Sacred Decorating

Today’s post comes as a follow-up to a post from two years ago: How to Thrive in a Less than Ideal Location. I write now from a place of gratitude, post-relocation and feeling ideally placed, but I thought I’d share additional insights from the new location. So often I hear from clients that they feel misplaced, lonely, sick or stuck, with no sacred space to call their own. If that describes you, then do check out the previous link, too. If, instead, you feel largely well placed but you want to upgrade your surroundings, then today’s post offers suggestions for adding even more sacred experience into your everyday home, office, or little corner.

Why Bother?

“I have more important things to worry about than decorating.”

“It’s too overwhelming. If I start, I’ll never finish.”

“My space looks good enough, but I don’t feel inspired or energized. Why can’t I get things to flow in other areas?”

Decorating might seem superficial, but it’s one of the fastest ways to shift energy in other areas of life. Whether you study feng shui, or just pay attention to colors and shapes that delight your senses, your everyday environment seeps into your subconscious. As your subconscious works nonstop to filter and create your outer experience, changing your external environment alters your internal feelings and perspective. These, in turn, alter how you experience your external reality.

It’s like breathing: in, out, in, out. You live and breathe and move in your everyday experiences. Like polluted air, a space that irritates, annoys or crushes your soul does more damage than it would first appear. On the flip side, a space that calms, uplifts and expands your soul acts like increased oxygen in the body. Most parasites and other nasties can’t stand a well oxygenated environment. As you clean and uplift the areas in which you spend your time, you welcome fresh inspiration, healing and opportunities in life.

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Toadstool fountain, ferns and orgone pyramid by the meditation chair in my office.

Little Things Count — A Lot

In sessions, I always ask people to pay attention to the little things. What small, symbolic step could you take today, which would move you towards your larger goal? Little things add up. They also take less time, energy, focus and determination. In many instances, little things feel like throw-away’s: five minutes to take out the trash, ten minutes to file the pile. A little thing could include changing your screensaver to something that makes you smile. Maybe you move your desk or bed so that a pleasant view greets you instead of one that sinks your spirit.

While getting my M.A. in English Language and Literature at University of Chicago, I called the school counseling office in search of career counseling. I learned from the person who answered the phone that they did not offer career counseling, but if I didn’t like my trajectory, I should get myself down to their office so I could join the 80% of students on psychotropic drugs. This was 1996, but it remains a “wow” moment. If 80% of your students require meds just to tolerate your school, then school environment’s a problem!

Instead of taking her advice, I bought flowers. Every Friday, as a symbolic act, I brought home a small bouquet and placed it on the kitchen table. Those flowers marked the start of “weekend space.” Every Friday, I packed away anything to do with school, bought myself a nice bouquet and spent the weekend “as though” I just happened to live in the great city of Chicago. (Of course, I did live in the great city of Chicago, but graduate school often overwhelms all areas of life. I made a conscious choice to separate — i.e. set apart, make sacred — weekends. And the ritual of a small bouquet of flowers made that transition real.)

Sometimes I made elaborate vegetarian dinners and invited neighbors in for a low cost but home cooked meal. My only rule at those dinners: no discussing school. Any other topic would do. Other times I went dancing uptown with friends. My one rule was that weekends were “my time.” Yes, that rule made for long nights during the week, but it kept me sane while most of my classmates spiraled into deep depression. Knowing I did not wish to continue at that school, I withdrew my PhD application in February. I wanted nothing tying me to a future that would murder everything I valued in myself. I didn’t trust myself to turn down their offer if it came.

Sound dramatic? It was, yet I managed to thrive. My sunny smile and levity about the whole competitive BS environment drew many friends to me. U of Chicago marked my first foray into spontaneous intuitive readings and dream interpretation. It honed my hostess and vegetarian cooking skills, and it taught me the importance of small details when feeling trapped by commitments or lack of plan.

Having navigated nine months of hell while making my own beauty and fun, I skipped graduation and vowed never to return to Hyde Park. Never say never: in February 2010, a series of dreams led me right back to the belly of the beast. Guess what, though? I had changed.

Post-TBI, post-marriage, now accepting my life path instead of fighting it, I found a different world than I left so many years before. People were no longer getting kidnapped or mugged at one in the afternoon. A new park lined Lake Michigan, and a health food store specializing in fresh veggie juice and homemade raw vegan food options now brightened 53rd Street. The apartment building my dreams and visions led me to ended up providing a Mother Lode of Doors for me to paint. These portal paintings, in turn, directly led to me meeting and eventually marrying David.

In a similar way, when David and I arrived in Goshen and felt led to rent a gut rehabbed cottage across the street from a factory and a very loud train, the external environment felt like a kick in the gut. Little things shifted the energies step by step. Until Goshen, U of Chicago was my main example of living somewhere that crushed my soul. I spent nine months there, whereas Goshen turned into a five-year stint to support David’s aging parents. Because I spent more time there, years of little steps turned into a one-third acre permaculture food forest and two fully decorated cottages, but even more ideal places can welcome upgrades.

