Our lovely High Falls, NY neighbors at Whole Sky Yoga asked me to guest write a blog post about Creating an In-Home Sanctuary. Had to share it here with you, too!:
The Summer months are hectic, and as wonderful as it is to get outside and spend time with friends and family, it’s also important that we find moments to re-charge. As you build your yoga practice, it’s wonderful to also create space within your home and surround yourself with calm and quiet energy.
We caught up with Jenny Wonderling, yogi, decor guru, and owner of High Falls boutique Nectar, and are delighted to share her advice on creating your very own home sanctuary.
1. a place of refuge or safety
When considering the transformation of any space, I recommend first pouring a cup of tea and calmly stepping back to take inventory of what you already know. As the details begin to reveal and express themselves, questions might arise: What kind of light graces the room? What is the sense of spaciousness? What is already there to work with in terms of furnishings, art, (that are special, that you want to keep and not that you feel you should or that are keeping you!) and details such as wall color that can easily be changed and wholly transform a room? Is there a budget, or can you use what you have? And how can you create something that is a unique expression of your goals and visions?
Before starting your sanctuary project, drop into what you are longing for.
Is it in fact a room that is being dreamed up? An outdoor environment? A whole house? Is it a place for an expression and invocation of a specific spiritual path and practice? Or is the “sanctuary” merely meant to evoke a sense of calm and creativity?
Do you crave a space that reflects nature, colorful and lush through the inclusion of earth, plants and/or crystals? Do you want something austere and zen or something that celebrates many different spiritual paths, influences and cultures? Is it an overtly sacred space or a living space that simply feels wonderful?
Throw some words out, and write them down.
Ask yourself, what should a sanctuary feel like? Authentic. Peaceful. Inspiring. Maybe it evokes a sense of wonder and dreaming. Or helps reconnect us with the importance of stillness. Reminding us most of all to connect with self.
While preparing for this piece, I imagined I would be writing about how to create a specific and inherently spiritual and inspiring space, or at least one that evokes a deep sense of calm. A room that has a focal point and is a kind of oasis from the world: the classic altar at the front of a meditative and breathy environment. But as I sat with this concept I realized the “in-home sanctuary” is what everyone should aim for in absolutely every space within and without, a balm from the world that is uncluttered, inspiring, clean, and always personal, but not necessarily austere. Similar to what we cultivate in our yoga practice.
Choose things that resonate, that have a story.
Spend some time on Pinterest —a practice I highly recommend for any creative and design spring boarding— culling together images for deeper inspiration and understanding of WHAT A SANCTUARY IS TO ME. (For the luddite this can also easily be done with images torn and pasted into a scrapbook or pinned on a wall.)
I put together a kind of inspiration board of visuals on Pinterest, and by the end I had an exquisite assemblage of a limitless sanctuary that tumbled into rooms and spilled outside, all enveloping, all inspiring, and divine. The connective tissue in all its disparateness were the elements of nature, creativity, self-expression, and authenticity (with a little humor thrown in for good measure).
Don’t forget to take your time with it all, because finding and creating the right elements is a practice in patience.
A space will also tell you what it needs and wants to be if you get quiet enough and listen, but it also needs time to reveal that. Most importantly, have fun with the process and don’t stress, for wouldn’t stressing over creating a sacred space be a nice cosmic joke!?
If you are still stumped, bring a friend over, pour some more tea and ask for help. And if you still need help and live within an hour’s drive of Nectar, I’m happy to offer some advice or an extra pair of eyes!