Because of current global health crises related to COVID-19, people worldwide are rediscovering how to make their home a sanctuary — a safe haven while they stay-in-place. We all know of special places that naturally renew our sense of spirit — a natural setting, a garden, a church or temple, or even a historical sacred site. However, how many of us consider our home itself as a personal asylum amidst a world of turmoil, obligations, and demands for our time, resources, and health?
Our dwelling is more than a place filled with objects and beings. It also offers us a sense of peace, safety and comfort from the world. There are ways we can consciously plan to steward our home so that it emanates a sense of spirit that is honoring, celebrative, contemplative, peaceful, and safe. Yes, even as we feel isolated!
In fact, a home seen as a special place may be the most important and readily accessible reverent setting on Earth. It can serve, in its unique and thoughtfully furnished way, to regenerate our spirit and give us comfort. This article suggests numerous commonsense ways to bring more soulfulness into your living space.
Home: A Place of One's Own
Perhaps the first and easiest step to make your home a sanctuary is to imagine a special place within it (or perhaps an attached porch or balcony). Even in a small apartment, this is possible. Maybe an extra room exists, an attic, a spacious closet; or, even the potential for partitioning off a section of a larger room by creatively using a decorative free-standing screen, plants, shelves, furniture, etc. In any case, it is highly likely a workable or suitable spot can be found (even if its just a comfortable chair in the corner!). Make certain to share your needs with other members, if necessary.
Knowing that a place to retreat from the world or household obligations and turn inward is possible and desirable — even if it is a quaint nook — will encourage you to create the same effect for your entire abode. In both instances, however, it may be helpful to consider four key qualities in the creation of your haven.
4 Key Qualities of a Home Sanctuary
Close your eyes and visualize your ideal indoor setting. Most likely, some aspects of these four key qualities come to mind that can help make your home a sanctuary:
What feeling or state of mind do you want to evoke? Is it one of contentment, coziness, focus, serenity, inspiration, worldliness, playfulness, etc.? The amount and type of furnishings, even the use of color and lighting can help shape the mood or ambience of a setting. Some people desire a more austere looking haven in which to focus on meditation, while others may create a cozy setting much more lived-in, for journal writing, reading, listening to music, contemplation, or doing small projects. The objective is simple: create a living style that is YOU!
What makes a setting visually appealing? Beauty and artistry feed the soul, and be it crafts, unique furniture, artwork, nature objects, even special plants or a floral arrangement — each can add to the overall mood of a setting by inviting our absorption and contemplation of their unique quality. For this reason, your personal sanctuary should reflect your mindfulness in selecting each object— from the tiny seashell on your altar to the texture & design of an area rug, or a poster on the wall.
Create a setting that is inviting to you each time you enter (and of course, just as inviting to a visitor!). Perhaps it is the way furniture is arranged, how color and lighting are used, the opportunity to listen to inspiring music, a scent in the air, a relaxing chair or pillow by the window, or even the display of nature objects, personal mementos, and inspiring quotes. All this (and more!) should give you or a visitor a feeling of relaxation and ease. A thoughtfully designed sanctuary space should feel inviting, not haphazardly cluttered or sterile.
One of the primary qualities of any sanctuary should be the opportunity for interiorizing: to go within oneself and sip from the contemplative well of peace. A home or setting, by the way it is consciously stewarded, should feel as if one can easily claim sanctuary, i.e. a special time and special place within it, even for brief periods of time.
Thoughtful effort to create an inviting heartfelt entrance, to maintain a personal or family altar which honors and celebrates life, to embrace and show tribute to the many aspects of nature, and to uphold the spiritual presence of a preferred deity — any of these are enfolding elements that make your haven feel very special.
7 Special Ways to Enchance Your Sanctuary
1. An Inviting Entrance
Make the routine of merely entering a room or your home more inviting. Hang an inspiring quote or piece of artwork, place nearby a bowl of polished pebbles, blessing cards, or quotes from which one may be selected, hang a whimsical wind chime, place a statue or objects from nature, perhaps have a display of interesting brochures and informational literature you are willing to share. Set a tone for entering your sanctuary — it will do much to make one feel enfolded & honored.