We love our new house and all its views. That doesn’t mean neglecting the inside, though. The simple act of putting floral placemats with scalloped edges on a red tablecloth brings me many moments of delight throughout the day. In the midst of our long, gray winters, this post-Christmas table setup makes me smile every time I walk by. Find your own little things that make you smile. You don’t need to do a gut rehab or relocate to find ways to turn your home into your own personal paradise. Often times a little nature goes a long way. Whether real or artificial, flowers, plants, natural materials and/or images that bring you in touch with nature ease the soul and help concentration.

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Bring the garden indoors.

Use What You Have or What You Can

Speaking of real or artificial flowers and plants, I’ve purposely included both real and artificial plants in the photos so far. I love gardening, but not everyone has a green thumb. Some people can’t have plants due to animals, allergies or lighting conditions. I forget where I saw this, but I’ve long sensed its truth: scientific studies show that having real or artificial plants in your office improves focus, concentration and creativity. Obviously, avoid toxic smelling faux plants or at least let them off gas. Real plants clean the air on a literal, as well as symbolic level.

But some areas of the home don’t allow for real plants. You can spend a lot of money buying and killing plants to fill dark corners or windowless rooms. Eventually, you might want to consider a tapestry, photograph, coffee table book, or other way to get calming greenery into your space. My office has become a haven inside Dra’Faven:

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The cactus and ivy are real. The boxwood hanging from the ceiling and in the cherub’s vase are faux. Those boxwood balls make me giggle when I walk into the room. They also make me look up. This portal door (aka The Tree of Life or Daphne Door) is the first thing my eyes see when I enter the diagonally opposite door. Hanging those balls from the ceiling draws the eye from bottom to top, which corresponds to an uplift of spirit.

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This shows a different angle at night with the overhead light on — a bit bright for regular use, but it helps for photos. 😉 Lighting can make a huge difference for not much cost or trouble. The fireplace has a flame-like Himalayan salt lamp, which provides a warm glow, and I have a yellow-toned LED bulb in the lamp behind my computer desk. Using an LED allows me to get much more light out of a 1950’s lamp from David’s parents. Anything more than 20 watts made that lamp dangerous to leave on. For the cost of one LED bulb, I get the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb’s light if I need it, without needing to replace a vintage lamp.

Although I consider our house in Kalamazoo an ideal spot for us right now and into the foreseeable future, I do miss having a water view. I’ve had water views in many locations, including Monterey, Southern Oregon and Lake Michigan. We spend a lot of time on the Michigan shores of Lake Michigan, but in terms of amenities, David’s employment, general attitude and opportunities, Kalamazoo makes sense to live. How to have the best of both worlds? Water sounds (fountain, CD’s) and water tapestries.

Below, you can see the huge Goddess of Summer tapestry, a gift from Tania when I rented Haus Am See as an office.

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This tapestry gave me a year round indoor garden view, but the thought of living somewhere “permanently” without a water view made me a little sad. I didn’t even realize I felt sad about it until I spent $12 on this waterfall tapestry to hide a messy area of David’s office while he still lived in Goshen finishing up his old job. I thought I’d feel celebratory when he set up his office. I was surprised to feel sad not to see the waterfall anymore. At the risk of turning my office into a crazy riot of color and nature, I decided to hang the tapestry in my own “Wealth Corner.” As with the boxwood balls, seeing the waterfall makes my heart sing.

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The point is to find ways of using what you have and what works in your space. If you truly want to live by the beach, then having a screensaver or tapestry now that puts you in the beach vibe will help you manifest that beach home sooner. If you don’t want to move to the beach, but you love vacationing there, then sprinkling some beachy elements will improve your mood and outlook. A little bit of “ahhh” enters your uggh. Your subconscious registers everything. Bring more of what you wish to see, smell, taste, touch and hear into your immediate space, and watch the larger reality mimic your sacred spot.

You don’t need to follow my ideas or decorating style. The important takeaway is to pay attention to your own preferences, delights and aversions, and respond accordingly. If you want more nature, find some way, somehow to bring nature into your home. If you love a particular color, paint a bookshelf, wall or entire room that color. If you can’t do that, at least get a notebook in that color. Or wear that color. Use what you have or find ways of bringing “the not yet possible” into your reality, right now.

Become Your Own Sacred Space

For all the power of environment to help or hinder people from living dreams, you can become your own sacred space. You can choose to fill your time with little details or symbolic shifts that move you in the direction of your dearest hopes. Instead of waiting for inspiration to complete a masterpiece, commit now to five minutes per day or one afternoon a week to play with creativity. Find the smallest gesture you can for sure commit to, and then follow through. Those tiny actions will build upon each other to change the look and feel of your inner environment.

As with your home, take care whose energies you allow into your inner space. If you find repeat thoughts trouble you, write them down and ask where they come from. Whose are they? Do they belong in the inner space you’d love to create? What upgraded thoughts might replace them?

