January 16, 2023
Why choosing your ritual objects and elements of home décor with intention matters
“Our minds, our bodies, and the spaces we live in are all related. Our inner space and our peace of mind are affected by our outer space. […] It’s hard for the mind to be peaceful when the body isn’t in a physical space that’s peaceful.” - Brother Phap Dung
Take a moment to observe the space around you. Where are you? Are you indoors or outdoors? Is it loud or is it quiet? How is the light? If you’re inside, what colours are the walls? What kind of floor are you standing on? Are you alone or are you with other people? Are you in a tidy, organised space or are you surrounded by chaos? Does the room feel spacious or cluttered? Does it look beautiful to you or would you decorate it completely differently? Using different colours perhaps. Changing the wall art or adding some candles on that shelf, maybe. Slowly, become aware of the things that fill your space. Don’t just gloss over them absent-mindedly. Take a moment to really observe them, as if you were seeing them for the very first time. Try to describe them in your head being as specific as possible. As if you were describing them to someone who isn’t there with you. You can start by focussing on just one portion of the room. What do you see? Or one specific object. What is it? What colour is it? what texture does it have? Does it evoke a specific memory or feeling? Why?
Now take a moment to tune in with your body and your breath. Notice how you’re feeling. Notice if there’s any shift in your body when you move from one object to the other, from one detail to the next. Do you feel any tension build up? Maybe a sense of expansion instead. Maybe joy. As you continue to look around you, can you feel the energy within your body move, react to these external stimuli? Can you perceive how your body suddenly reacts, depending on what it is that you’re focussing your attention on in that moment? Can you feel your mood change? Your energy change? Can you appreciate the difference between when your body feels expansive and when it feels constricted? If you can, then you’ve just experienced in practice what Brother Phap Dung very graciously explained in his quote.
As someone who has always been innately receptive and sensitive to the external world, this is something that I experience every day. This type of sensitivity turned out to be a valuable skill in my work and one of the main reasons why I feel so strongly about the importance of choosing mindfully the objects that we use to decorate our home and, just as importantly, to create our own daily rituals. I would like to take a moment here to gently encourage you to do this sweet mindfulness exercise that I’ve just shared with you, the next time that you burn some incense in your home or during your yoga practice or any other activity that you like to do to recenter yourself and enjoy a moment of presence. Do this and see how you feel. Look at the objects that you’re using. How do they make you feel? Do they make you feel special? Do they inspire you to create beauty in the space around you? Do they encourage mindfulness in your gestures or are they just tools that you don’t even pay attention to anymore? Do you feel gracious in your movements when you use your incense holder? Is it part of your home decor or do you just hide it somewhere because it doesn’t fit with the rest of the room? Do your ritual objects look beautiful, elegant enough to blend in with your home style or do they rest in a drawer, hidden away, making it even harder to remember to use them on a daily basis? Do you have the right tools to express yourself creatively and intuitively when you make your altar? Do you feel proud of your home sanctuary?
If you resonate with everything that I’ve shared so far, I am sure that you will be happy to discover my selection of handmade, fine art ceramics designed both for your home décor and for your daily rituals. You may be interested, for example, to explore “Respiro”, my series of incense burners created with mindful motions guided by the rhythm of my breath, like in an act of meditation (respiro is Italian for breath).
If you’re feeling bold and eclectic, you may even want to have a look at my selection of abstract incense burners which are actual small scale sculptures that you can use to decorate your shelves or display on your coffee table.
Finally, I would love to know your thoughts about this or any other feedback you may like to share with me if you try this mindfulness exercise. I truly believe that by being intentional and present in this sense you can elevate your home experience and more importantly, turn simple gestures into an occasion to create beauty and add intention in your daily life.