Tag Archives: house

From Intent.com: Packing Bags and Cleaning House

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Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start.
-Nido Qubein

I have live in 4 houses in 2 years. One of those moves included condensing a 3-bedroom, 2-car garage home into one trailer and moving it from Nashville, Tennessee to Hollywood, California. Is it too dramatic to say the experience was traumatizing? Because, if not, I’d like to say it was traumatizing.

When you move, you have to touch literally everything you own at least twice and that was enough to make me really think about what I was bringing along. Does this item serve a purpose? Does this item even function properly? Do I like this item? When space is limited and you have to physically move each and every choice, you are forced to think about questions like that. More times than not, you realize you’ve been holding on to things that don’t matter or don’t work for way too long.

Why is it that we refuse to take inventories of our emotional, mental and spiritual lives in the same way?
Does this feeling serve a purpose?
Does this feeling function properly?
Do I even like this feeling?

We will hang on to relationships, onto bad situations, onto unhealthy habits, dragging them all over the country with us and never take the time to consider whether or not we need to just toss it.

How long do you have to keep beating yourself up for past mistakes?
How long do you have to live with something that is slowing your down?
How long do you have to be sad?

This week, we’re inviting you to take a different sort of inventory.
We’re inviting you to open up all the baggage you’ve been hanging onto. Maybe just open one bag at a time? Open whatever you’re ready. Ask yourself what things need to be tossed in the trash. Ask yourself where you’re wasting your time because the truth is you are moving. The truth is you have limited space to carry everything if you’re going to move forward with any sort of momentum. We’re inviting you to clean house. And it doesn’t matter how far down the road you end up, only that you get started.

There are brave folks on Intent.com who are doing the same. Support, adopt, post an intent of your own.

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Rebecca Pacheco: I Have a Mouse Problem

Hello? Are you there?Yesterday, I made two disturbing discoveries. One: I was living with a mouse. Specifically, this unwanted house guest ravaged one of my cabinets in a binge that included gnawing through 2 packages of polenta, 1 large bag of organic Irish steel cut oats (which are expensive by the way), leaving bite marks on the cap of a bottle of cooking oil, and then, running around throwing handfuls of cocoa powder in the air like he was having some kind of 1 mouse, 1 shade of chocolate brown, Color Run. I even heard the little jerk over the weekend and reasoned with myself I was imagining things. I think the lesson here is: trust thyself… and store your grains in glass jars.

Two: the trackpad of my computer stopped functioning last night. The trackpad, as you likely know, serves as a computer’s mouse on laptops  So, yes, I have a mouse in my home and faulty mouse on my computer.

I have a mouse problem.

Laugh it up, everyone.

I couldn’t believe how scared and angry one little mouse could make me. (To be fair, he chewed some massive holes, so I thought he must be a hideous rat, initially). I stared at his mess for a good 10-minutes before taking a deep breath, rolling up my dish gloves, and saying to my salad tongs, “We’re going in.” I removed the food, cleaned up, and lined the empty shelves with Bounce dryer sheets for the meantime. The Internet says mice do not like the smell of them. Ditto peppermint, cloves, or cayenne pepper. Such dummies, cayenne is awesome for boosting metabolism, fighting inflammation, and strengthening immunity.

I put my writing on hold and proceeded to the Apple store this morning with its lack of mice and abundance of mouses to sit patiently on the sidewalk with all the other people standing outside before it opens, like we were waiting to buy tickets for some kind of mini concert for nerds inside. I couldn’t part with my machine today, so I made an appointment to return later.

Thankfully, both nuisances will be remedied soon. My boyfriend bought me a mouse—the computer kind—so that I could write today and pledged to help ward off the other mouse tonight. I can’t even take credit for the joke about having a mouse problem. He made the quip while I was still seeing red, err, cocoa.  Witty, isn’t he?

If misery loves company, I’m pretty sure it loves a good pun and a guy who will save you from said mouse problems even more. It makes me realize that these problems aren’t so bad after all, and the disturbances in a given day don’t reveal only the precious time or steel cut oats that get eaten up but, also, the people, places, and things that help us restock our shelves, reboot our computers, and reframe our perspective.

 

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

9 Steps to Make Your Home a Haven of Happiness

North bedroom with Nermal the grey catBefore you apply your feng shui cures, you need to clear out the clutter in your home. When you clean up your home, you rid it of stagnant and unhealthy energy. Most of us have too many things we don’t actually need, and in getting rid of them, we create space for the cures to work.

