How being home could be the best retreat you’ve ever had – By Rosie Underwood
As rumours of a ‘second wave’ circulate and un-precedented quarantines are imposed on Europe, hopes of far flung travels have been traded for staycations, and much to our relief at BAM, a boom in the slow travel movement has emerged. Pre-lock-down, societal ‘norms’ had us constantly in doing mode, as opposed to just being. As a result, we’ve been disconnected from who we really are and the homes that we’ve created. But is all that about to change?
Throughout my early twenties I was a victim of this ‘doing.’ I’d be up at 5am every day to squeeze in my yoga practice before a shoot or a commute to magazine offices for meetings and print deadlines. My evenings would be spent either back in the yoga studio or out at events and any time off I spent travelling. Like many, my ‘home’ was a place to rest my head at night and nothing else.
Ironically, I was being congratulated constantly for the same things that were going to burn me out in the long run. No one was ever going to applaud me for chilling at home with a book, but that was what my body and my mind needed more than anything. It was through this realisation that in dawned on me that the environment that we open our eyes up to every day is the foundation of how we present ourselves to the world, and it sets us up to face the vagaries of life that we can’t control.
So if having travel taken out of the picture for your foreseeable is still giving you itchy feet, try our tips for making your home a sanctuary, and know that home, whatever form it may take has the ability to centre us more than any destination or fancy retreat you might seek, and in coming home in the physical sense, we come home to ourselves and find the restorative anchor of who we really are, as opposed to the avatar that we present to the world on a daily basis.
Feng Shui experts claim that the messages we deliver to our subconscious via the images or pictures we have on our walls can have a profound effect on how we go about our days. We don’t necessarily have to physically be somewhere for our minds to feel the benefits of a place or circumstance. Pictures of running horses, moving boats on the ocean, cascading waterfalls represent flow and abundance and encourage a sense of momentum and change.
Sleep should be as elementary as breathing, but it’s become increasingly challenging for most during this pandemic, and for good reason. Remove any books you’re not currently reading, any paper work, remove mirrors and keep them in a bathroom or hallway. Mirrors reflect light, they make the energies of your sleep space very yang and active. Calming yin colours like beige are important here and reserve your sleep space for nothing but sleep (or sex.)
Make a nook in your home for a meditation space, add cushions and blankets to signal to your brain that this is a safe space. Our bodies and our minds respond well to more confined places to meditate and calm the mind, because our ancestors in the wild living in caves felt under threat if the space were too open, and our primal instincts are still very much with us in this present day. This is another reason humans are actually happier living in smaller homes.
The power of plants and wood
Flowers symbolise hope, growth and togetherness and house plants really work to purify the air we breathe. Australian Super model and founder of Kora Organics Miranda Kerr once told me that plants have helped her throughout her whole career. ‘Even when I had no money and I was living in a tiny apartment in New York, I made my own paradise.’ She said. ‘I’d fill my home with Mother in law’s and snake plant to purify the air and I always felt good.’ Keeping dead plants however can cause energy to deaden and stagnate. Wood draws us towards our roots, the roots that we hanker after, whether it’s the smell of burning Palo Santo, or the feeling of wooden furniture in our hands, or the noise or creaky furniture, it quite simply draws us back to nature and back to our centre.
We’re over stimulated these days thanks to light dominating almost every aspect of our waking days. From Blue light, to day light, to light bulbs, we avoid moving with the sun like every other living animal on the planet on the planet does and make our own sleep wake cycles as opposed to moving with the ebb and flow of nature. Soothing pools of light, amber glows and Himalayan salt lamps to help clear electromagnetic frequencies need to be considered when creating a sanctuary in your home.
Finding your Joy in those every day thrills
In a world where being busy is considered an achievement, people often mistake pleasure for joy, meaning they miss out on everyday joy in all its diversities, often seeking joy-based feelings from materialism and wealth, mistaking it for pleasure and fleeting excitement. Joy is when something aligns with your inner most core values, and your internal truth. That’s why collectively, your grounding space, no matter how frugal or affluent, is a coherent place to enable you to connect to who you really are, as opposed to what society expects from you.