Laura's license plate reads "NSIDEJB."

Inside job: not that of designing a home, but the job of your soul’s journey. Photo by Kristina Islas.

I’m sitting in the still, dark morning pondering post-meditation. The calendar in my kitchen tells me it’s September, which means our 20-year anniversary party is only two weeks away. Each month I wonder what the people of Piedmont will enjoy reading, so I sit quietly to explore what wants to come through. This month I’m feeling the urge to write about my intention when I say, “come home to your Self.” 

Its meaning is clear to me, but I’ve rarely shared deeply about it publicly. Today seems like as good a time as any to out myself as the lightworker I‘ve become. What is a lightworker? To me, it’s someone who lights the way to our higher selves. Someone who aims to shed the egoic, fear-based self in favor of an enlightened, love-filled self. Someone who guides, inspires, teaches, and transforms. 

Love for transforming hearts and homes is at the core of my identity, stemming from daily self-reflection over the past 30 years. There is so much joy in shifting away from an egoic life and into one based in soul. It’s a freedom unlike anything else, and it makes me passionate about sharing it with others. Colors are brighter, opportunities are bountiful, and relationships are deep and meaningful. We can decorate and design all we want, but if we don’t have love in our hearts, it doesn’t matter how fluffy our pillows are or how perfectly designed our kitchen is. 

The elation of investing in my body temple. Photo by Nick Wolf.

As a somewhat public person, it has at times felt vulnerable to share from the part of me that sounds “woo.” A fellow designer once referred to me as that “hippie” designer. Why?! Because I went to Cal and like to talk about feelings? Have you seen how I dress? I’m no hippie. Though I do love a good kaftan…

Of course, it was my ego that got triggered by that label. That’s the way it goes when we put ourselves out there. There are always critics, and perfectionists don’t like to be criticized  — even recovering perfectionists like myself have tender parts. So how to give my gifts in a world of detractors who’d rather I keep my multiple selves separate? I want to give all of me, my whole self. Not just the parts deemed appropriate for an interior designer. 

Every month I’ve wondered how to write from soul without vexing those who want me to simply perform. I believed in the lie that to be successful, I’d have to hide that part for fear of offending those who’d rather enjoy my craft without the story behind it. The problem with that, though, was the resulting ego journey. I thought I had to be perfect. I contorted myself to please. I threw myself on my own sword and didn’t set boundaries. I strained to look good and smile throughout it all.

Laura clutches her hands to her heart at the start of a rock maze near a beach.

Connecting with the divinity of nature. Photo by Anna Scott.

The beauty of self-reflection over these 20 years as a business owner has shown that living from perfection was actually robbing me of a quality life. But as time marched on, the walk home to my Self shortened. I now see the gift in all those years I lacked boundaries and did what I thought I should do rather than what I wanted to do. They led me here, to this authentic self who is truly joy-filled and turns people on from the inside out. Have you seen my license plate? It reads “NSIDEJB.” I’m not referring to the job of designing your home. I mean the job that is your soul’s journey. Awakening takes time, and there are no shortcuts. But as someone who has journeyed through her darkest shadows, I can tell you it is worth it. 

My desire is that something here resonates with your experience, and allows you to connect with what I’m writing. Being a writer and an interior designer is a blessing, as the gifts of my craft are creative. I get to do what I love, and choose a path that lights the way for others, either through beauty making or sharing insights to awaken minds and hearts. 

My altar: a place where I set my intentions and walk home to my self. Photo by Laura Martin Bovard.

This is a landmark year, marking 20 years of growth for my little business that could. I couldn’t have envisioned it back when I was an overperforming, people-pleasing perfectionist pregnant with my first child, wondering how we’d pay the bills. Hindsight for me now is literally 20/20: 20 years in business, and 20 lessons on how to be a happier, healthier, more generous, and creative person. I’ve arrived at the realization that a teenage runaway can become an evolved human who understands the value in beauty making isn’t in designing kitchens, curating furniture, hiring and firing employees, negotiating contracts, orchestrating photoshoots, and writing blogs… it’s about walking myself home and bringing along as many souls as I can on the path as I go. 

As a multi-passionate person, I thought I had to choose between being an interior designer OR being a lightworker. But I’ve realized this business actually designed this self who can’t keep the two separate any longer. 

A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post