1. If the idea of clearing out the clutter in your home seems overwhelming, then focus on one room at a time or one area in the room at a time, or even one drawer at a time, if necessary. As the famous saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” so be kind to yourself, but do complete the task. The first step to shifting energy in your home and in your life is to make room for new and fresh energy to come in.

2. If you haven’t used an item in the last six months, or a year at the most, then give it away to someone who might need it more than you. You will find enormous freedom in letting go of the objects and clothes that you really don’t need anymore and you may even find the act of giving to those in need to be motivational.

3. Make sure you do not have an excessive amount of furniture, as too much bulk can stop the flow of chi around your home. There needs to be space for energy to flow and for you to move through your home with ease, without bumping into anything.

4. Do not just hide everything in a garage or an attic and pretend that you have gotten rid of it. The garage and attic are also considered parts of your home and you need to treat them as such.

5. Fix anything that is broken in your home. If you are having problems with the doors, windows, roof or any other part of the house structure, then fix it. You also want to make sure all the systems are in good working order and flowing well, which means the water, gas and electricity in your home.

6. If you think that your entire home or a particular room needs to be cleansed, you can wash the walls with water infused with nine drops of pure lavender or citrus essence in a bucket. This helps to cleanse the room of any old, stagnant energy.

7. Painting draws new energy into a home. If you have moved into a new home, then make sure that you paint the walls and deep clean the carpets to get rid of the energy of the previous occupants.

8. If you want to use color on one or all of your walls in different rooms, here are a few suggestions:

Kitchen—White is a great color for cleanliness.

Living Room or Family Room—Earth tones are very relaxing and grounding and have a capacity to draw people together.

Blue or green also add life to these rooms.

Bedroom—Peach, light blue and green are excellent choices.

Children’s Room—White, green or blue in your children’s rooms will help them to flourish.

9. If you want to quickly remove the energy in your home after a few difficult weeks or months, then open all the windows and doors for a few hours and let the chi from outside flow through and clear your living space. You may also want to place a bouquet of fresh flowers in the middle of your home to enhance the cleansing process.

 

From How Happy Is Your Home?: 50 Great Tips to Bring More Health, Wealth and Happiness into Your Home By Sophie Keller

 

Originally published December 2011

3 Ways to Design Your Home for Maximum Happiness

There's No Remedy For Memory

There are many possible sources of discomfort and discontent, ranging from relationship troubles, to financial woes, to self-esteem, and more. One common source, though, which is often overlooked, is your environment and home space. Even something as simple as the shade of a wall or placement of a bed can affect your mood and take a toll on your daily life. Luckily, there are several essential warning signs to look out for, and some simple fixes to achieve the healthy and healing space you deserve.

In the July/August edition of Spirituality & Health magazine, design expert Laura Benko discusses some common sources of design-induced discomfort, with tips on how to adjust these influences. Here are 3 of the 6 tips, and check out Spirituality & Health for the rest of the article!

1. Build Confidence. Piles of unfinished work, clothing, paperwork and other clutter can indicate procrastination and induce a sense of fear that you are getting behind. Mitigate this worry and build confidence at the same time by organizing odds and ends and getting started on some of the tasks on your to-do list.

2. Build Self-Esteem. Did you know that hanging artwork and mirrors too high on the wall can lead to a feeling of never measuring up? As a rule, artwork should be roughly 5 feet from center to floor so that you see it directly at eye level. As you view your wall hangings, remind yourself of the realistic expectations you set for yourself and the achievability of your goals.

3. Embrace Change. Decorations and decor that have not been updated in ages can induce or perpetuate a fear of change and uncertainly. Break the mold by moving some furniture around, hanging a new piece of artwork, or getting a plant. Give yourself a new perspective on your space and, as a result, a fresh outlook on your life and future.

Do you have any other holistic design tips? Let us know in the comments section!

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SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrg**CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**
Spirituality & Health
is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read whole article on holistic design in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

Tips to Avoid Harmful Chemicals and Make Your Home a Healing Space

Δ†In the naturopathic profession, often one of the first challenges a doctor will tackle in working with a new patient is to determine and remove the “barriers to cure” – things that are interfering with the body’s ability to heal. In the past, I’ve written about treatments for common barriers to cure such as insufficient sleep, food sensitivities and seasonal allergies. I’ve learned through many patient experiences that no matter how amazing a medical treatment or how hard I work, a patient will be hard-pressed to truly heal as long as barriers stand in the way.

