From the global devastation of COVID-19 to the national grief, horror and widespread protests set off by the killing of George Floyd, the world is reeling with chaos. No wonder waves of fear, pain and uncertainty are infiltrating our thoughts and emotions — and thus, our homes.
We’re witnessing the most disease the world has seen in our lifetimes. As individuals, we can’t be untouched by what we’re seeing and hearing and imagining. What we can do is make our home a haven from the worst of the chaos.
If we weren’t impacted by the suffering caused by a global pandemic and clear evidence of racial injustice and abuse of power, we’d hardly be human. Speaking out and taking action to create a better world is a healthful and productive response. But dwelling on fearful, negative, stressful thoughts and images isn’t.
Not only does it make you miserable, it weakens your immune system. This is why bringing calm into your home is so important.
And there’s another reason. When you take the steps needed to create a calmer home, you’re leading by example. You’re teaching family members how to rise above stress and anxiety also. This is what being a positive influencer (the central message of my upcoming book, “The Tao of Influence”) is all about. (The book lays out a path — rooted in the ancient wisdom of the 4,000-year-old Tao Te Ching — for identifying and breaking the “power patterns” that undermine your influence, create dysfunctional relationships, and otherwise squelch your potential.)
When you do the work needed to overcome your power patterns, you’re building spiritual habits that create an inner sense of calm. That sense of calm will naturally permeate your home and impact the way your family experiences daily life.
Building those habits involves paying attention to your thoughts and emotions and getting intentional about your daily routines. Here are six tips to get you started creating a calmer home:
1. Start the day with a calming morning routine. Do you wake up a little early so you can enjoy some relaxing time to yourself? Or do you sleep as late as possible and then rush to get everything together for your family or work obligations?
2. Try setting your alarm a half hour earlier (which may mean getting to bed earlier as well). In this bonus time, you can journal, sip a cup of coffee, pray or meditate. Also, set a positive intention for the day ahead.
3. Decide what a “calm home” means to you, then express it through your surroundings. Is it happy, fun, joyful, out-of-the-box, connected or something else? Find ways to start bringing that feeling into reality. For example, if you want to fill your home with the energy of love, you might add candles, essential oils, salt lamps or prayer beads.
For me, a calm, peaceful home means I have lots of windows to let in the light, white walls, and no clutter. I intentionally don’t own a lot of stuff.
4. Do some spring cleaning. A messy space at home contributes to a disorganized and chaotic mind. But if we can take small steps toward establishing stillness on the outside of us, we can experience more internal peace, wellness and harmony within.
If you haven’t already done so, take advantage of the extra time you may have at home to clean and organize your space to promote balance and stillness.
5. And include your thoughts, not just your possessions. Your home is comprised of “stuff,” and all of that “stuff” contains the energy of your thoughts. Are you filling your home with stressful thoughts? And what are you doing that reinforces those thoughts?
Spring cleaning might also mean turning off the news and calling a moratorium on social media. No question those in your house can feel the energy of your thoughts.
I remember the year before going through a divorce, I went into my 5-year-old son’s bedroom to check on him while he was sleeping. He was talking in his sleep and I heard him say, “Mommy is sad.” I never told him I was sad, and I didn’t cry in front of him, because at the time, I believed it was better to hide those things. But my thoughts were sad, and he picked up on it. Your thoughts are present in the very fabric of your home.
Once you are aware of negative thoughts, release them. When a negative or fearful thought crosses your mind, release it and watch it energetically drift out of your home and dissolve into Mother Earth. Several times each day, ask yourself, What am I holding on to in this moment that could be released? Encourage each of your family members to release thoughts in this same way, too.
By the way, it’s important to fully feel your emotions. Your thoughts and emotions are meant to move through you like a wave that arrives and then dissipates. After you completely feel them, replace them with empowering thoughts that generate peace. For example: I am so thankful for the opportunity to practice letting go of this situation.
Every time you are grateful and accept a situation, it calms your mind, thereby calming your body, impacting those around you and the energy of your home.
It may be a mad world outside of your home, but choosing what you allow inside your living space is a radical act of love and empowerment for you and your family. Make your environment a place of nurture and safety, and you will feel more grounded and in control, even in these troubled times. And you’ll influence your family in a positive and meaningful way.