In week 1 of “Creating a Peace Full Home, Step-By-Step“, I talked about how each of us is going to experience our home as “peaceful” in different ways.
Last week, I jumped into STEP 1: how much stuff you currently have in your home.
Today we’ll move on to:
STEP 2. how you “feel” in each part of your home, and then tackle
STEP 3: the physical space you have and what’s in it
STEP 2: Have you ever had the experience of going away for a while and then, when you get home, noticing all kinds of “things” about your house? It’s the same as “the sock on the TV phenomenon”, from last week. When we’re in a space all the time we often don’t notice changes, especially the subtle ones. In our homes it may be that the cabinets have filled up gradually, or that the trim paint has chipped a little bit at a time. Since those things didn’t just appear one day, they don’t jump out at us. There’s too much else going on to pay attention to something that you take for granted. We “expect” what we’re going to see when we get home and don’t notice little shifts. We do the same thing with the people we interact with all the time. We might not listen as intently (or even listen at all). We may mumble a response (or assume that since a specific question wasn’t asked, a response isn’t’ required). We take too much for granted.
I want you to dedicate some time and look at your home from a new perspective (STEP 2). This exercise is best done when you’re in a “neutral” place; not riding high from an excellent day at the office or wonderful family news, and certainly not when you’re stressed out, overwhelmed or already on the brink of tears. I’m asking for neutrality because I want you to be as honest as you can in the process.
Start at the place you typically enter your home: though the garage, mudroom, front door.
Fill in the blank: When I walk into my home I feel__________.
The answer could be anything. Some examples: happy, stressed, relieved, overwhelmed, calm, sad, excited, depressed.
There’s not a “right” or “wrong” answer. I simply want to create awareness. Write down the answer or answers- don’t overanalyze it right now.
Then walk away.
Repeat the sentence in each doorway into your home.
Next, walk into each room.
Again, fill in the blank:
When I walk into my (bedroom, living room, dining room, etc.) I feel__________.
If you live with a significant other, and he/she is willing to take this journey with you, have him/her do the same thing. In a home with partners, it’s important that both people’s ideas and feelings are heard.
If you become overwhelmed because you’re finding it tough to assign positive feelings to any room, then walk away for that day. The goal is to find out which areas of your home lift you up and “wrap you in a blanket of support and calm” and which areas simply exhaust you or bring you down.
After you’ve completed the exercises, sit down and look at your responses. Does every entrance and room in your home “feel” welcoming to you? If so, how wonderful. Obviously you’re very in tune with the importance of home speaking to your heart. If not, break it down into manageable chunks. Start with the way you enter your home and then move onto the bedroom. Many people spend their time, energy and decorating dollars on the “public spaces” first. It’s more important that your home works for YOU. Where you walk into your home, and where you go to sleep at night are critical in creating peace.
Once you’ve gotten rid of clutter and analyzed how you react to each space in your home, you’re ready to move onto STEP 3: the physical space you have and what’s in it. There are many projects that can significantly change your physical space. You can sound proof walls and ceilings, or add carpeting and window treatments to soften the rooms and absorb noise. If you have a budget to make significant changes, by all means, do so. If not, tweak what you can. Lighting can significantly change how a room “reads” and “feels”. When possible, enhance natural light. Consider overhead lights (with dimmers) combined with ambient lighting. Remember firelight and candlelight add atmosphere and light. Everything in a space impacts how it “feels”.
Think about creating “zones” inside your home so that you have dedicated spaces for diverse activities. The most critical is a technology-free zone: a space without electronics that’s restful, where you can recharge and cue your subconscious to be calm and peaceful. Please be purposeful about creating this space first. It should be where you can go and let go of stress. In addition to spaces for rest and relaxation, dedicate other areas for separate activities: TV watching (if you do that), reading, eating (where you can sit down and enjoy your food, instead of quickly consuming it), and technology. Although most of us do a LOT of multi-tasking (something I do far too much), there’s a lot to be said for “time and place”.
Even after decluttering, do you still possess physical items that have unpleasant memories or associations attached to them? For many of us, home is, at least in part, a three-dimensional photo album of our lives.
Does that chair, that belonged to your great-aunt, make you smile or remind you of how she always put you down?
Does the set of china in your breakfront get used and bring your joy or is it simply taking up space until you can figure out how to get rid of it?
Do the pieces of art on your walls make you smile?
Do the framed photographs recall happy times or are they reminders of a past that was painful?
Remember, that your home should lift you up not bring you down. The bottom line is: does each item add to or detract from your life in YOUR home?
My mantra is: “love it or use it”. That means that everything you own fits into one of these two categories:
it has a utilitarian purpose- you actually “use it” or
it has positive emotional ties, meaning it brings you joy or reminds you of a wonderful person or time- you “love it”.
It’s ideal when you get to “use” something you “love”. Keep in mind that, even when everything you own fits one of those two criteria, deciding how much to own is still subjective. A true minimalist will have a lot less stuff than most of us in the same size house!
That’s a lot of “home” work for one week. Next week, we’ll finish with:
STEP 4: how color affects you, connecting to what’s outside, how “green” you live
STEP 5: your desire to make a change, rituals, how you “are” in your home
There are over 400 times that peace is mentioned in The Bible. One of my favorites (and oft quoted) is when Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you”. I wish I had the ability to “give you peace”. Honestly, there are times when I wish I had the ability to “give” myself peace! For this week, my prayer is that we ALL take the time to honor the spaces we live in, breathing in peace and honoring ourselves and those we love.
Have a peace FULL week,
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #31. Invest in yourself; there are so many of us who are willing to help out, build up and spend energy on others, but forget that charity has to sometimes begin at home….with ourselves in our homes.