This is the twelfth in a series of guest posts written by some of my favorite bloggers. To understand what this is about, you can read this post: 

This one in particular was written by the sweet Tamara Dalton. She is a Florida Registered Interior Designer based in Fort Lauderdale. Through her design practice, she offers full-service interior design and also e-decorating and design packages for do-it-yourselfers. In addition to the “fabulous” world of design, she can usually be found playing with her kids, reading a lot of science fiction, doing yoga and modern dance, and excitedly describing how much stuff she recycles and how easy it was to create her own compost bin. She may also be found on Twitter @tammyjdalton and facebook .

When Ana asked me to contribute to her lovely blog with an entry about “harmony,” I was honored and excited.  I’ve been mulling over this word for a few weeks now, and I’ve decided that this one simple little word has such vast, nuanced meanings, that it’s truly a challenge to define what it means to me.

Harmony is a lovely word, but the English language, sometimes, does not do justice to the meanings of certain words.  Harmony is one of these words.  I find myself coming back to, over and over again, one of my favorite Spanish words to clearly express harmony:  Simpatico

Simpatico reminds me of sympathy, connection, ease and pleasing, relaxed and calm, happy….harmonious.

I’ve read through all the other posts, and I’ve noticed that everyone has such different ways of describing harmony.  Different and yet, somehow also similar.  References to music, food, spatial relationships, architecture, branding, business relationships, and the highly personal stories of adventures and life events that honed that feeling of simpatico to a fine humming point.

We are such visceral creatures, us humans.  Harmony is something that we strive for with all of our physical senses.  It is difficult to define and describe, but we know it when we sense it.  And we do sense it through all five of our senses.

  • My eyes see colors, patterns, movement and stillness, light and dark, shadows and textures.
  • My ears hear sounds, music and song, rhythms, language, poetry spoken, and silence.
  • My nose detects scents of food, arousal, danger, and the coming rain.
  • My mouth tastes deliciousness and rot, sweet and sour, salty and savory, heat and cold, infinite variety and memory.
  • My body feels rhythms of movement, rhythms of sound, pleasure and pain, hot and cold, the form of words into speech, the space around me, the pull of gravity and the intense desire to defy it, and the space within as my breath expands and contracts my lungs and my heart beats in my chest.

The whole body feels through skin, muscle, sinew, and bone, and we constantly try to capture in thought and word, how to make sense of these feelings we are feeling.   And all the while we try to elicit “harmony” through order, regularity, accord, congruency, predictability and ease.  We feel so safe there.

However, harmony is elusive.  We pursue it relentlessly, searching for it, craving it, anticipating it and then savoring it for the moments during which it appears, knowing inherently that it is fleeting and that harmony cannot exist without also discord.

Through my training as a dancer, I’ve learned that oppositional forces work to produce balance.  Momentum and rebound.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Your arms and legs swing in opposition to one another to propel your body through space as a smooth, coordinated machine.  And at that moment when the oppositional forces are acting in concert together, briefly you are suspended, weightless and perfect, the tension at its most intense during a millisecond of stillness, until gravity and momentum takes over to move you once more.  That is classical physics at its best.  But the feeling is quantum.  The feeling you get when you experience it, whether performer or audience, is harmony.  As soon as you notice it, it’s gone, but the residuals are simpatico.

Harmony is but a moment in time, fleeting, flitting away, daring us to catch it and keep it.  A moment of Presence and infinite probability, when all things are possible and yet impossible, and everything just works, but only momentarily.  Achieved, but never sustained, because if it was sustained it would cease to exist.