Mindful Design


Many months into this pandemic, we seem to be taking an "it is what it is" attitude.  We have to.  We have no choice.  We have no control.  We are buckled up and in survival mode.  The chaos around us is so confusing!  If you're like me, you may have started out strong when we were told to stay home.  I was feeling like I was going to take this time to be productive, learn something new, relish the opportunity to relax.  There was nowhere to go, nowhere to rush, no one to see, so why not make the best of it?  I was working on my book full speed ahead.  That attitude did not last long! 

Five months in and a kind of lackadaisical haze had befallen me.  My structure had fallen by the wayside, my diet went to shit, and depression set in.  Seven months in and I summoned my resiliency muscle memory.  Too many challenges, too little control leaves one helpless and hopeless.  That's where mindfulness comes in.

What do we have control over when everything around us is falling apart?  We have our mind, we have our body, we have our spirit, and we have our living space. 

We have the present moment.

The practice of being more aware of the present moment is very powerful!  When you’re a witness to your actions, your awareness enables you to make decisions that are better for your wellbeing.  That is mindfulness.

The world is an exhausting place right now ~ Let's create more beauty within.  This is such a transformative time.  We will and are rising to the occasion.

Let's channel our energy into making mindful design choices that will foster a happy, healthy, calm environment even when, especially when, things around us feel chaotic.

1.  Find a sense of order in everything.  From your meals to your self care ritual to your housekeeping, order helps the mind and body remain calm.  You want to stress less!  The energy around you should be supporting that desire for inner peace and a sense of sanctuary.  It literally has the power to change your brainwaves.  Our work/home life lines have been blurred.  If you are multi tasking from home, order is essential!  Different zones for different activities at the very least.  Clean up or finish up one task and put it away before you begin another.  A sense of order is a self care ritual.

2.  Buddy up with a plant, or now that we can go out again, keep fresh flowers in the house.  Having something living in your space enriches your energy and the oxygen in the air.

3.  Get out in nature.  Go for a walk.  Go for a ride.  Change your scenery.  The smell in the air, the sun on your skin, the scent of the trees are incredibly restorative.  The quiet you derive from being in nature keeps you mindful of employing a "big picture" attitude.  Feeling present in that moment allows for an attitude of gratitude.

4.  Engage your senses with scent.  Smell is our most sensitive sense.  It triggers memory more than any other sense, so make sure it is a positive, pleasant memory that is evoked.  Candles, aromatherapy or essential oils can subtly change your experience in a space and alter your mood.  Make sure the scents you use are chemical free! 

5.  That is a natural segway into really attempting to eliminate the amount of chemicals you bring into your environment or put on or in your body.  Chemicals can have crazy toxic effects on each of us.  You may not notice much in any one instance, but the cumulative effect of toxins surrounding us is absolutely making us sick.  Balance of body = balance of home.

6.  Live by the light.  There is so much research about the benefits of  living in tune with our circadian rhythm.  Our biological clock works hand in hand with circadian rhythm to keep our wake/sleep cycle  balanced and our immune system healthy.  Ergo, when we are in balance.... all things are in balance.

7.  Self care is not a luxury!  Surround yourself with beauty and things that bring you joy; objects, people, music, anything!  Treat yourself like a queen.  Take a long bath, indulge in a bit of chocolate, carve out some alone time.  It could be anything that lifts your spirits and puts a smile on your face.  When you take care of yourself, you can show up as the best version of yourself for others.  

8.  Change your perspective and your world changes.  Whether it be the stories you tell yourself or the objects on your table, a fresh perspective begets fresh energy and with that wisdom abundance springs.

Your living space should enhance your happiness and wellbeing, and by living space I am referring to your body and mind as well as your environment.  Everything is connected and everything is energetically linked.

photos; 1. art by Mary Finlayson, bath by mama medicine, side table design by Alessandra Branca

Closet Confidential

                         Out of Clutter find Simplicity
                         From Discord find harmony
                         In the middle if difficulty lies opportunity
                                                                             ~Albert Einstein

Spring cleaning is taking on a new meaning.  Many are taking to their closets, drawers, bathrooms and playrooms. With all this isolation and uncertainty, we can find places within our home and within ourselves to find solace.

For many, closets seem to be nothing more than a place for our clothes to hang out in. But, it is so much more.  With fear and a sense of chaos palpable in the world right now, taking control of what we have control over helps us organize our thoughts and ease our mind.  We can take control of our closets can't we?

When our closet is organized, our mind feels organized.   The closet clean out allows for stagnant energy to become unblocked, thereby, opening space up for a more dynamic energy flow. From that comes opportunity and abundance.

