A mindful place does not need to be rich
A mindful house is not equal to richness, nor comfort. It’s created by the feeling, the atmosphere, and the soul of a house when you enter it.
‘La Baraque’, a mindful place of “helpless people”
In the commune where I currently live in Belgium, we have a neighborhood called ” the Baraque”. It’s a very special place. People say it’s a commune of “helpless” people. People built their own “lighthouse” with their own materials, and decorated them, with vivid colors and flowers. Some said that these people stayed there because they did not have enough money to buy a “real house”.
But my children and I love to go for a walk there. Because we feel this ambiance of lightness like the spring wind on your face. We see the love of life blossoming in the flowers and the colors.
Lotus ponds in Plum Village
Another place I love? I went to Plum Village for a mindfulness retreat in France in 2018. As a Vietnamese, I was filled with this strange feeling to see its landscape.
Ponds filled with Lotus, bamboo trees everywhere, and the whole field of white mulberry… It’s a typical Asian village found in the middle of Europe.
(Photo: My children playing with bamboo trees in Plum Village)
Today, I believe this was possible because Thich Nhat Hanh‘s soul was filled with love for these trees. He wanted them to be with him.
Indeed, a mindful house does not depend on your richness. It depends on your soul. It’s the care, and the energy of mindfulness, that bring it to life
Now you may ask, how to create a more mindful house?
Mindful about things whose existence we forgot
A society of abundance
We live in a consumption society with abundance. We can buy things easily on a whim. Some of us, I included, lived innumerable years in a place filled with all unused stuff and things, whose existence we even forgot.
“My partner had 15 cartons of books that he left for years in the garage after our house move”, Lauri said. “Is it not too sad for those books? Because we don’t even know they exist.”
Mindful, we would like to be more connected with our house and each object in it. Let us mindfully tidy it up!
A special way of tidying up your house
Want to know a very special way of tidying up your house? Learn from Marie Kondo, the Time’s most influential Japanese, author of “The life-changing magic of tidying up”. Here is what she suggested.
To tidy up your house, you take the time to take each and everything in your hand. Mind you, each and everything! (If you have a bookshelf, you’ll need to take each book down!) Then you feel it.
The question to ask yourself is not “Do I need this?” (Or, be honest, a lot of us will ask “Will I need it in two years?!”). The question is: “Am I still having a connection with this object?” “Does it still mean to my heart”?
If not? You should not keep it in your house.
You may not need 20 T-shirts
This way, you may not need 20 T-Shirts, 10 of which are lost forever in the back of your cabinet. The 3 T-shirts you have are the ones you love most, that you care, and are connected to. You use them until they are worn, mindful of the work of people in nature in bringing it to you.
Folding our shocks
In the same way, in our daily tidying up chores, we should bring the same attention and mindful energy. Marie Kondo mentioned this in her book
When you fold your socks, they should not be stuck together. They can’t breathe. You can put them one over the other and roll them. They look nicer. Both you and them feel better!
Consequently, we can really create a house which is pure, that lets energy going through. We don’t find any “forgotten & dark” corners with objects we don’t even care about… We live in a house where every object is present with us mindfully. Naturally, we won’t have many of them, but each one is beautiful, meaningful, and close to our hearts.
Ways to live mindfully – connect to the nature in your house’ objects
In addition to tidying up mindfully your house, make it a place of connection to nature.
Do you believe that the objects in your house can help you mindfully connect with nature? Joanna Trevelyan would say yes. She is the author of this great shiny book “Holistic Home”. She has wonderful suggestions on how to create loving energy in your house through the art of Fengshui. The materials of the objects you choose in your house can definitely bring more mindful energy and connection.
Let’s see in details how we can do it.
If you are mindful, you might prefer touching a wooden object than a plastic one. I may not explain why. But you will feel more connected. Similarly, a curtain in linen or cotton brings you some good, compared to a synthetic one.
Will it cost me more?
You may say, “these natural materials are more expensive!”. Let me tell you the story, in a mindfulness retreat, one of our practitioners shared with us:
“I only bought one pair of trousers, which was very expensive. It is made of natural cotton, of great quality, and fair trade. I have only one, not 3 or 5. But I feel good and proud when I wear it”.
So yes, if you are mindful, you will consume less, more responsibly. You fill your house with great objects. And it does not cost you necessarily more than when you buy tons of useless things whose existence you forget shortly. Do you agree?
Does this bring suffering?
The same as eating, when you buy something, take a minute to feel if this object carries in it any suffering, of the Earth, of animals, or of people. A blanket made with bird feathers, a carpet made of sheep’s skin… Can we find an alternative? It’s not always possible, but we can try our best.
Bring energy of love to your house
A few flower pots on a terrace? Some magical lights in the garden? A touch of color? When you are mindful, you feel this loving energy that inspires you. Not less in making your house a beauty!
Yesterday, I came back with a lot of pink and violet flowers and decorated my windows. Suddenly, all my neighbors were caught up with envy to clean up and decorate their doors. You see, energy flows!
Ways to live mindfully – start today with your house
We live in a consumption society with abundance. We can buy things easily on a whim. Sometimes, we fill up our house with innumerable objects whose existence we totally forget.
If we start living more mindfully, we will have more connections with each and every object in our house. We create a mindful and beautiful place to live. It has a soul and filled with loving energy. And it brings good to the Earth, animals, and people. Start today!