The Luxury of Soul / Meryanne Loum-Martin – Ep. 58
November 30, 2022
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
I recently returned from teaching a workshop at an extraordinary boutique retreat center on the outskirts of Marrakech. It is called Jnane Tamsna. Experiencing this place reminds me of 2 core ideas I teach artists to help make their art and, frankly, their life stronger:
#1 Surround yourself with what brings you alive.
#2 Never stop believing that whatever you can dream, more than likely, is possible.
How can a particular place do this? How is it possible that experiencing the new feelings, colors and scents of this place inspire? How can the creative vision of one inspire so many?
Today I am in conversation with the visionary designer and hotelier Meryanne Loum Martin. She has redefined luxury not in the usual financial way but in terms of exactly what money can’t buy: Soul. She overcame and ignored prevalent racial and sexual prejudices and created Morocco’s first lifestyle brand hotel. Today Meryanne and the places she creates are legendary. Icons of fashion and design, as well as celebrities of film, dance, and music, all come to experience her contemporary, gorgeous lifestyle aesthetic. Her refined design sense, philosophy, and deep respect for Moroccan culture are all intertwined in a cosmopolitan approach to living and art now known worldwide as simply “Moroccan Style.”
Join Meryanne and me for this conversation about differences, mindset, and soulful opulence. We sit together amongst Moroccan antiquities, contemporary art and fresh-cut roses at her Moroccan destination, Jnane Tamsna.
Listen if you are interested in…
- A snapshot of my experience at Jnane Tamsna [3:19]
- The importance of inspirational places and experiences [5:57]
- Examples of how Meryanne designs spaces that inspire [17:17]
- How Meryanne developed the name for her venue before creating it [29:48]
- Meryanne’s aesthetic: a daring, bold, creatively confident expression [35:48]
Inspirational places and experiences can fuel your artistic journey
Meryanne says that though she is a hotelier, she couldn’t care any less about selling rooms for the night. The reason she runs her hotel is to create a space where people feel happy and inspired and are able to get the best out of their own creativity. That gives her an experience of bliss and happiness about the contribution she’s making to the world.
I find that places can be catalysts for inspiration and accelerated creativity. It’s much easier, for example, for me to teach others about art and the artistic journey and process, when I’m able to do so in a place that is visually stunning or inspiring. Meryanne’s retreat center, Jnane Tamsna, is one of those places. Morocco is a place with many layers of culture and the city of Marrakech itself is at the crossroads of so many cultures and personal and national histories. Meryanne’s journey is a part of the story and ambiance of the space she’s created. Listen to her story and learn how the different lives she’s had to live have empowered her to develop the contributions to the world she’s made.
Spaces that inspire are personal, and intentional
Meryanne doesn’t believe that it’s appropriate to count pennies when it comes to the experience that she wants to share with guests. For example, she doesn’t see the point in placing a few flower petals on a table when a bouquet of 80 roses could be there instead. She wants to express the wealth of feelings, colors, and sense that are a part of Marrakech. The generosity she employs in creating her spaces and putting on events is evident. It’s an embodiment in what she believes and who she is.
That approach is magnetic, it attracts those who want to experience that same sort of thing and it serves as inspiration to them, to show them how they could live their lives in a similar way. The difference between how people are when they arrive and how they are when they leave is an example of what a space that’s created so intentionally and from the personality of the space’s creator can do for those who encounter it.
The lovely thing about Meryanne’s approach is that it doesn’t cost much to do, from a financial perspective. She says it’s an issue of having the eyes to see what is possible and the means that you already have to make that possibility a reality.
How Meryanne’s daring, bold, creatively confident expression is an example of what you can do, right now
One of the ways I described the look of things in Meryanne’s property is that she puts things together that don’t normally go together. I wanted to know how she has become so bold as to take risks on design in the ways that she does. Her response was that we should not feel that anyone has the authority to tell us that certain things don’t go together. For her, the concept of what is possible and what is impossible, varies with the individual. I am intrigued by this: Why do some people have a broader, more expansive sense of what is possible than others?
Meryanne says that these types of visionary people imagine first, they see the outcome in their minds. This is where the difference comes from. Those who are unable to get beyond their concept of what is possible do not realize that they have put that limitation on themselves, it’s a boundary of their own thinking and belief.
This is a concept we discuss in many of our teachings and workshops. The things we envision doing may be out of reach for the moment, but we can always do things on a smaller scale that provide the same feeling, the same inspiration, and keep us on the track toward the possibility of that more spacious vision coming about in time. This mindset practice becomes a habit that trickles down into other areas of life and it starts from opening your own mind to new ways of thinking.
Resources & People Mentioned
- MeryAnne’s book: Inside Marrakesh: Enchanting Homes and Gardens
Connect with Meryanne Loum-Martin
- Meryanne’s retreat center, where I taught: https://www.jnanetamsna.com/
- Jnane Tamsna on Instagram
- Jnane Tamsna on Twitter
- Jnane Tamsna on Facebook
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.