Often, some of the toughest barriers to remove are allergens and irritants in the home.  Chemical usage in home products has skyrocketed in the past few decades. Everything from laundry detergent to stain-resistant carpets, air-freshener sprays and synthetic-fiber bedding is a source of chemicals that put stress on our livers and immune systems. If you’re not aware of what I’m talking about, here’s a touching video from Healthy Child Healthy World that puts this issue into focus, especially as it impacts children (who are even more susceptible to the negative impacts of these chemicals than most adults).

My mother happens to be a Seattle-based interior designer with a fluency in eco-design and hypo-allergenic products for the home. While visiting her recently, I took some time to ask her for resources and tips she could share for those of us who are looking for ways to create a healthier home environment. The following are highlights from our conversation:

Q: What kinds of materials and treated fabrics are best to avoid in order to minimize chemical exposure?

A: Ideally, avoid anything synthetic. Synthetic materials, such as polyesters and acrylics, contain chemicals that can be harmful.  In addition to the material itself, these types of products are often treated with other chemicals to make them stain-resistant or otherwise “low-maintenance”. Unfortunately, buying convenience can also mean having to live with toxins that can be harmful to health. Terms like “easy care”, “water-repellant”, “no iron”, “anti-cling”, “static-free” and “flame retardant” are all signs that the product may be treated with harmful chemicals.

Q: What are some of the healthiest and least allergenic fibers to look for when choosing fabrics and floor coverings for a home?

A: The easiest rule of thumb is to stick with natural fibers. Linen, hemp, ramie, and abaca are all natural fibers that are hypo-allergenic and tend to be free from additional chemical treatments. When possible, look for organic textiles, not just organically grown materials, but products that are processed using organic-compliant compounds. Sometime a material will be organic, but then it’s processed with a harsh, non-organic dye and that can defeat the health benefits of sourcing the original organic material.

Q: In general terms, how to you suggest approaching the design of an eco-friendly and hypo-allergenic space?

A: Keep the space free of clutter where dust and allergens can accumulate. Opt for wood or tile floors and avoid carpet. Use natural fibers for window coverings, like wood-based plantation shutters instead of heavy fabric curtains. Optimize air circulation by strategically placing doors and windows to optimize air flow and utilize the air-filtering mechanisms of plants to improve air quality.

Q: Are there certain products, brands and resources you can suggest for people who are looking for products or just want more information on how to make smart choices when it comes to creating a health-promoting space?

A: The following are all great resources to check out:

  • O Ecotextiles is a Seattle-based textile company that creates luxurious fabrics that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable. Not only do I love their products, but they are leading experts on this topic and their website has an incredible amount of information for how to make smart choices for the home.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals often found in paint and other home-based textiles. This site does a great job of explaining the dangers of VOCs, what products typically contain them and how they can be avoided.
  • Unique Carpets, Ltd. sells eco-friendly floor coverings made from natural fibers that are treated in an environmentally-safe way. If you are looking for floor coverings to soften a space, this brand is a great option to check out.

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My Box: A Reflection on the Limitations of Our Reality

livinginabox-1I don’t even know where to begin, where I begin anymore, where it begins and where it ends and how I fit into any of it anymore and for that matter (lol – matter!) what it even is.

I’ve just arrived back in the box I call home that is a box within a box, surrounded by millions and millions of boxes after having spent 3 days filming interviews with some of today’s leading minds on consciousness, physics, metaphysics, mysticism, and religion, and my mind is blown.

Okay, just so you know I am making another BLEEP. It won’t be out for another year… it will be released for the 10-year anniversary of the original. It will be a completely new film, and it won’t be what you expect, it’s certainly not what I expected. But after 43 years, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to what I think I know, and what I realize I don’t, which is why my carefully created reality is currently in the midst of being blown up. Because one cannot explore the great questions about us, the nature of us, the nature of reality and the meanings we attach to all of it without having your mind blown. Without having your foundation shaken and waking up to the realization that everything you were worrying about before you opened your mouth and asked the question really means…nothing.

