Nurturing Warmth in Creative Spaces

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April 22, 2020 – Day 37 of my quarantine.

Working as a builder in the virtual realm, I have always worked in industrial buildings. For many, many years I worked in a big red warehouse –

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I also worked in various garages and other “industrial feeling” structures. One of the reasons I liked my big red warehouse was that it was big enough for me to move my camera around the objects I was building so I could more efficiently manipulate component parts. Some of the things I build, like vehicles, can have several hundred little parts, like in their engines, for example.

A device I have found invaluable for working in 3D virtual environments is the 3D Connexion Space Navigator

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It allows me to move my camera in and around objects quickly and efficiently in 3D space. I doubt that I could have become a successful builder without this tool.

I also liked that I could have many objects and tools out where I could see them. I am very right-brained and, consequently – visually oriented. I have to SEE things to know they are there. This extends to my real life as well. I do not have a dresser for my clothes, choosing instead to keep them either hanging in the closet or folded on shelves where I can “see” them.

But the issue with these “industrial feeling” structures with their cold, concrete floors & walls and corrugated tin siding is that they exude no feeling or inviting mood of warmth and comfort. They serve a singular purpose – they are a workspace.

Since I retired from commercial virtual building in January I have become much more attuned to how my virtual environment played a part in my feeling oppressed and pressured to “work” and “be successful” as a business person. Until that inevitable moment when I finally burned-out.

I love virtual building, I love experimenting and pushing my virtual environment to its limits, out of pure curiosity – but there is no question in my mind anymore that I must only do so for my own amusement and satisfaction from now on.

So, I spent the last couple of days searching for a new kind of structure to build in. One that would no longer reinforce this idea of “work” and “obligation”. I looked at stores, garages, clubs, warehouses, homes, workshops, and finally, barns.  And I finally found it. But what I also did was combine this barn with a forest environment I have had in my inventory for many years, unused.  Here are the results –

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The warmth is palpable in this building space. I added several little animals in the forest and the sounds of a babbling brook for the stream that runs in the back as well as sweet little songbird and nature sounds. I also added meadows of gently swaying tall grass and flowers spread around the perimeter which added just the right amount of color and peaceful feelings of aliveness.

My life partner and I were both emotionally moved by the feelings of sheer tranquility and peace this little virtual space exudes.

More and more research now suggests that the human brain cannot distinguish the difference between what it is “really” experiencing and what it is “virtually” experiencing, especially when placed in an immersive environment. So these types of positive emotional feelings can be very uplifting.  This has lead to virtual environments now being used to treat all sorts of serious psychological issues like PTSD and phobias.

I’d like to close out this post with a composition and performance from one of my friends in the virtual world, Tsu, (Jim Cook) who is a live performer in Second Life. This is my all-time favorite song of his. If this does not relax and soothe you – nothing will.

Sending you all my Love and Light. Stay strong and Stay Safe out there.

Until next time …