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Is Your Home a Healing Place?

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Is Your Home a Healing Place?

In search of your serene sanctuary.
Yosaif  August
Yosaif August More by this author
Jan 30, 2010 at 09:00 AM

A few years ago, my wife, Tsurah, had surgery and was facing an extended convalescence. We talked about her healing and the fact that our bedroom is right next door to my office, and we quickly realized that she wouldn’t be able to convalesce with phones ringing, lights on at all hours, office equipment humming, and my prancing back and forth. Tsurah needed a serene, healing cocoon.

I’d chosen the space next to the bedroom for an office because it has a commanding view of the Ashokan Reservoir and the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. The view from the office inspired me and made me feel optimistic, which was helpful to my work. However, life goes on, and our needs were shifting. Now the most important thing in our lives was Tsurah’s full and complete healing, and that could be disrupted by the activity in the office. She needed a bedside healing sanctuary where she could have control over her time and space. So I moved my office to the other side of the house, and interestingly enough, I wound up enjoying my new space, which was womblike and inspiring in its own way. The new office allowed me to concentrate more on my work, and also provided me with a place to play music as loud as I liked without disturbing Tsurah.

We discovered that returning home to convalesce provided a wonderful experience of seeing our living space with fresh eyes. This was a great opportunity for conducting what we call a “How does this help me heal?” survey. This survey is simple and straightforward. Most things will jump right out at you, and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t seen them before. Actually, you probably have seen them, but your mind deposited them in the “Who’s got time to deal with that?” file.

When you’re in a healing frame of mind, you feel entitled to have a more supportive space in which to live. Other than feng shui experts and interior designers, most of us don’t organize our living space with our well-being in mind. Most people live in environments that are, to a large extent, creations of happenstance reinforced by habit. Where you set things down when you first come into the house is where they’re likely to remain. For example, what’s the path a newspaper follows after it enters your home?

In my house, newspapers stack up (often unread) and become small nagging piles of unfinished business. They’re not removed until they become such a nuisance that we can’t stand them anymore.

If we were away for a while and returned home in a healing frame of mind, we might realize that it isn’t good for us to be surrounded by piles of unread papers. Once we saw that, it would be easy to figure out a simple daily plan to remove this minor hindrance from our lives and replace it with clear space. Getting rid of clutter is a lasting change that will make you more comfortable.

If you don’t have a place in your home where you can be peaceful and serene, this is the time to create one—even if it’s a small nook in your bedroom. A water fountain and a candle can create an instant sanctuary, as can a poster with a scene from nature and relaxing music. You may want to go further and fill the space with pictures, symbols, and items that evoke pleasant memories. This will be the place you can go when you need rest or when you need to restore yourself.

As you’re paying attention to the sights and sounds throughout your home, take a moment to think about the scents, too. Studies have shown that some aromas give people a sense of well-being. Most doctors aren’t aware that our sense of smell can have such a powerful effect on us, but real estate agents know it and use fragrances to sell houses. So fill your space with comforting scents, such as vanilla or apple pie.

Be creative in thinking about how to make your home a healing place.

About Author
Yosaif  August
Yosaif August is the President and CEO, Bedscapes/Healing Environments International, Inc. My own vision is to create a healing cocoon or comfort zone around every patient in every bed in every healthcare setting in the world. -Yosaif August Continue reading