How Our Homes Help Us Heal

This post is a follow up to my previous post on my philosophy that our homes should act as sanctuaries for us and our families.  I believe wholeheartedly that, especially in today's world, our homes need to be places that we can escape, rejuvenate, revive and prepare ourselves to be the best that we can be as we go out into the world on a daily basis.

And so today, I want to talk about the concept that our homes - as part of being sanctuaries or refuges- can act as places of emotional healing.

If we believe that we are affected by our surroundings, which I believe whole-heartedly, then it not only matters what those surrounding look and feel like, but also what we purposely put into them to provide emotional nourishment as well.

For example, I have two great passions.  One is interior design (surprise!) and the other is writing. And so I use my house to nurture both of those passions.  

Even though I am short on space in my house, I made it a priority to add a mini home-office to  my bedroom complete with a desk, lamp and computer where I can sit down (in peace) and write to my heart's content.  This little nook keeps me from having to work at the dining room table or the living room sofa in the middle of all the family goings-on.  And it validates my need to create through the written word by providing an area dedicated to my craft.

My entire house, on the other hand, provides a workshop to perfect my design ideas.

As I was mulling over what I wanted to share in this post, my mind was brought back again and again to a piece that I wrote back in 2011 in response to a blog post written by my friend Myquillyn also known as the Nester.  I want to share part of it here.

It starts with a quote from Myquillyn's post:

 Nobody accuses the writer who is restless with the pen and a blank page of trying find her contentment in the wrong place. Is the singer who changes the arrangement, the pianist who craves the keys, the painter who tweaks the canvas, the collector searching for that one last treasure, the songwriter who paces the floor waiting for the perfect words, are they looking for meaning and contentment in all the wrong places simply based on what they are passionate about? Is it about time they smartened up and stopped wasting their time? No one would dare accuse them of such. I think they are created to pursue their art. 

That quote was my "Aha!" moment. It made me think about myself and my own desire for a beautiful home. And how that may be interpreted as materialism or discontent. But it isn't. It's my form of art. Like Nester, I have been interested in decorating spaces since I was a little girl. I talked my father into building a window seat for my bedroom. As a teen, I read decorating articles with interest, and incorporated ideas into my own room. When I moved into my college dorm, unable to choose furniture for the room, I went on the quest for the perfect bedspread and wall art. I put up a wallpaper border in my college apartment (no judging, it was the 90's!). It's just a part of who I am. 

And now to quote myself from the comment I left on that particular post... 

I am in complete agreement with you about purchasing intentionally and about being intentional in the way we decorate our homes. I too have purchased things just because they were “cute” and "a good deal” and I figured I could use them at some point, or even because they were all the rage in blogland at that point in time. However, everything was put into sharp perspective for me when my husband was in a near fatal car accident this last summer. My job (which was a 6 year contract) also came to end at the same time. Here we were, in a precarious situation…with no income…living off what little retirement we had. There was absolutely no way in the world that I could go out and spend money on my home…whether the purchase was a good deal or not was irrelevant. 

 And yet, I am a designer in my heart. It is my passion. It is my art. I felt an intense need, perhaps even moreso because of the tenuous nature of our situation, to create a home that was beautiful, comforting and nourishing to my soul. A place where my children were at home. The fact that I didn’t have any money to do that with was not a deterrent, it was a challenge. And so I set about arranging, and rearranging what we had. I learned that I didn’t have to purchase anything…good deal or not… to decorate a home. And I made a lovely home. And some people [may have thought that I was] spending money I didn’t have on decorating my home... And although I shouldn’t have needed to justify things, or explain that I hadn’t spent money on what I had done…I did justify it, I felt the need to vindicate myself... just as you said, sometimes those of us with decorating in our blood are deemed to be materialistic and superficial. I don’t believe that is the case. It certainly wasn’t my intention during that time. It isn’t my intention now.  
And there's the truth of it in a nutshell. I redecorate to nourish my soul. It is a passion. It is an art. I expect those around me to pursue their passions. I encourage them to hone their art.

And that is exactly how I know that our homes can help us to heal.  My home helped me to heal during the very difficult period of time after my then-husband's near-fatal accident.  And today, my home continues to help me to heal from the heartache of divorce.  It helps me face single parenthood with a happy heart.  It helps me to deal with my anxiety.  

And your homes can help you with  your emotional healing as well.  Whatever your passion is, make a place for it in your home.

Do you love to paint?  Place a small easel near a window.

Do you love music?  Dedicate a corner in your living room to your instrument.

Do you love the piano, but have no room for one?  I do too!  We have a small keyboard.  It's no baby grand, but it can create some beautiful music.

Whatever your passion, there is a way to bring it into your home.
Carve out a place, no matter how small, where you can pursue your dreams - a place in your home where you can be authentically you. 

I promise it is worth it.  Because we are here on this Earth for a finite period of time, and our one true purpose is to develop ourselves in all the ways that are good, to do everything that we can to reach our highest potential.   If you love to do something, and it brings you joy and peace, make space for it in your home. And then make space for it in your life on a daily basis.


Our Homes Our Sanctuaries Blog Series

How Our Homes Help Us Heal -  you are here

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