Before I headed out to film these interviews, my life was full of: how am I going to pay the rent, why hasn’t that guy called, my kids need new shoes, and the dog seriously needs a bath…Even as I experienced a sense of awareness about how those things impact my experience in life, it certainly didn’t stop me from being boxed in by walls I build in order to feel grounded in something, even if it is, worry and fear. I am human living the human experience after all.

But somehow, tonight, as I arrived back on my doorstep of my old reality, none of that seems to mean much anymore. As I opened the door everything that was once known about this place felt unknown, and I feel like I’m not sure I belong here. It’s not a bad thing, I could make it that, but I know now that this is what it feels like to expand my sense of reality, to see and experience more than what I was before I went down that rabbit hole.

This expansion of my awareness actually started a few weeks before I started doing interviews for the new film. It’s an on going process, but this little jump in wakefulness began as I finished my next book. It’s complicated to explain, I will do my best to put words to an experience that probably doesn’t fit our current language. This is one of my present quandaries, language…and how I use it and if I’m actually using language that truly reflects the experience I am having. Is there a word that can accurately describe it? I will try using the only language I have at the moment.

One night after writing for hours about how we humans work, how we attach meanings and pick up beliefs and how they rule our reality, writing about my box, I suddenly felt drained, more tired than I had felt in a long time.  I couldn’t write another word, I could barely carry myself into the house to sleep. I finally made it to bed, but even as exhausted as I felt, I could not sleep. I lay there staring at the ceiling. I should add that I recently moved into a new house, one with very small perfectly square bedrooms.

So I laid there looking up at my brilliantly white ceiling, and I noticed I could actually see all four corners of my room, and at the same time I could feel all four corners of my bed and I realized I was laying on a box, within a box. I contemplated my box, both literally and figuratively, the box outside and my box inside. I closed my eyes and took myself up and saw my new house, which is essentially a box, each room a box within the box that is my house, the center of my universe, so to speak.

I rose higher into the sky and saw my house, situated within a fenced box that was my yard, and as I rose higher and higher into space I saw that we had all, all of humanity, for the most part, built boxes so that we could live in them. We drive around boxes and shop in boxes and eat in boxes and out of boxes, and that we spend most of our time trying to get out of the box, but how could we if we had surrounded ourselves with them.

We had, in fact, created a reality of boxes seemingly so impossible to break free from, that no wonder we feel constrained and locked in and unable to expand. We spend most of our lives worrying about the mundane because it fits nicely into our box, the one we built around ourselves, it holds the pictures of our past, meticulously hung upon the walls of our boxes to keep our minds firmly rooted in their memory. Locked safely in our boxes.

And then I went away for the better part of a month, away from my box, away from my pictures and the stuff that makes me feel safe within my box, so familiar it’s scents, it’s sounds it’s quiet hum of the air conditioner that I am lulled into a false peaceful slumber. With my worries and my stress and my fears all tucked in and snug within my box causing me to forget that there is magic and wonder in my world, if only I would look outside my perfectly square windows to see it.

For a long time in my life I thought I was expanding my box, but alas, I was simply rearranging the stuff in my box, the box was still small and encapsulated in many many other boxes, but it always felt claustrophobic and with too much stuff, which made it harder to move. I have over the last few years, cleaned out my box, sold off some of my stuff, and accumulated less stuff to replace the stuff I had sold off. But the room was still small, and I could always see the corners closing in.

So while I was away, I began to question the box I had built, I considered all I had let go of, that although my box was pretty empty, it was still a box. What does one do next I wondered? Is it possible to get out of the box? And then I sat for hours and days listening to and talking with such great minds about the magic and wonder, and after hearing how amazing this reality is and the possibilities for us, I came home and my box felt small, and alien, I couldn’t cross the threshold back into the box of my past. I examined all the stuff in my box, my pictures and things that held the frequency of my past and while I still felt in a very tiny part of me connected to them, I understood that I could no longer allow them to hold me in my old state of space and time, I closed my eyes as I entered my house and saw my box expand, I felt the walls push outward, it felt roomier, it felt….hmmm I just can’t think of a word, maybe there just isn’t one yet.

It’s interesting to me that I still saw a box, I am not yet ready to declare “I’m out of my box!” And that’s okay for now. It is a process, the opening our boxes. I will delight in the unwrapping of them, a gift in each new understanding, with every opportunity to expand into the it that is…

What Your Home Environment Says About You

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 10.37.07 PMI’ve written before about Christopher Alexander’s brilliant, strange book, A Pattern Language. Few books have made such an impression on me and the way that I think. The book sets forth an archetypal “language” of 253 patterns that make the design of towns, buildings, and–most interesting to me–homes the most pleasing.

