Bring home the love…

Now that you’ve collected spa-essence details from your favorite location, it’s time to spa-up your home!

To create your home spa sanctuary, you can choose to transform a niche, a single room or your entire house to reflect your favorite location. Most likely there are some spaces in your home you already love, and some others you may be less drawn to. To help  determine which spaces to transform, I suggest conducting a “guided tour” of your home with a journal and camera. Here’s how:

Take a moment to calm and center yourself.  Prepare yourself to receive information from all of your senses. Invite yourself into your home as you would a guest of honor. Since our everyday routines tend to desensitize us to detail, try to imagine yourself experiencing your home for the first time. Be with presence in each room of your house.  View it from different corners or different perspectives.  Take photos of areas you love and those you’d like to change.  Ask yourself the following questions:

1. How do I use this space?  Is it for activities? Rest? Reading? Etc.

2. How does this space make me feel? Welcomed? Creative? Energized? Calm? Nervous? Etc.

3. Does the way the space makes me feel match the purpose of the room? If yes, the energy and function of the space are in harmony, if no, this space may need some fine-tuning.

4. Then rate each space with one of the following:

  • I love this space already–no urge to make a change. (NOPE)
  • I love this space and want to make it even more spa like! (YES!)
  • This space needs some TLC and I just don’t find myself really loving it yet, but I’m not ready to make changes.(NOPE)
  • This space needs some TLC and I just don’t find myself really loving it yet– Let’s get to work! (YES!)

Now choose a space with a “yes” rating.  If you have multiple “yes” rooms, take on only as many as you can handle without becoming overwhelmed or fragmented.  The process of creating your spa sanctuary should evoke the feelings you want to bring into your space and sometimes living in a space in transition can be unsettling or inconvenient.

For my spa sanctuary, I have chosen the master bedroom.  It’s a room that has been neglected in my home for quite some time and it needs a serious facelift!  When I took my guided tour and observed our bedroom with fresh senses, the outdated carpet, mismatched paint and general clutter of the space left me feeling anything but restful.  In fact, it made me feel rather irritated, scattered and a bit frustrated that I had let this space go for so long without giving it the beauty and peace that a restorative sleeping area deserves. What a perfect example for this blog!

While I couldn’t quite bring myself to post the before pic in all it’s blue-shag-carpet-glory,  Here are some pics of the room emptied of our stuff and with the carpet pulled:

100_5076       100_5077

Enjoy finding your perfect spa sanctuary space! Next week, we’ll start collecting some colors!

Advertisements

Capturing the Ritual

The final bit of information we’ll be gathering from our spa location is capturing what I see as its spa “ritual.” In other words, what do we do here?

A spa ritual is a series of activities that helps you relax, let go of stress and receive the energy of your location.  On Assateague Island, my ritual began early.  I made sure that each morning I was on the beach before the sun rose over the waves.  I started each ritual with a journey. I would walk to water’s edge, deeply inhale the fresh ocean air for several minutes, then walk along the surf paying careful attention to the sensations of the wind, sea spray and waves.  I appreciated the colors of daybreak and the way the water reflected the sky.  I walked until my mind calmed and was no longer full of random thoughts, then found a place to sit where the sand was dry. daybreak blog The next part of my ritual was creating a sanctuary space–an altar of sorts. I would spread out my beach towel, then lay out my journal, camera and some quartz crystals that I use during meditation. I would collect shells, plants and driftwood and place them around me. I would ground myself by burying my feet into the cool sand.  Next was a centering exercise of closing my eyes and listening to the wind, waves and the calls of sea gulls.  I would imagine white light running from the core of the Earth, through my own core and up into the heavens and back down again.   Then–SUNRISE!sunrise blog

With each new day, I would make an offering.  I offered a prayer of gratitude for this life and a blessing to everyone I know and then one for everyone I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. I offered an apology for any hurt I have caused–known or unknown. And when the sun’s light was bright enough to see clearly, I would take out my journal and record any thoughts that came to mind during my ritual and any intentions I wanted to set for the day. A common intention for me was “I fully appreciate this day.” When I felt ready, I would carefully pack up my belongings and head back to the inn, refreshed, centered and ready to start my day.