I know when I walk into my closet and it is exactly the way I like it; color coordinated light to dark, neat and catagorized by style, it definately creates a sense of contentment and joy.  Sometimes it's the smallest things that can provide us with a reassuring sense of  serenity

BUT, the closet clean out can take a circuitous turn when we become aware of the thoughts and emotions that are living amongst our things that tell our story.  It's not enough to just organize our belongings, we have to dig a little deeper to excavate possible limiting beliefs that nmight be lurking.

When you attempt a closet clean out keep this in mind ~

When you can't let go off something, ask yourself why am I holding on to this?  What is the meaning of this shirt, jacket, sweater, etc.  Does it represent a time or place that holds some type of memory?  Does it cause you to link the article of clothing with another person or place?  Clothes can imprint memories on you.  Like a song that comes on the radio  (radio, who has a radio anymore, but streaming service didn't sound  as nostalgic) it can take you right back to a moment in time, clothes have that power too.  Sometimes that will derail us when we are trying to purge.  Purging a memory is harder than a piece of clothing.  You have to question the thoughts you are having.

How does this article of clothing make me feel?

Does this article of clothing represent something that makes me feel good or bad?

How well does it fit?

Is it a true reflection of  who I am?

Do I feel like I look my best in it?

Do I love myself in it?

When was the last time I wore it?

Do I attach a person, place or thing to it?

Does it represent my life in the now?

Can I step into this as my most authentic self in the future?

If any of these answers are more negative than positive - purge it.

We all know how to declutter, but sometimes we just don't, for a multitude of reasons.  Like we all know how to diet but out psych gets in our way.  I  am always interested in getting to the root of a behavior.  It can show you something about yourself.  Maybe an area in your life that you could work on.  Any area that is not serving your highest need is "food for thought."   Awareness leads to change and if living your best life is the goal, this is an easy way to question what is.

If our closet was, metaphorically , a vessel for our soul, what would we allow in???

Edit ruthlessly

1 thing in, 1 thing out

Keep catagories together

Take emotion out of it.
If a girlfriend was asking you if it should stay or go - what would you say?

Everything should make you feel like the best version of yourself, even in sweats!

It's a makeover for your closet and your spirit.  That's a win/win!

Go Green and DIY Clean

All this need for cleaning is disconcerting when you are trying to lower your toxic load.  
DIY cleansers not only do just that, we most likely have these ingredients in our home, it alleviates some stress of even trying to find cleaning products that may be sold out.

I always refer to the Environmental Working Group website  (EWG) for information about everything from foods to beauty to home health care.  It's a conversation for another day.

 This is a quick tip that I am going to concoct tonight.

Brought to you by Fiberseal.

Stay Well, stay safe, stay home!

Keep Calm and Distance Yo' self

I don't know about you but I vacillate between vowing to stay clam and not let my imagination and all the hysteria get the best of me and feeling tremendous anxiety over this virus that has just about shut down the nation.  We've never seen anything like it!  It is the fear of the unknown and the lack of information or mixed messages that keeps us in this state of fear. Why are we afraid?

"The answer is a mix of miscalibrated emotion and limited knowledge," argues psychologist David DeSanto in an editorial for The New York Times.

Here's what I know for sure. We have no control over the situation but we have control over ourselves, our reaction and response.  Let's manage our anxiety and do what is in our best interest (and in this case, those that we come in close contact with).

Limit the amount of exposure to the constant onslaught of media coverage. Between the stock market and the virus, one can't help but feel hyper threatened.

Obviously we are aware of the need to wash our hands frequently and keep our distance from others!

What else can we do?  We can remain calm, stay level headed and find grace in the madness.  If you must stay home, do something you've always meant to do but kept putting off.  Stop making excuses for not having the time. You now have the gift of time.

I, myself have been putting off going thru my streaming music and making playlists.  I am envisioning how good it will feel to accomplish this task and the added plus of listening to all my music feels immediately calming!

Clean, Clear clutter. Having control over your environment really cuts down on feelings of stress. Now more than ever, your home should be a refuge from the "scaries" outside your door.

Make nourishing meals for your family.  It is a way to show your love and make family feel loved and cared for at this uncertain time.

Boost your immune system.  Our bodies need to be healthy to fight the good fight.  Eat right and take your supplements, reduce inflammation and stay hydrated.

Family time is time well spent.  If my kids were home, I'd be breaking out the board games. Oh how I miss those game nights!  Indulge in a guilty pleasure. Pick up a good book (damn it, I wish my book was published already!!!) , binge watch Netflix.  Oooh, the possibilities are endless.  Do you see the silver lining in this time out?

