“I Stop For Suffering” recently shared a marvelous post, which offered a few simple steps on how to create a peaceful life. Having read her post, I was inspired this morning to write a complementary piece which offers a few simple steps to creating a peaceful living space. A peaceful environment can really help to reduce stress and make your home a sanctuary of rejuvenation. Let’s start by focusing on just one room in your house–a room that you would like to transform into a haven into which you can retreat for a few minutes of quietude, journal-writing, meditation, yoga, or some other means of self-centering.
1. Designate this room as sacred space. Decide that from this moment forth, it will be treated by you and everyone who enters it with respect, mindfulness, and care. (Note: the comment of vpitts231 below has a really great point: perhaps it is unfair to ask others to treat the space as sacred; if doing seems unethical or unrealistic, designating it as sacred to you alone is an excellent option).
2. Care for it as if it were as dear to you as your own eyes. This advice (taken from Thich Nhat Hanh) is the key to generating Mindfulness. Treasure everything you touch, do, and practice in this room.
3. Clean it daily. Keep it free of clutter. Sweep it (even if it doesn’t appear to need a sweeping). Dust it (even if it doesn’t appear to need a dusting). Imagine that as you sweep and dust, you are sweeping away the clutter, debris, and webs of thought in your own mind. As you clean the room, you clean you.
4. Place a plant in the room and care for it daily. Be careful to acknowledge and provide its light, watering, and feeding requirements. Talk to it gently. Play music for it. Love it and care for it as if it were as dear to you as your own eyes. It will help to purify the air in your sacred room, so give it lots of love. Just a little attention every day goes a long way to making a plant flourish.
5.Create a focal point for your self-centering practices.I have a little altar with a statue of Buddha in my sacred space. I meditate daily here, and spend a little time each day tending to my altar. As I tend to my altar, I engage in Mindfulness practice. I place a bowl of freshly cut flower-buds in water on it every few days. I light a Reiki-charged candle before the Buddha every morning just prior to my meditation, and I let it burn all day long. When I see the candle later in the day, I am reminded of the moment of quiet and stillness that I offered to myself that morning, and am often rejuvenated just by the remembrance of it. My partner just placed a list of wonderful affirmations before the base of the statue. I read these affirmations and take their wonderful energy into my meditations.
6. Open the windows. For a little time each day, open the windows and allow a little bit of fresh air to circulate. This will help to sweep away any stagnant energy.
7. Smudge the Room. Every once in a while–perhaps once a week–smudge your room with sage and/or sweetgrass. I take a few leaves of sage and place them in a seashell that I picked up from the beach on a very special day with my stepdad, Roger. I light them and let the smoke waft up from the seashell as I walk through the room. I allow the smoke to clear any residual negative energy, concentrating particularly on corners, doors, and windows. I like to smudge myself, to0, as part of my Mindfulness practice; it feels like a warm energy bath, cleansing away toxic thoughts and residue from interacting with the world outside my sanctuary.
Photo Credit and lovely article on smudging, by “Way of the Wild Rose”.
8. Place a crystal somewhere in the room and cleanse it once a month or more. Crystals come from deep within the earth, and they emit high energetic vibrations. Having a crystal in your room will help to keep your room energetically clean. For more on crystals, see a really nice series of posts by Cauldrons and Cupcakes.
9. Play classical or tranquil music in your room, even when you are not in it! Sound vibrations also help to clear out rooms of stagnant energy. Your plant will love it, and your crystal(s) will amplify the positive vibrations of the music. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful your room feels when you enter it, even if your music has finished playing. Two of my favorites:
10. Just Be. Enjoy your sanctuary. You will feel good in it. And, when you feel good, when you feel centered, when you feel relaxed, when you feel Mindful, you will be much better equipped to deal with the world outside it.