For example, gratitude stymies worry. If you catch yourself worrying, pause and list five things for which you feel grateful. The first might take awhile, but as you get to five, you’ll probably find even more “thank you’s” flowing in. You cannot feel worry and gratitude at the same time. Gratitude is the antidote to worry. If a worry continues beyond the gratitude, then ask what practical guidance it can offer you at this time. What little step could you take right now or today that would reduce (even very slightly) the cause of worry? Pay attention to those little things. They all add up.

Every home benefits from regular cleaning, and so do your body and your mind. Decluttering your outer space helps to declutter your inner space. You might also find that writing lists declutters your mind and allows you to get more done. If you just flail your arms at dust, you make more dust. Put all those thoughts flying around onto a piece of paper — sweep the dust into one location, then get to work on it. Just having a list you can check off brings some order to your inner space.

One of the most life changing books I ever read was Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.” Another life changing book was Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” Neither book felt good all the time. The soulful elements of each forced me to recognize where my soul lacked expression. Both books resulted in moves and lifestyle shifts. I came to accept myself as an artist, not only when I paint, but in my daily life. I breathe beauty. I need beauty to flow in me, around me and through me. As a young adult, I felt inadequate because of that, like I had some weakness or flaw that made me vain or superficial. In different ways, each book helped me to honor beauty, sensory pleasure, order, color and creation as conversations with my soul.

I feel lucky that a 1998 brain injury forced me to set aside my rational mind for four years while I healed. I longed to live a more intuitive and artistic life, but my left brain always said “No way, that sounds crazy” or, at best, “Come back later.” Eventually, my soul got tired of knocking, so a car accident knocked me out, along with my rational side. It only became safe for reason, logic and sequential thinking to return once I consciously gave my soul permission to run my inner household. When I consciously aligned with Divine Guidance, I found that life flowed better, and lo and behold, Divine Guidance led to fulfilling, soulful experiences.

The soul exerts tremendous influence whether or not you give it permission or room to do so. When you honor your soul through sense and symbol, you retain some conscious influence over the soul. You get to compromise in little steps instead of having a disabling traumatic brain injury or other crisis force the issue. I’m a stubborn lass, so it took a TBI to save my soul. It set me straight, required to live on a path I just happen to love. My brain healed, but more importantly, my soul did, and it’s the little things, Mother Nature, symbols and beauty that soothe the soul. Sacred decorating, inside and out, gives you a chance to align with your soul’s highest hopes and dreams, as well as deep nourishment that works for you.

You’ll feel more productive and more loved. My Aunt Kath and Uncle John always make a toast, “To more love!” That feels like a good way to end this post. Do what you can, with what you have to show more love to your innermost you. Delight that inner child; soothe the frazzled senses; smell the roses. However you bring sacred decorating into your life, do it with the mantra. “To more love!” Your soul will thank you.

18 responses to this post.

  1. You have the touch

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my! This is a FANTASTIC post Laura! Truly.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Bo. It’s the Faery touch. 😉

    Like

  4. Thank you, Sky!

    Like

  5. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Posted by Tracy Kruse on January 16, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Wonderful! As you know, a parathyroid tumor did the same thing as your TBI…a reset and a release into the power of the soul. A new glass of colored flair markers sits on my desk in an old crystal glass, the only left from a set my Grandparents gave me over 30 years ago. I have chosen to mark my calendar in color rather than just ink. A small thing, but always brings a smile and sweet memories. When we listen to those whispers, we are never disappointed!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You know I love this post! Looks beautiful! I love me some decorating! My room is my most favorite place I’ve created too. Never feel the need to leave it lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Posted by Vandana on January 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    I have come back to re-read this post three times since you have posted it! Thank you Laura.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, I remember that reset, Tracy! That sounds like a sweet way to remember your Grandparents and feel the love. 🙂

    Like

  10. Yes, T and L on the sync train decorating portal offices! I feel that way about our house, LOL. Most places I’ve lived I get stir crazy to go outside, but here, I need to remind myself there’s a world beyond our house and yards. Sometimes it feels like its own universe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re welcome, Vandana! Glad you’ve found some inspiration here. 🙂

    Like

  12. 😉 weeeee! we understand that. that’s why we haven’t left our house for a vacation for nearly a year once we got it all renovated and decorated, although we do get outside everyday. what a gift to create homes you love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Illuminations Now!!.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, and your home IS the vacation hotspot within walking distance of Lake Tahoe. What’s not to love?! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Posted by Peggy on January 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    The tapestry is so beautiful!
    As a kid, I used to rearrange my room every so often. My family thought it was a bit weird, but I was just following the flow of energy and when something in life felt stagnant, I had to get it moving! Switching placement of things was natural to me and I could feel it instantly in my mindset. If I could, I would rearrange the house from time to time! But I know it would drive everyone crazy, so I stick to rearranging my office and opening windows. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you, Peggy! It was my favorite of the ones available. Perfect for gray Indiana and Michigan winters. Rearranging anything helps! Little things … carry big energies. 🙂

    Like

  17. ❤ love also we got to share it with you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Me, too! ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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