2. Create Focal Points
Purposely create places that draw one’s attention. A well-placed and designed altar is always magnetic. A creatively decorated window with a view, an especially fine piece of art, a unique object from nature, a seasonal vase of flowers, even that overstuffed chair with a lap blanket and an open book — each of these beckon the wandering spirit to come, relax, celebrate and honor.
3. Integrate Nature
Always find ways to honor nature. Maintain plants and flowers you are attracted to, seek furniture and crafts explicitly made from nature, panel a wall with wood, hang art that depicts nature. You get the idea: bring nature indoors! Celebrate the seasons and all the fun nature gives you. And, don’t forget to integrate natural herbal remedies into your admiration.
4. Create an Altar
An altar can be like a hearth to which one approaches with humility & honor. Here one can pray, find peace, sit in communion with someone, celebrate nature, even honor the lives of family members, friends, or some deity. A home may have a family or public altar as well a personal one, perhaps in a private space. Small quaint altars can be placed anywhere, even in the bathroom! An altar surface may be a specific piece of furniture such as an antique, bookshelf, chest, table, and mantel, even the floor. Always be creative and open to change with your altar. Let it reflect the true spirit of you or family members — decorate it with nature objects, personal items, pictures, a deity, candles, incense, whatever moves you deeper to your soul’s core of serenity and self-empowerment.
5. Effectively Use Color & Lighting
Colors have a powerful influence on vital energy, feelings and thought processes. By understanding basic therapeutic effects of color tones, you can decorate and furnish your setting to evoke certain states of mind. Color therapy (chromotherapy), in general, sees value in each of the rainbow colors.Green, for example, is very healing and emits growth, balance and abundance. Blue emits peace and spiritual unfolding. Purple promotes intuition and inner awareness. White suggests transformation while Black suggests mystery. Red is very energizing, Orange is happy and social, and Yellow promotes communication, mental stimulation and positive thinking. Through experimentation, you will find color variations that stir your soul.
6. Lighting is also important in setting a mood. Soft ambient light from a window, a tinted light bulb, stained glass, even from candles or a lantern are much more preferred to create intimacy than harsh bright light from overhead.
7. Heal & Soothe with Scents
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to salve the soul & human emotions. Herbal sachets, incense, a bowl of dried crushed leaves and flowers, scented candles, and especially essential oils are vital to setting a mood. The latter are concentrates of flowers, plants, and woods that, when released in specific combinations or individually, have a definite therapeutic effect on one’s psyche.
Other Helpful Ideas
- As you proceed to personalize your setting, consider these further tips to make your home a sanctuary:
- Let the music you listen to be inspiring and soothing
- Have objects that are pleasing and interesting to touch
- Have at hand a favorite meditation shawl or lap blanket
- Honor the animal realm with a picture, art piece, even a special “stuffed animal”
- Find creative ways to honor key natural elements such as air, earth, water and fire
- Maintain a small library of inspirational and soulful literature
- Consider using part of a wall to paint a mural that exemplifies the mood and drama of your space
These are just a few ideas on how to stir that unique soulfulness within you. In conclusion, remember to always be open to change. Like a garden, your spirit changes with the seasons and with the course of events in your life. (Speaking of gardening! Check out this blog post about creating a sanctuary garden, and this one about gardening with reverence. Making your home a sanctuary is an expression of your evolution. As a reverent setting, strive to bring spirit into your home that is honoring and celebrative. It is here you can feel able to take special space and time from the outside world. You will feel safe, comfortable, and at peace. You can heal and inspire hope in others with your reverent thoughts. Peace be with you.
See your abode as a sanctuary within the world, where you feel a sense of peace, safety & comfort.
While we can’t give health advice of any kind, we sure do know a lot about herbs and are happy to speak with you at any time about their properties and proper usage.