Now it’s your turn–In your spa location, create your own ritual that includes a journey, altar, centering, offering and intention. Write down your spa ritual in your journal.  You will use this ceremony to reconnect from your home spa sanctuary!

It’s About the Journey

Okay, I’ve chosen the location that has the feel of the spa sanctuary I’d like to create–in my case it is the Assateague Island Seashore in Virginia. I have my camera and my journal.

Now it’s time to slow down, get centered, and prepare to receive the emotion-evoking input from this beautiful setting!

For me, the transition from go-go-go to ahhhhhhhh is not an easy one!  Slowing down is a journey.  If you are one of those talented individuals who can move from activity to stillness quickly, feel free to skip this blog entry!  For me, the first step in moving from activity to receptivity starts with the physical body.  The simple act of walking to my destination helps me to leave the day-to-day behind.

If your location requires a journey, as you walk, take the time to draw your attention away from the day and into your body.  Notice how it feels to move, how your feet feel when they hit the earth, how the wind feels through your hair, etc.  If your location is close by, try stretching gently or practicing QiGong or Yoga, bringing your attention and presence into your body, leaving other thoughts for another time.

When you feel like it’s the right time to stop moving, stop and sit.  Pull out your journal and write down any fleeting residual thoughts flowing through your mind, promising to come back to them at a different time. If you enjoy meditation, feel free to practice a few minutes of centering meditation, imagining yourself breathing a stream of light from the center of the Earth, up your legs and spine, through the top of your head and up to Heaven. Then breathe the light from Heaven, through the top of your head, down your spine and through your legs and back down to the Earth’s center.

When you feel like you’re fully connected to your location and present in the moment, you’re ready to start collecting input through the senses!

The inward journey.
The inward journey.

Setting Boundaries

Setting Boundaries
Setting Boundaries

This is the beautiful brick border that my husband put in years ago.  At the time, it clearly delineated the flower bed from the lawn, with its cleanly cut edge carving a flowing S-curve between the green grass and the brown mulch. It formed a perfect tidy boundary, and the yard looked amazing.

Blurring the Lines…

Since then, those bricks have been shifted again and again to accommodate the ever-changing growth of the flower beds. The bricks have been spaced further and further apart with some of the not-so-visible stretches having no bricks at all, as theirs were borrowed to address the needs of the more prominent areas. Because of these gaps in both bricks and attention, it’s no longer so clear what is lawn and what is flower bed. The grass has crept into the beds and plantings are finding their way into the lawn.

It’s time to re-define those boundaries—to disentangle one space from the other, and create that bit of separation that allows each area to thrive alongside, but independently of the other. Time to let go!

WEED: BLURRING THE LINES

SEED: CREATING CLEAR BOUNDARIES

Renewing Your Belief System

LilyThis is one of my beautiful daylilies.  For every birthday, my parents give me one.  We meet at the Solaris Lily Farm and walk through the rows upon rows of flowers, carefully picking the year’s new variety.  This is one of my favorite things.  It sets a sense of tradition—something that is just for my parents and me.  I love knowing that this daytrip will happen year after year; that we’ve chosen this family ritual.

Each year the lily garden grows plant-by-plant.  It’s become a timeline of memories for me, with each new lily marking a point in my personal history.  When the lilies bloom, I like to spend time among them thinking about my parents and how much they mean to me and how much their beliefs and values have helped to shape me into the person I am today.

Before this year’s daytrip, I’ll go through the lily garden and also my beliefs.  Some look great just as they are.  Some are looking a little shabby and need some attention.  Some are so overgrown, they need to be split.  Some just don’t fit into my color scheme anymore.   I will consider thoughtfully which are to stay, which I will relocate, and which I will let go.  I will clear a space for this year’s addition.

WEED: STAGNANT BELIEFS

SEEDS TO PLANT:  EXAMINE BELIEFS–AFFIRM THOSE THAT BENEFIT, CULL THOSE THAT NO LONGER BELONG & MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW.