Unless you are an interior decorator or just have a knack for aesthetics, your living space is probably like most others: a TV, some wall décor, a table, maybe even a nice china cabinet. But does your living space contain anything unique that makes it special to you? Specifically, is there anything within your living space that truly resonates with your inner being? This resonance can be one of peace, strength, spirituality… anything that makes your living quarters an extension of you, or what you wish to be.
“We live as ripples of energy in the vast ocean of energy.” – Deepak Chopra
Here are 7 ideas on how you can create a living space that thrives…
1. Feng Shui
Feng means “wind” and Shui means “water,” which makes sense given that both words are associated with good health in Chinese culture. Thus, Feng Shui is based on Taoist doctrine that environments are alive and filled with qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy. Feng Shui aims to balance the energies within the environment, assuring good health and fortune for the inhabitants.
Advanced Feng Shui techniques are beyond the scope of this article, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some easy first steps to start the process. Here are a few first steps:
– Clear out clutter. Essentially, you are getting rid of everything in your house that you are not fond of.
– Have high quality air and light. Have as much natural light in the home as possible, open windows, and use spectrum lighting.
– Understand the 5 Feng Shui elements. This includes understanding the Bagua, or the energy map of your home, and the utilization of the earth, fire, metal, water, and wood elements to create the desired outcome.
2. Native American “Smudging”
Smudging is an old Native American tradition, used as a practice to cleanse a place, person or object of negative energies. While certainly a spiritual practice, conventional science does concur that the main herb used in smudging – sage – releases negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.
Essentially, smudging involves burning a dried plant and fanning the smoke over your body and home with a sacred intention – health, prosperity, or any other positive intent – while ordering negative energy and spirits to leave with firmness in your voice.
The basic steps of this practice include:
– Crack open a window or door in your home.
– Take a dried bundle of sage and place it in an abalone or clay shell, then light it with a wooden match.
– Gently blow out the flame while allowing the material to smolder.
– Symbolically wash your hands in the smoke, while taking some over your ears, eyes, heart and head. You may also breathe a little in, if desired.
– While starting at the left side of your front door, walk along the left wall around your entire home; praying, while asking the good spirits to stay and the negative spirits to leave.
– When finished, go outside and put the ashes of the sage at the front doorstep, which is thought to protect the entrance.
3. Have a Sacred space
To have a sacred space in your home, be it an entire room or small cornered area, is to have space where you can be silent, reflect, and get centered. With our lives being so busy, it is easy to forget that silence has the healing power of its own.
Here are some simple steps to set up a sacred space in your home:
– Define what “sacred” means to you. This can mean religion, spirituality, nature, or something else. Whatever it is, try to define it in a couple of words such as uplifting, calm, prayerful, peaceful or spiritual.
– Dedicate a spot in your home. This can be a room or corner of a room, dresser, table, or somewhere else.
– Create an altar. Try to use items that are meaningful to you and in-line with your definition (using the first step). If you are of a certain faith, you may want a symbol of that faith, such as a crucifix or a small Buddha. The nature of the items is not as important as their relative meaning to you.
– Create a ritual. Once you’ve created your sacred area, figure out when and how you want to utilize it. This is a very personal element to your sacred space, so just find the ritual means to you. Bear in mind that this is optional – you may wish to visit this space whenever the mood strikes.
4. Himalayan rock salt
The ratio of positive to negative ions in the air affects both our breathing and mood. Himalayan rock salt naturally emits negative ions, altering this balance to an optimal state. This balancing of ions allows us to breathe more naturally, have more energy, and maintain a positive state of mind.
This rock salt is most popular in Himalayan Salt Lamps, which has been used in Europe for years due to its multitude of positive health benefits and treatment of disorders such as asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and rheumatoid arthritis.
These lamps come in multiple sizes, but it is thought that having small, strategically-placed lamps provides a more effective ion balance than one large lamp. Yoga and reiki practitioners also use the lamps because of their tranquil, pleasant glow.
Considered a holistic, alternative form of medicine, aromatherapy involves the use of extracted, natural oils for psychological and physical wellbeing. The inhalation of these various oils is thought to stimulate brain function and provide whole-body healing through skin absorption.
Essential oils come in many forms, including jasmine, lavender, patchouli, tea tree, rosemary, and others. Depending on the strength and concentration of the oil, it may be combined with a lotion to dilute its strength and then applied to the skin.
In addition to skin application through lotions and creams, there are other practices as well. Examples include aromatherapy baths, massages, vapor inhalation and compression.
6. Art & Décor
Producing a work of art or skillful décor requires both exceptional talent and a lot of time. The final product is often a beautiful piece that is displayed on walls, played as a song, or framed as a photograph.
In addition to being beautiful pieces, they also provide an element of transformational ambiance to the space that it occupies. Great art is in such demand because of its ability to heal and inspire, change and evolve.
Our experiences on this Earth are very unique and personal, as is the art that is produced and appreciated by the people who inhabit it. That being said, it is important that you choose the art form that resonates with you; whether in a photograph, painting, drawing, or other. If you find something that inspires you, consider using the piece to enhance your space.
7. Balanced & Energetic Lighting
Numerous studies, such as the one undertaken by the Ohio State University’s Neuroscience Department, have concluded that different shades of lighting affect your mood. One interesting find: people who are less active at night should avoid bluish lighting, such as that given off by TVs and computer screens in order to not disturb their sleep patterns.
Most interior designers already know the unique effects that lighting has. Because of this, they utilize a mix of soft and hard lighting to create the desired atmosphere of the homeowner. However, you don’t need to be an interior designer to learn how to use lighting effectively.
If you desire to create a more restful ambiance in the dining room, for example, consider using soft (shadow-less) lighting effects. In areas where activity occurs, such as the living room or the kid’s playroom, consider using hard (or direct) light to create an atmosphere of liveliness.
For a great article on lighting your home, check out this Better Homes and Gardens article: http://www.bhg.com/decorating/lessons/basics/how-to-light-any-room/