Find humor in the absurdity of it all.  Laughter is the best medicine when you feel overwhelmed and out of control.

Go be in nature. Take a walk outside, exercise!  I am lucky enough to be in Florida right now, so time spent at the beach is really soothing.  I get a good dose of vitamin D, listen to the waves lap against the shore and feel my toes in the sand for a full sensory experience that removes me from thoughts of doom and gloom. Go forth and create your experience.

Practice self care. Take soothing baths, experiment with essential oils, take a nap. If you are self quarantined alone; relish this alone time.  Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Being alone with your thoughts allows you to go inward.  It helps reconnect you to yourself.  Relish the solitude

Stay present and breathe.  Breathe in, then blow out and repeat " I am fine."  Breathe in, then blow out and repeat, " I am safe." Breathe in, then blow out and repeat, " I am healthy."  Don't catastrophize and stay mindful.

Don't panic and for G-d's sake, stop stockpiling toilet paper!  Be prepared but enough with the irrational panic buying!

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL: AN EXCERPT FROM "OM FOR THE HOME" .  I wish my book was out!!  I can speak to all the wonderful things we can do to ensure our home is helping heal us, especially when outside our door it's a mad, mad world.

There is a proverb that says:  “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;  by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” 

It is not enough to have a well designed home anymore, we must be mindful of the “riches:” within; our thoughts, our behavior, the relationships we participate in, the toxins that we choose to (or not to) allow into our everyday life. The self talk we use to help or harm. None of this is separate. If our outer space mirrors our inner space, then a cluttered  house equals a cluttered mind. If our inner space mirrors our outer space,  A peaceful mind equals a peaceful home.  We must take a psychological deep dive into our subconscious.

 Designing a harmonious life, full of rich relationships, balance, and living in authenticity is dependent upon designing your home to support your desires, facilitate healthy relationships, reduce stress, support healthy habits and enable you to manifest the things you want in life built upon the goals you set for yourself and the values you hold dear.  The who you envision yourself to be. The who you aspire to be at your CORE.

C   connectivity - understanding that everything is interconnected. Your emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, even financial wellbeing are each pillars of wellness, one dependent on the other.
You  cannot have a well designed home that supports a healthy lifestyle while your mind is full of negative thoughts or negative energy. You cannot have a healthy home and fill it with toxic chemicals or a healthy body if it’s filled with processed  food.  It behooves you not to engage in toxic relationships , even if you do dwell in an immaculate house, they are at odds with one another.  Inner and outer peace, inner and outer beauty ~ they go hand in hand. One cannot exists without the other.  

O   Observe , self observation is critical for transformation, which begins with awareness. Having the observational skillset to practice self-observation:noticing what we are thinking, feeling, doing, and imagining allows us to become self-aware. When we are aware of what we are thinking, feeling, doing, and imagining we realize that we have choices and choices are what make us powerful. When you practice self-observation, you will begin to recognize that the part of you doing the observing is your true self. Having that self awareness allows you to see when you  are behaving in alignment with your goals and your values and when you are not. You can also recognize when your choices are serving you and when they are not.

R   responsibility help us recognize that we only are in control of ourself. We are responsible for our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions, our home, our health. How we react to the ever changing landscape over our “interior” ensures more enjoyment not just endurance. Taking personal responsibility for choices and actions not only makes you accountable for yourself but allows for relationships with deeper understanding, trust and compassion. Stop the blame game. You are not what happens to you, you are what you make of what happens to you. Being able to see that your decisions have a direct impact on your life’s events is what being able to accept personal responsibility is all about.

E  energy is everywhere. Everything is energy. We are more than physical matter, we consist of energy, our homes consist of energy  - different states of being emit different energetic frequencies.  Energy interacts with everything all the time in ways you can't ever see, but often you can sense with your feelings.Energy is elusive but is something we FEEL. We can empower ourselves to control our personal energy with our thoughts. Our thoughts create a very real and specific vibration (whether we are aware of it or not) and that energy will seek out it's vibrational match.  When we are vibrating at our magnificent best, we are attracting others that are vibrating at their magnificent best. Think about what can be accomplished when we are all energetically in tuned at our highest level.

Call it magical thinking; but in these challenging times, among challenging people, along with our challenging thoughts, it is more important than ever to nurture yourself and create a sanctuary that calms you (within and outside of yourself) and centers you every time you walk through that door. 

