Friday, March 6, 2015

More Energy

So, as I was saying, I have this strong sensitivity to my surroundings: colors, shapes, light, mood, energy, etc.  But unfortunately I do not have the talent of being able to easily make things look good. 

This may seem silly, but I struggle with this. 

I want so badly to, as I said before, make my home an extension of myself, a visual representation of my soul, a place where I can feel completely at home because it is Me.  But I have a really hard time with actually doing that. 

I can't tell you how many times I have agonized over paint chips in the home improvement store and maybe even picked several out but then never had the guts to paint.  Or had such a hard time deciding where to hang pictures that I just never hung any.  I was so afraid I would do it wrong that I never did it at all.  Isn't that silly? 

And then I have had some bad decorating experiences.

I remember one time in Idaho I went to a home decor discount store and bought some things I liked.  I brought it home and set up a little tableau on one wall of my living room: two framed prints of topiaries and a decorative clock and I don't know what else.  Then I was so afraid I had done it wrong-- that people would come in my house and say "that does not look good."  I could never enjoy it because I was worried about it. 

I learned from that that it needed to be about me and what I liked and not what looked good to other people.  I think I am over that now.  But I still have a hard time a lot of times deciding what I like and how to put it together.  

When we moved into our house in Oklahoma,  while I was waiting for the moving truck to arrive, I decided to repaint the kitchen.  The kitchen in that house was rather dreadful, but I thought it would be tolerable with a fresh coat of the right color of paint.  After some thought I decided I would enjoy a bright leaf green.  I had never painted anything such a deep color before and I was nervous because you never really know how it will look just from the chips.  So I went with some advice I had heard once: pick out the color you think you want, then buy the next shade lighter on the card. That's what I did, and it was a bad idea.  The green was too pale and looked sickly under the fluorescent light against the dark wood cabinets.   I didn't have time to repaint before the truck arrived and then I never got around to it, so I was never happy in that kitchen until we tore it all out and rebuilt it-- which it badly needed.   I don't know if the right shade of green paint really would have made that much of a difference in that kitchen, bad as it was, but the wrong shade really made it awful. 

When we remodeled, I decided I didn't have the color skills to be an innovative genius.  I picked up a brochure at Lowe's that showed good kitchen colors.  There was a pale yellow I liked, so I bought that exact shade.  That was a good idea.  It turned out really nice.  I need expert help with decorating.  I need to look at what other people have done and copy what looks good to me because I just don't have the eye and the skill to do it myself, much as I want to.  

I am so totally loving Pinterest right now.  I said that already, didn't I?  Well, Pinterest makes me happy.

I am also thinking about this energy stuff and how that relates to a home.  Homes definitely give off energy-- vibes.  There are a lot of reasons for this, and some of them I don't want to get into, but color and light play a role in this.  Shape does too.  

I have been reading about feng shui (okay, it's just fun to say feng shui-- it's pronounced "fung shway" and I love the way that comes out of your mouth!)  I think some of it is kind of silly, but I also think there is some truth in it.  There is energy around us and our homes can have a harmonious balance of energy.  Colors, shapes, light, and materials can be important in this.  Maybe this is what I am sensitive to, and why some colors and patterns really appeal to me and others are almost painful for me to look at.

I think it is interesting how Carol Tuttle says there are four energy types and we should always dress to reflect our dominant energy type, while feng shui (just say it again!) says there are five energy types and they all need to be represented in our home in the appropriate locations with the right balance.  As I said before, I think that energy is probably a lot more complicated than four types or five types, but I like the feng shui idea of balance in the home.  In traditional feng shui, the decor of the home is arranged based on the points of the compass and that makes some sense to me because the way your home is oriented in relation to the sun makes a huge difference in the angle of light in the various rooms, which has a big effect on color.  

I am interested in trying some of the feng shui techniques in my home because, as I said, I need help.  If someone doesn't tell me "hang this picture here and put this paint color on this wall" I will never get any pictures hung or any walls painted.  But at the same time I am not going to do anything that I don't really like, even if feng shui or the HGTV gurus say to.  I think what that means, though, is that after I get the help I need from the idea sheets I need to pay attention to my gut instinct in relation to this house.  If I do that, I think I will be honoring and balancing the energy of my home.  

I really don't know why this is so important to me right now or why I keep going on and on about it.  When I stop and think about how people are far more important than things all this seems very silly.  And yet, my job as a homemaker is to create a haven of peace and comfort and security for all the members of my family, to make my home a refuge from the harsh world.  For me, the colors and lighting and furniture and paintings and decorative objects in my home are a key component of that.  They are not as important as the words we speak and the love we share and the prayers we offer, but they are important, especially to me.  And so I think.  And plan.  And pin.  And dream.  And love every second of it.  


Stephanie said...

I've really been enjoying your thoughts about creating a home environment. I heard once that you can tell learn a lot about someone just by being in their home and seeing what they choose to display on their walls and what books they have on their bookshelves, etc. It's so true! Our home decor can be an extension of our personality and our values.

I learned something interesting when I was on my mission in Germany 10 (no--13!) years ago. I learned that after a long day of tracting and hard work, it was so wonderful to come home to my tidy, beautiful little missionary desk. It was the one place I could completely control, and I took great care to keep it clean and lovely. I bought several beautiful tablecloths and even some tiny houseplants for my desk. It was my haven in that rough missionary world.

When I got home, got married, and began creating a home of my own, I remembered that feeling I had had about my missionary desk and decided I wanted my entire home to be that haven I craved on my mission. I LOVE being a homemaker!

How exciting for you to be planning for another new home. I have never yet owned a home (we've always rented) so I greatly look forward to someday being able to paint the walls the exact color I want and choose carpet color and wood finishes, etc. Someday, right?! Please keep sharing--and I look forward to seeing some pics (hopefully!) of the new home eventually!

Bethany C. said...

I too am enjoying your thoughts on this subject. Just over a year ago we bought our first house and had the opportunity to finish the basement ourselves. I had similar experiences of frustration in choosing the right shades of paint, even though I thought I knew what I wanted. We agonized over the swatches, picked something out and bought a small sample which we painted onto a sheet of cardboard to help us visualize it better. But after about 3 or 4 failed attempts this way, I finally went into the paint shop myself and was able to discuss what I was looking for to some experts. There are still many improvements I wish to make in my home decor, but our basement's paint job and carpeting turned out just perfect! It is just what I had hoped for. (Wish I'd shown you while you were here). Your physical surroundings really have a powerful impact on your mood and sense of well-being. As a homemaker, I think it is natural and appropriate to feel that desire to make your home beautiful and inviting in appearance as well as in spirit.