This book doesn’t need to be read from front to back; I often just flip through it and study the parts that resonate with me–and look at the pictures, too, of course.

I’m a very text-centric person, and not very visual, and this book helped me to identify the elements about spaces that I like, or don’t like. I’m able to see the world in a new way, and as a consequence, I’ve been able to do some things differently in my own space, to make it more enjoyable.

Here’s a list of some of the “patterns” that I love most–and I even love the aptness of the phrases used to describe them:

Half-hidden garden–this is an example of something that I love but just can’t put into practice in New York City, alas.

Staircase as stage–ditto.

Cascade of roofs–once I started looking, I realized that many of my favorite buildings had a cascade of roofs.

Sleeping to the east–after my parents moved to a new place, they both remarked, independently, how much they enjoyed having a bedroom that faced east.

A room of one’s own–yes!

Light on two sides of every room–after I moved to New York City, I became acutely aware of the importance of light, and it’s true, having light on two sides of a room makes a huge difference.

Six foot balcony–this pattern explained something that had always puzzled me: why people in New York City apartment buildings seemed so rarely to use their balconies. It turns out that when a balcony is too narrow, people don’t feel comfortable on it. It needs to be at least six feet deep.

Windows overlooking life–our apartment has good light, which I’m so thankful for, but we can’t look down on any street scenes, just the sides of buildings; it’s surprising how much we miss being able to overlook life.

Sitting circle–odd to me how many people place their furniture in ways that don’t make for comfortable conversation.

Ceiling height variety–I was astonished to notice how much more I enjoy places that have ceilings at different heights.

Built-in seats–yes! Window seats, alcoves, banquettes, love these. Especially window seats.

Raised flowers–yes!

Things from your life–in Happier at Home, I “cultivated a shrine” to my passion for children’s literature, as a way to make a special place for certain things from my life (for instance, my old copies of Cricket magazine, my complete set of The Wizard of Oz books, my mother’s old copy of Little Women, my Gryffindor banner that a friend brought me from the Harry Potter Theme Park.

Child caves–so true that children love to play in small, low places. My sister had the “Cozy Club” with a friend, and my younger daughter now plays in an odd little space she has decorated.

Secret place–ah, this is my favorite. Again, as I write about in Happier at Home, I was inspired to create my own secret places in our apartment. I couldn’t stop with just one. As Alexander writes, “Where can the need for concealment be expressed; the need to hide; the need for something precious to be lost, and then revealed?”

How about you? Have you identified some “patterns” in the design of the places you love?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

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Speaking of beautiful places and things, I love the book sculptures of Su Blackwell.  Books and miniatures!

Are you reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group? Email me if you’d like the one-page discussion guide. Or if you’re reading it in a spirituality book club, a Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality one-page discussion guide.

 

Your Guide to the Most Essential Kitchen Tools for Happy Cooking

A healthy kitchen calls for high-quality, efficient kitchenware. Here are a few of my favorites – you may recognize them from many of my recipes. Each of these is nothing short of an essential tool for my kitchen.

blenderBlendtech high-speed blender. It’s a pricey bit of machinery but it is well worth it. Like the Vitamix, it’s more expensive competitor, this blender pulverizes anything into a fine flour, dough or liquid without a ‘sandy’ texture. Makes the smoothest smoothies, grinds nuts into nut milk, and dough from dates and nuts. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use it at least once.

Coffee grinder. I grind everything but coffee with this. I grind nuts and seeds and make small amount of flour from oats and dried fruit. It is the equipment that I tend to give to my kids to use while they are “helping” me in the kitchen. Because the grinder will only grind if the top is on securely, it is totally safe in the hands of a 2-year-old. Also, it makes a great sound and has ultimate impact when you see it pulverize pumpkin seeds.

S_19402_LImmersion Hand Blender. I use this when I am making pureed soups. You can puree right in the pot without having to transfer the soup to a blender which makes it much easier and cleaner!. It won’t completely puree a soup with nuts in it. That you will have to do in the blender.

