Is Your Home a Sinkhole?

Your new house

Lately I have been thinking about how we use our homes. Sure, we spend time decorating them and filling them up with stuff, but how do we actually use them? Do we use our homes as places to strengthen our foundations, find inner peace, and share love with friends and family? Or do we use our homes as a place to escape, to drown out the noise of our days and let our thoughts of stress and anxiety get the best of us?

Some of us get home from work or school and put on the computer or television to decompress from the day and forget all that happened. Certainly our homes should be a place of comfort and ease, but sometimes we may use them to avoid what we are feeling from the outside world. While relaxing is great, I notice that sometimes we try to ignore the emotions we are feeling from our day instead of learning to process them. Other times, we may binge on food at home to numb feelings of stress or deal with emotions like sadness or loneliness. Many of us use our homes as a place we can rely on for immediate comfort, but what about our long-term growth?  Could it be that we are using our homes to create a sinkhole within ourselves?

I think we can change how we use our homes and start to view them as a place to grow and heal, as well as a place of comfort. Here is a list that I use for myself and my clients to create awareness of how we utilize our homes and put steps in place to build our internal foundations.

1. When we first enter our homes Maybe we can try not to run to the television or grab something to eat. We could even try to avoid immediate long conversations with our spouses and our children. We could enter our homes with a few deep mindful breaths and if possible sit down in a chair and breathe for a few minutes. This can create some presence in your mind instead of going towards “avoidance mode.”

2. As you move about your home and interact with anyone there, stay with your breath and try to be mindful of your attention to the ones your love. Try to hold the realization that all that matters is the moment you are in. Life fools us to think that the moments at work are more important than our sacred moments at home. Every moment matters so try to allow yourself the joy of what is in front of you. If home happens to be stressful, stay tuned in the coming weeks for my post on the stresses at home.

3. Think about whether something is nagging you that triggers your impulse to binge on some unhealthy food or turn the television on.  Recognize that you have Maybe. Life will change and Maybe whatever is bothering you will not be as bad as you are projecting; maybe it will ultimately be good, get better or you will find a way to be okay. Don’t expect to have all the answers the minute you have a problem. Let Maybe comfort you and bring you back to the moment where you can use your sacred home to build strength.

4. Make a list of things that make you feel good and alive. Maybe you enjoy reading, physical activity, crafts or just spending time with your family. When you wake in the morning try to commit to these activities when you get home at the end of the day. Make sure what you need is available in order to enjoy the time. There is nothing wrong with some computer or television time, just be mindful whether you are avoiding your thoughts or just enjoying the moment.

5. Don’t let papers accumulate and try to pay bills on time. Coming home to clutter and late bills creates a burden in the home that can be an obstacle to a happy and energetic household.

6. Before you go to sleep and when you wake up try to follow your breath for five to ten minutes. I like to use the mantra “Maybe” on my outgoing breath to remind me of what is possible. Don’t worry if your mind wanders. Stay with it. Over time this practice will help you find a calm place within to return to no matter what is happening in your life and that will become your most sacred home.

With this practice, Maybe we can stop seeing our homes as a place to hide from the world and rest our tired souls, but instead as a place where we can gain insight and strength and enjoy our lives. Our homes can become a beautiful sanctuary to grow, explore and share with loved ones.