a more holistic approach. So…I’m zooming out a bit and expanding the scope of this blog to include my entire journey. Instead of trying to limit my entries to those specific to projects related to biophillic design principles, I’m going to open this up (more formally) to entries that promote my journey into Conscious Living. My writing has already wondered about a bit as I’ve gone through some major emotional life changes this last year…this is just formalizing it a bit. I’m still intensely interested in biophillic design, particularly green roofing, and plan to look for ways to bring more of that type of thinking/doing into my everyday life and work, but I expect my writings this year will also include more about ways to provide self-care, promote enlightenment, and in general, live in a more conscious manner in all aspects of my life.


For me, conscious living means living in the highest state of awareness as I can muster in the moment.  It means having the courage to face the reality of the moment and not numb-out, sleep-walk or drift through my days.  This can be scary; life is constantly changing, most noticeably when we don’t want it to.  There are many teachings on the concept of the impermanence of life – the fluidity of the people, places, and situations that make up our world – and frankly sometimes it just seems easier to not think about all that and numbly do the next thing on my life until it’s time to go to bed, wake up and start over again.

My goal is simple, to raise my awareness whenever possible (and when it occurs to me) so that I can experience a deeper level of satisfaction with my actions, choices, and people in my life.

Where to start?  I like to think in metaphors….and to carry forward the theme of my site (tar2trees) I think a tree provides perfect framework for my Wake-Up Plan.  My plan is build a healthy root system from which to grow…focusing on my 3 core aspects that make up me:

  1. Mental Awareness – Reshaping thoughts and beliefs that have created who I think I am in the world
  2. Spiritual Awareness – Connectedness with something bigger than me
  3. Physical Awareness – Conscious actions toward a healthier embodiment of the Mental and Spiritual me

My belief is that by focusing what I believe are the roots of me, that I will be build a sturdy trunk, from which I can branch out and share/experience life on a deeper more connected level with the people and causes most important to me.  I’m excited to see how the next 11 months unfold!

My “Tree of Life”

Awareness Tree

Master Bathroom Remodel

Finally…after living with a very uninspired and dysfunctional master bathroom I finally took the time this last fall to do a simple remodel.  I was also motivated by the fact that my house only had one shower, downstairs, and I was getting a housemate and wanted us both to have private baths.  I kept the footprint of the orginal Master bathroom the same but was able to replace a pedistal sink with a double vanity, adding tons of storage, and replacing a jetted tub with a huge glass tile shower.  The pictures are not great (I need a real camera if I’m going to keep up this blog thing….), but in person it looks great.

I went with floor to ceiling glass tile and a pebble floor in the shower, and a ceramic tile in the vanity area.  A heavy glass door, with thick glass on top of the shower walls.  I did need to put in a smaller window, which actually looks much better fro the outside the large window did before.

  • Wall & Floor Tiles:  Home depot
  • Bathroom Mirror/Sink/Vaintiy:  IKEA
  • Glass Shower: Custom
  • Paint:  TBD
  • Hardware:  TBD

Total cost?  ~8-10k

Shower Before and After

Shower Details

Vanity Area

House and Garage Get a Facelift

She is 84 after all…I’m sparing you the 3,000 pictures of the entire process showing the piles and piles of garbage and complete chaos a project like this creates…needless to say the neighborhood was VERY happy when this project was complete.  Before the facelift, it really was one of the most unappealing houses on the block.  The pink-ish vinyl siding wasn’t exactly vintage Portland.   We built a new garage in 2011 with the intent of matching the pinkish siding, since we knew we couldn’t afford to reside the main house.  But, as luck would have it, the contractor couldn’t locate this wondering siding…and feeling bad he offered to reside the entire main house at cost (love my contractor).  Thank you ugly siding!!!!!  It took another year to get to the main house but now it’s finally finished and results are very satisfying.

The Garage:

The original garage was completely useless, you can’t tell from the pictures but the roof was rotted and the interior was a scary, moldy, damp, mess.  The seller did put a new door on the garage…what a surprise when I opened it to find a rotted core!  I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have a garage…the entire landscaping project of 2012 would not have possible without this new garage in place first.

12-31-2012 1-33-45 PM

Main House:

The issues with the main house may not be readily apparent from the pictures.  The 2nd story addition that was added before the house was purchased in 2005 created a big, ugly, blank wall that faced the street – devoid of any architectural interest.  The existing fence was also rotting off the rails.  For the 1st 5 years the focus was on creating camouflage, knowing that new siding was too expensive.  This consisted of planting >6 trees, 1 of which you can see on the left side of the top right picture, during “Operation Hide The House”.  The new siding is HardiePlank, which is more in keeping with the stype of the neighborhood, and the darker color helps the house recede a bit and not stand out like a sore thumb as it did before.

12-31-2012 1-55-57 PM

2012 was a good year for curb appeal.  It took 7 years but now I feel proud of my house when I drive up instead of apologetic.  The neighbors are VERY happy, and it will now free me up to focus on overhauling the front yard and curbs this spring/summer.