Mason Jars. In every size and shape. I use them for storing everything from dried goods to soups, sauces and nut milks. They are also cool looking so make a nice gift when filled with food and tied with a ribbon.

Non-stick ceramic pots and pans. I use Ozeri Green Earth. These are really incredible. They work like Teflon without the price tag and all the chemicals. These pans are free of PTFE and PFOA, and only cost ¼ of what the Teflon equivalent costs.

Good metal mixing bowls. Worth their weight in gold. I like having a set of 3 in small, medium and large.

Pyrex baking trays. I use them for roasting vegetables in the oven, cooking chicken in or baking cakes and brownies.

heart_springformSpring form pans. My newest discovery. Perfect for making any type of “no-bake” desserts. They come in cool shapes and sizes too. They can make you look like a professional when you are a first timer…

Juicer. There are a lot of juicers on the market. Unless you’re going to spend a ton of money on a cold press juicer then just an inexpensive one will do. I have the Breville Juice Fountain Plus. It clocks in at $100 with free shipping from Amazon which makes it affordable, but the downside is that if you use a juicer like this you have to drink it right away. Because of the way the juice is extracted, the enzymes start to break down within 15 minutes. Comparatively, the cold pressed juices can last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. The gold standard of cold pressed juicers is the Norwalk. I dream about this juicer but, sadly, it comes with a very steep price tag.

 

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Love Yourself by Loving Your Home

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 8.12.12 PMA great way to love yourself is to create a beautiful home that nurtures and inspires you. Your home is one of the few places in the world that is truly just about you. The one place we should always feel loved, at peace, at one, and “at home” is at home! So honor yourself by creating a space that feeds your spirit.

One of the most effective ways to create a home that nourishes and inspires you is to live with things you love. This may sound obvious, but when you take a close look around your home, you might be surprised to find that you’re living with things that bring your energy down rather than inspire and lift you up. It’s amazing how easy it is to tune out to our surroundings and stop really seeing the stuff in our homes that get in our way, drain our energy, or in some way make us feel badly. Sometimes it’s little things such as a drawer that gets stuck and frustrates and slows us down each morning, the sharp edge of a table that we regularly bump against, or an uncomfortable chair. Or it could be something more significant like sleeping in a bed we bought with a former partner that continually brings up memories and keeps us stuck in the past. These things can nag at us, deplete our energy, and wear on our self-esteem.

Everything around us is made up of energy. Even things that we may have considered inanimate are made up of moving molecules and have a life force and vibration of their own. Objects also come “alive” because of how we relate to them, i.e. the memories and associations they trigger. Earth wisdom traditions, such as Feng Shui or Vastu, affirm that all of these objects and materials in our homes interact with our own unique energy—either positively or negatively. When you look at your home from this perspective, you can clearly imagine the importance of surrounding yourself with things that you love—whether they are useful, comfortable, beautiful, have positive personal meaning, or just make you feel good.

Below are three steps to living with what you love:

  1. Go through your home room by room and look at each object one at a time. How do you feel? What thoughts come up? Did you notice any sensations in your body? Imagine the object has a voice—what would it be saying to you? Does the object trigger any memories? Are they positive, negative or neutral? Your answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea of how these things are affecting your energy.
  2. If something is not serving you, let it go. Give it away, throw it away or sell it. Generally it is better to live with empty space knowing that something better will be coming your way than it is to live with something that brings you down. An exception to this would be if the object is functional and necessary—for example, your only computer or your only sofa that you can’t afford to replace at the moment. In these cases, set an intention that you will easily find a replacement in a timely manner and keep your eyes open for an opportunity to replace that item.
  3. If you discover that you are surrounded by many things you don’t love, but at the moment can’t afford to replace them, make sure you move things around so you have at least one object you love in every room. Then make sure that object is the focal point of the room. The object you love will inspire you as you’re waiting to attract other things that will serve you.