 Could you be better; more joyful, more balanced, more connected to your inner wisdom? Can you do better; listen to your body and give it what it needs  to succeed?  Can you accept the things you cannot change in a healthy way, understanding that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is, we have to trust the universe has our back? Could you detach from the stories you tell yourself that you believe to be true ? Could 

above is copyrighted  material and may not be reproduced without permission.

photo artwork via Sara Shakeel. She's a great follow!

Uplevel Your Bath Ritual

Ahhh, bath time. I never truly appreciated this small indulgence until  a couple years ago.  I predict the bathing ritual will again be in favor as everything wellness in the home and the recognition of self care rituals are priorities that are becoming more and more expected, not excepted. It is a must that we take time for ourselves. When we do that, we are able to be there for others. We have better mental health.  Taking a moment for stillness reduces stress and increases our "feel good" hormomes.

While adding flowers to your bath water might be a stretch and let's be honest, it does create a bit of a mess, adding bath salts or oils will do quite nicely, thank you

Make sure the products you use are free of dyes, parabens, chemicals and other "nasties" of any kind. My new favorite clean product line is all things  Tammy Fender.  I just went to her holistic center in West Palm Beach and had the most heavenly facial!

Sometimes we need a little more r and r, that's when I call in the CBD products.
I do love a CBD bath bomb full of epsom salt and calming goodness. There are so many studies out that reinforce the wonders of what CBD can do for you. I am not really a DIY'er but I am into making these beauties, maybe for next year's holiday gifts. There are so many amazing products on the market. Make sure the CBD product you choose is of the highest quality. There are a lot of posers out there.

While I wholeheartedly support just relaxing and turning your mind off, there are times where multitasking is a must. I love this bath catty if you find yourself reading or needing a surface for accoutrements

I'm gaga over this 3 in one ditty. It's an LED lantern for a little ambient lighting, a speaker for a podcast perhaps or  mood music and a charging station.  It is not the time to run out of power.  Its  form is as good as its function.

Let's make it the best experience it can be, shall we? Our body and mind will thank us.

Like a Phoenix I Rise

2020 is off to a hectic start, but I'm not complaining because I FEEL GREAT!

By now I would have talked about my word of the year, but this book writing is very time consuming!  It's funny when I think back to my recent past word of the year words.  In 2018 it was disrupt and in 2019 it was rebirth.  I was merging coaching and interior design into what I now call holistic interior design.  I thought I would disrupt my business (in a good way).  Little did  know what was disrupted was my business (in a bad way) and everything else in my life due to my health and the death of my dad.  They wrecked me.  I may have been a bit premature with my 2019 word which was rebirth, although there was definitely movement in that direction towards the end of the year.  While things can always be worse, I was at a pretty low point, so there was only 1 direction to go, and that was up!

My 2020 word is Phoenix, renewed and reborn like a phoenix rising from the ashes, ready to soar into this new decade with more vigor and enthusiasm than I have been able to muster in a long while. I want to get back on track and am excited to step into the unknown future that was waiting on the other side of the darkness.

Since I share so much with you and many of you have been on the journey with me understanding I was struggling with my health, I am happy to report I finally got to the bottom of all my suffering.  I was so inflamed, my joints were stiff, I had to get my knee drained of fluid once a month.  From my feet to my teeth breaking in my mouth, to hair loss and more, I was suffering from a nut allergy.  I was feeding my inflammation everyday with almond milk in my coffee, and in my smoothies.  I ate a lot of  almond butter, raw almonds were a snack staple, and Kind bars.  I am almost embarrassed to say it out loud.  I went to 20 doctors!!  This should have been caught so much sooner.

I tell you this because if you or a loved one has not been feeling well and the symptons seem to be a mystery or look like autoimmune disease with much inflammation possibly mimicking Lyme disease as well, I suggest an aggressive elimination diet.  I had already cut out everything fairly early on in the process except eggs, nuts and seeds, and coffee.  I stopped them and within 3 days I started to see a difference!  Three months later with nary an almond in sight, I am back to high impact exercise and can think about traveling and getting back to the things I love.

Onward and upward!  My book Om for the Home will make its debut this year and I am firming up speaking engagements.

If you are in the Port St. Lucie area, I will be speaking at The Awaken Fair.  Being mindful of mind, body and spirit must include our space!  Our environment is part of our holistic journey because  everything is intertwined.  The state of our home tells us a lot about the state of our life.  I will be speaking at  2:00 and am looking forward to seeing lots of smiling faces.

Another thing I learned was, if you need help, ask for help.  It can be hard to acknowledge, but accept a helping hand when it's offered.  Being independent doesn't mean you have to do everything by yourself.  The people around you who stand by you and support you want to be of help and not feel helpless.  Let them support you.

Now I can put all that in the past and think about my son's wedding on the horizon.