I love the word “hearten” which denotes our capacity and energy to encourage, comfort, cheer, and enliven.
Amidst the weightiness of prevalent and often divisive terminology of pandemic, distancing, social injustice, inequality, and discord of rights and mandates, our hearts and homes seem to be in desperate need of a little heartening. We need more energy to nurture, inspire, reassure, ease, invigorate, and brighten.
When we hearten, we establish our attitudes and environments with healing power. Because each one of us is privileged to have a heart that sustains life, we hold the ability likewise to hearten our actions and our surroundings with life. We may work to sustain our confidence, our happiness, and our hope.
Heartening holds power to balance and equalize our challenges with cheer. Nowhere can this power of positivity be more aptly applied or more necessary than within our homes.
1) Energize with Light
Light awakens one’s senses and cues growth. It enhances color and emphasizes perspective.
- Draw the curtains back, raise any room-darkening shades, and let the sunshine or even starlight in.
- Place stained glass panels, interesting bottles, sun-catchers, prisms, crystals, or even geodes at or in front of a window to capture and disperse variations of light.
- Brighten your mood with the well-lit distribution of table and floor lamps and other ambient light sources, including hanging lanterns.
- Create a sense of balance by carefully spacing and distancing light sources in a triangular pattern throughout the room.
- Burn candles. With the mesmerizing dance of their flames, candles can soothe and set the tone for a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
2) Live in Full Color
“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.”
~ Wassily Kandinsky
When carefully fitted to one’s attributes and personality, color becomes stimulating, inspiring, and even curative.
Surround yourself with the colors that you love. However, don’t prejudge colors with which you may be less familiar or stereotype those tones previously you’ve professed not to like. Be courageous enough to consider all colors and their intensities. Like relationships, color tends to grow on those with whom they invest time and seek to understand. Who knows if you might just discover a new vivid and inspiring friend,
- Paint or wallpaper an accent wall with an exciting and maybe unexpected pattern or hue.
- Display bright and lively towels in your bathroom or kitchen. Of course, please use them. Color loves interaction.
- Place a bowl of energetic yellow lemons or a vase of orange zinnias at your workspace or on your cocktail table to infuse encouraging color in your conversations.
- Introduce a splash of hospitable color to pillows or throws on accepting sofas and chairs.
- Layer contrasting colors of linens and sheets on your bed to create intrigue rather than the predictability of matching in conventional standard practice.
- Hang vibrant art that pulses with enthusiasm in an otherwise somber space.
- Serve up color at the table with a kaleidoscope of plates, bowls, platters, and serving pieces.
- Liven up your food with a multicolored myriad of fresh and imaginative ingredients.
3) Nurture Your Life with the Living
“Nothing inspires life more than that which is living.”
Nurturing your life with items that grow and breathe rouses your thoughts and animates your actions. These viable items stimulate a desire to live life more fully with an added responsibility to maintain life more precisely. Fill your home with living things.
- Cultivate plants into the décor of almost every room. Allow floribunda to breathe life into your habitat and provide you with a motivation to sustain and care for them.
- Fill bowls and decorative trays with fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Their bounty will regenerate your gratitude.
- Pack vases and pitchers with freshly cut flowers, herbs, seed pods, live branches, or grasses. Their thirst for life and fragrant scents will encourage you likewise to stand tall and face the world with attractiveness.
- Fit a fountain into your surroundings. The continual movement and soothing sound of water will refresh and renew your perspectives while inducing you to reflect upon your loyalties.
- Host an animal friend. Even if you’re not a pet lover, watching the marvel of a cocoon open in a glass jar or a guppy swimming in a bowl can invoke rejuvenation. Amongst dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, insects, birds and various other magnificent creatures, the wonders of your home-based world can develop and expand, instructing your awareness while encouraging and supporting a valuable nourishing companionship.
4) Frame Your Joys
“A joy framed is a joy maintained, and a joy maintained is a joy regained.”
Protect and perpetuate the happy moments of daily living by keeping them on center stage. Keep current the miraculous, transforming moments of your life by showcasing reminders, souvenirs, and tokens of people, places, and experiences that have elevated you and your happiness.
- Surround yourself with cherished framed images of children, grandchildren, friends, loved ones, and the special moments you have shared.
- Frame treasured mementos and keepsakes—like your grandmother’s handkerchief or father’s favorite pocketknife, your child’s first slingshot or girl scout uniform, your graduation certificate, other awards of accomplishment, even a beloved hand-written note—remind you of just how beloved you are.
- Frame artwork that inspires, uplifts, and beautifies—especially those with which you have an emotional or unforgettable connection. Please don’t forget to preserve the magnet art of your children beyond a single month’s swing on the refrigerator door. However, don’t limit yourself only to paintings, photography, and drawings. Try mounting or framing a prized art tile, artifact, woodcarving, needlework, or even a motivational word or phrase in hand lettering.
5) Re-collect to Remember
“Re-collect to remember the whimsical, intriguing, and even extraordinary motivations and amusements of your past.”
Collecting is often the most joyful part of any collection. We tend to work eagerly to amass those things about which we are the most passionate. Unearthing and rediscovering those collections of our past can rejuvenate our enthusiasm and help us re-experience the joys of their accumulation.
- Unveil hidden-away treasures. Bring stored china and crystal to the table for dinner, create a clothesline to display stockpiled greeting cards, arrange a fanciful pick of perfume bottles on a vanity tray, or organize a stow of crocks on a morning room mantel or hearth.
- Allow collections to complement their environment and encourage realism conducive to their use. Display a collection of vintage stamps in the library or an antique walking cane in the foyer.
- Rearrange long-standing and tired displays to refresh their admiration. Consider moving collections to a new position of standing within whatever room they reside or perhaps to a different place in the house altogether.
- Group items for dramatic effect. However, be careful not to diminish the impact of items by an overconcentration of similarity and resemblance, producing a “seen one, seen them all” approach. Sometimes dividing a collection into different locations or choosing to rotate its pieces creates continual curiosity.
- Vary heights and depths for visual interest. Use pedestals and books as risers to achieve a range of diverse relationships.
- Create a gallery wall. Hang individual collections of heirloom family photos, French provincial paintings, cutting boards, plates, or clocks. Use frames within the same color tonality to create a unified look.
Employing these simple design principles can help revitalize vibrant energy within your home and chase away the discouraging and disruptive influences that draw from your impressions of confidence and peace. You hold the power to hearten your home.
So, gather your heart and get to it.
R. Shannon Mock
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