For the past two weeks I’ve been writing, “Creating a Peace Full Home, Step-by-Step”. In week one we tackled:
STEP 1: how much stuff you currently have in your home
Last week we covered:
STEP 2. how you “feel” in each part of your home and
STEP 3: the physical space you have and what’s in it
Today we’re going to finish up 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
Color has such strong emotional ties. Although I spend a fair amount of time teaching color theory there are no “right “ or “wrong” hues, because like most parts of design, it’s subjective. Be aware, however, of how the colors you use affect how you feel in your home. There are specific physical and emotional responses to color for most people, and if a room doesn’t “feel right” trust your instincts and change what’s possible. Paint is one of the most economical ways to make a major impact.
cool colors- (containing blue or green) tend to make rooms feel larger, and create a feeling of calm
warm colors- (containing red or yellow) often make rooms feel cozier and can be stimulating and invigorating
neutral colors- (like gray, brown, white and black) give you more flexibility and room to play with accessories
Connecting the inside to the outside is important for flow and continuity. First, spend some time taking in the view from each of your doors and windows. Depending on your particular view, you’ll want to enhance it or detract from it. If you’re fortunate enough to have wonderful scenery to take in, elevate it. Pull a color from right outside your door or window and use that color in the room.
Bringing plants into your home not only connects the inside to the outside, it helps clean the air and get rid of noxious gasses. Many, like English ivy, pothos, spider plants and ficus trees, filter out VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Flowers, too, add color, nature and beauty to your home. There was Rutgers University study where it was found that “Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods….study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction. (If your flowers or plants are dying, get rid of them. Not only are they bad Feng Shui, they do nothing to help bring joy into any home.) Open the doors and windows if that’s safe and practical. Typically the air outside our homes is less toxic than the air inside our homes. Get some fresh air- literally and figuratively.
Living “Green” not only leaves a smaller carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emissions) which is good for our planet, it’s good for you. Consider the impact you’re making on the environment. We live in a “disposable world” where too many people simply consume and throw away without regard for where all that stuff is going! I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: our country alone generates 230,000,000 tons of garbage per year! Our landfills are becoming full. Burning all this stuff could release toxins into the air and create ashes that would need to be disposed of. Burying our junk could contaminate water. Recycling helps a lot, of course, but we need to be AWARE of everything we use, eat and drink and it’s impact on our world.
“Living green” doesn’t only mean watching out for a carbon footprint. Some folks have lifestyles that are downright toxic; okay, “toxic” may be a bit dramatic so let’s say “unhealthy”. Depending on which professional you talk to, that could mean that you are suffering from anything from depression to obesity to loneliness to early dementia.
An unhealthy lifestyle includes feeling alone because of the social stressors of “fitting in” or the pressure of joining new groups. This loneliness, affects people of all ages, but senior citizens seem to be at particular risk. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, “two-fifths of all older people say the television is their main companion” and “fifty-nine percent of adults over fifty-two who report poor health say they are often lonely”.
Working a lot of hours (we work more hours than just about any other country), and its negative impact on relationships outside the workplace, also creates unhealthiness. We may put in a lot of hours because of a Puritan work ethic, or because we need to in order to earn enough to support our family or keep our position. Unfortunately, many folks work far more than a standard forty hours per week because their career is what they most identify with, or it’s a place they “escape” to. Regardless of the reason for long hours, this can cause outside relationships (or families) to break down, or never begin, because we simply don’t have the time. We’re exhausted!
In order to do any of the things that were discussed in this and the past two posts, there has to be a DESIRE to make a change. It’s easy to read something and nod your head while your inner voice says, “YES! I recognize myself in what I’m reading, I AM going to make changes, I AM going to create the life I want………starting TOMORROW.” I (a type A, overachiever) have done that more times than I care to remember. Procrastinating is often much easier than jumping right in and making the commitment to yourself, for yourself, isn’t it? When do you simply sit down and relax and choose how you want your life to play out? When I ask myself that question, I have to answer “almost never” (did you ever hear the expression, “the teacher teaches what she has to learn”?). YOU are worth making changes that create a life that reflects “who you really are”.
Rituals are the little things that create some constancy and structure in your life. For some, they may be things that you did growing up and have simply continued into adulthood. For others, those rituals could be practices you added to your life over the years. I have friends who start each day with exercise (whether that’s running eight miles or doing a ten minute yoga practice). I know others who start their day with time with God. Some of us have morning rituals or dinner rituals or weekend rituals. It’s not as important what those are, but how they “ground” you in your life. For me, I start each morning with my “Thank You God” as I get out of bed, then head into the kitchen to, as my Mom used to say, “put the teapot on”. What rituals do you have in YOUR life?
When I talk about how you “are” in your home, I mean:
how you walk through your home– are your comfortable, does it make sense for your lifestyle?
how much you enjoy being in your home– are you excited to walk through the door, do you think of it as “home sweet home”?
how you choose to live, and honor your spirit, in your home– does it reflect who you are as a beautiful being and child of God?
Is your home your safe place, your comfort zone, your respite from the rest of the world? If not, work at creating it. Try giving STEPS 1-5 a chance. See if that changes the reality of your home.
Peace in your home is critical. I pray that you get to that place if you’re not there already, whether you live alone or with others. Seek peace with no strings attached; peace that isn’t actually a coat over a “shut up and deal” outfit; peace that doesn’t come at the expense of others.
In our often over-busy lives there’s so much to be managed and controlled that we sometimes forget to “give it up to a Higher Power (God in my case)”. There are days when it seems like I can’t “get it right” and there are days when “my cup runneth over”…and so the journey continues.
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #32. Have positive people as friends; of course we’re all going to have problems or bad days or even great sadness at times. No one will always be happy, but surround yourself with folks who believe in the power of positive thinking.