Creating An Outdoor Sanctuary
With the pandemic making our time outdoors hard to come by, we humans have been going a little stir crazy. And while we NEED to stay home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, we humans also NEED to get outside for the wellbeing of our souls. Vitamin D from the sun is an instant mood elevator and getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature helps bring us into the present moment. Breathing in fresh air, feeling the warm sun on our skin and connecting our feet to the earth brings us that feeling of connection and oneness that the yogis seek in practice (samadhi) by way of the senses.
We may not be able to enjoy many public spaces outside at the moment, but we can use this extra time we've been allotted to make our own outdoor spaces our personal sanctuaries.
I've recently redone my backyard and the feeling of bliss I get every time I sit outside in my beautiful outdoor space makes my heart light and happy. I reminded of how much I have to be grateful for and it helps take my mind off the stress of our current situation. The kids play outside for hours, which is so much better for them than being stuck indoors 24/7, especially now that schools are closed. My family is happier, my cup is full, and this love I've poured into my home pours right back to me through their smiling, happy faces.
Caring for our homes is a form of prayer. Here are some tips on how to make your backyard your sanctuary...
How to Create a Beautiful Outdoor Sanctuary:
1. Give it as much love and attention to detail as you would your living room or bedroom (and if you don't give those spaces much love yet then there's no better time than now to start). Put your unique style and little touches into making it feel special. I love putting out crystals to remind me of how sacred everything is. If you haven't done much decorating and don't know where to start, go to Pinterest and look up "outdoor spaces" or "backyard decor" and you'll see loads of inspiration. You can check out my decor boards on Pinterest here to get started.
2. Instead of getting rid of that old couch in the garage or that chair you're thinking of tossing, consider putting them outside with a cute rug underneath to set off the space. And if you don't have any old furniture to repurpose, then you can check out this link here to my new backyard set that I'm OBSESSED with to get some ideas. Think of how much money you've spent on clothes that you hardly wear. You'll sit on this thing every day! It's more than worth it. We can afford most things when we pay attention to what we're wasting our money on so that we can redirect our purchases to things that will make more of a difference in our lives. Mindfulness should permeate all aspects of our lives, especially our money and where we direct it.
3. Utilize colorful blankets/throws with nice texture to cover the cushions if they've been loved on super hard, and an easy way to add new life to an old chair or couch is simply add new pillows. Pillows are the easiest and least expensive way to refresh a space.
4. As for the rug? DO IT! It will make you fall in love with your new sanctuary even more. There are lots of cute indoor/outdoor options these days from brands like Ruggable.
5. Greenery! Add as many green things as you can. They help us breathe better, are beautiful to look at and add life all around you. It's also a great time to start a garden which would not only add beauty to your space but will also provide a mindful activity for you to engage in either solo or with your kids. Gardening is peaceful and promotes caring and a present mindset.
6. Lights - I love my mason jars with fairy lights that are solar powered. I don't have to turn on any switches...they just come on once it gets dark. So easy! I also have strung lights overhead that come with a solar option. Pretty night lights make the gorgeous, warm summer nights we have in store for the upcoming months.
7. Add a water feature. We have our pool which is the main attraction in the backyard since our backyards actually quite small, but what I love most about it is the waterfall. It goes on the morning, afternoon and evening for a few hours and provides the most lovely sound of falling water. It instantly puts me in a better mood and provides the perfect background noise for afternoon naps and mediations. If you don't have a pool you can purchase a small fountain to arrange with your plants for the perfect outdoor sanctuary. Here are a few I found online which would work great...
What if I don't have a backyard or much of an outdoor space to work with?
You can utilize a lot of these tips by bringing the outdoors inside to you. House plants, rich colors and textures, pretty lights around your open windows with a cross breeze blowing through. It might not be quite the same as a sprawling backyard, but just adding that special touch will make a big difference in how you feel.
Pouring love into your home, through creating beautiful spaces, keeping it clean and organized and putting your own, unique and meaningful touches into the decor, is an act of self love and a form of prayer. It's also a beautiful way to give back to your family by creating a special space for them to grow up and develop their imaginations in. Caring for your space is a way of saying thank you to the Universe for the blessings it has bestowed upon you. When you care for the things you love, the things you love give back. When I started caring for my home in a more intentional way as a component of my spiritual practice, more abundance started to flow my way.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your home more as you spend these long days and nights in your space. Anytime you get flustered, depressed or overwhelmed, retreat to your sanctuary, take some slow, deep breaths of fresh air, soak up the sun and remember that it's all good. You have so much to be grateful for.
Much love! Stay healthy my friends,