Be on the lookout for the following:

  • Possessions that have negative memories associated with them.
  • Things that look beautiful or are valuable, but that you just don’t like. Often we keep these because we feel we have to or should, but if you don’t like something let it go and chances are someone else will give it a home where it will be appreciated and loved. And you will now have space to find something you love.
  • Similarly, things you inherit and perhaps feel an obligation to keep, but that you don’t like or are associated with a negative memory.
  • Things that don’t feel good but you aren’t sure why—trust your intuition!
  • Disturbing art—even if on one level you can appreciate the image or artistic expression, sometimes our bodies will respond instantly and physically to a disturbing image. Your mind may then kick in with reason or logic or an association with the image that is more positive, but your body has already registered your first reaction.
  • Things that don’t work well, are broken, get in your way, and/or lead to frustration in your daily routines.
  • Broken items that you have been planning to get fixed for a long time—commit to fixing it in the next month or get rid of it.
  • Items that are stained or dirty—same as above, clean them if you can, but commit to doing it in a timely manner. If they can’t be cleaned, consider a replacement.
  • Perceived dangers—which mean things that look threatening and elicit a ‘fight or flight’ response in our bodies. For example, a very heavy chandelier or artwork hanging over a bed or sofa—we may know it is anchored to the ceiling or wall, but it can still makes us feel uncomfortable to having something heavy hang over you. Similar to the disturbing artwork, your body will have already registered a response before your mind kicks in with logic to override your body’s reaction.
  • Things made with unhealthy or toxic materials—replace with natural materials to connect you to nature, create more harmony, and support your health.

Our homes should be a supportive, loving sanctuary. There are many things in the world that are less than loving and often we feel we can’t control those things, but we can control our home environments by choosing to live with what we love. We need to insist that, at the very least, we feel good and can ‘win’ in our own homes. The same qualities that we create in our homes—love, peace, joy, inspiration—will be the same qualities that we experience in our lives.

 

Originally published February 2011

5 Best Sources of Home Improvement Inspiration

Home improvement is an important topic for many homeowners. If you’re a current homeowner, you may just want to give your house a little pick-me-up by refreshing walls, installing kitchen upgrades, or simply buying new curtains to complete a look.

On the other hand, it’s a buyer’s market, and if you’ve recently purchased a home, you’re probably looking for inspiration to make it your own. If you’re a visual person or just looking for ideas to jump-start your creativity, here are some of the best sources of home improvement inspiration:

5. Pinterest: Where Your Inspiration Board Becomes Digital

Image via Google Images

Pinterest is the very popular online inspiration board website that just keeps gaining users left and right. Create specific boards for yourself based on what items you want to save from the internet and then “pin” images from your favorite sites.

With more than 40 million users, Pinterest is sure to offer inspiration for anything imaginable. Want to explore DIY improvements? Interested in viewing specific color schemes? Need to find a picture of a bathroom with bamboo? Pinterest has a whole page of search results for that.

4. Home Depot & Lowes: Specialty Stores You Can Connect With

Image via Flickr

Speciality stores Home Depot and Lowe’s have created inspiration magazines that are available for free download via iTunes. The Home Depot’s Style Guide and Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine both provide gardening and other visual inspirations to design ideas and trends, making both digital publications invaluable for home improvement inspiration.

3. Zillow Digs: Combining House-Hunting & Improvement Guides

Image via Flickr

If you’ve been in the market for a home, chances are you’ve heard of Zillow. This popular website is a great tool for buyers to view valuations and other data. With the new iPad app and Web service called Zillow Digs, Zillow is now competing against Pinterest for those users looking for home improvement inspiration.

Just like Pinterest, users can “pin” their favorite images, but unique to Zillow Digs  is the ability for users to view the estimated cost of the featured rooms and easily connect with local professionals in the industry. And if you’re looking for a way to protect your investment on a a particularly costly project, see this page for some good home security options.

2. Houzz.com & Merrypad.com: Inspiring Trends for Do-It-Yourselfers

Image via Flickr

Aside from online boards like Pinterest and Zillow Digs, there is an unbelievable number of websites dedicated to home decor, improvements, and DIY projects. Houzz.com features house tours, advice, how-to help, and more. Merrypad.com is a website dedicated to DIY projects and those homeowners who want to embrace the do-it-yourself lifestyle.

1. BrightNest: Your Guide to Innovating & Renovating

Image via BrightNest.com

Possibly one of the most artsy and most places on the web for home renovators and innovators is Brightnest. The site is a great resource for almost any aspect of home improvement. The site also recently launched an excellent iOS app that not only offers advice and inspiration, but it also helps you to organize your tasks.

Due to the advancements of technology, it’s become easier for homeowners to find improvement inspirations to make renovations fun and easy. By taking advantage of all the tools in front of you, you’re most likely to generate the most diverse and creative ideas.

What sources do you use for home improvement inspiration?

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