I am just returning from vacation on the shores of Maine and I found new inspiration for freshening up my home. Taking cues from the natural environment, and pursuing local shops for all things seagulls, anchors, and driftwood, I wonder how I would create a home if I were to become a Mainer. I do this wherever I travel, whether it be India or the Adirondacks—I am always tuning into regional style for how this might land in my own home.
The cool thing is you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money or move to Maine to make a change. Often, a little uplift can be inspired by looking around you. This could mean picking up sea glass and stones to create some DIY art, cutting wildflowers, or browsing local thrift or antique shops. I find that the cues from the natural world are the most inspiring for home change. Let’s explore why.
Ayurveda (India’s traditional system of medicine) draws on an understanding that human beings are the microcosm of the macrocosm. That the universe is a unification and expression of the five elements—space, wind, fire, water, earth—and so are we. Wherever we go in the world, we are in communication with the five elements.
Remember that planet Earth is our habitat and whether we are on the plains, the sea, or the mountains there is always familiarity and reciprocity. The five elements exist in us and are all around us. This is why when I am immersed in a new region, I am leaning more into the natural elements like stones, feathers, flowers, and trees for inspiration. Even local art is born from observing the natural surroundings—you won’t see birch bark framed mirrors in Kennebunkport, Maine, or sea glass mosaics in the Adirondacks.
If you want to draw on Ayurveda for motivation for re-energizing your home, first start with which element would you like to have more of or even which season you are in.
Know your Ayurvedic body type? Read about the doshas and take the quiz here.
Creating more space starts with removing clutter. Look around your home and see if there are items that you can donate and organize. Organize the stacks of papers in filing drawers, clear off shelves of excess decoration, and take a few things down from the walls—sometimes less is more. My partner LOVES art and would literally have every inch of the walls covered. I need a little more space. Space and organization create calm and clarity.
Wind is the element that moves. It could be as simple as keeping the shades open, letting in lots of natural light, or having a small fan to circulate stale air. If you feel stagnant in life, the wind element (movement) is what helps to get us going. Incorporate art that inspires movement like wispy clouds or dandelion seeds being blown off the bud.
If you have a gas or wood-burning stove in your home, you are already living with fire. As humans, we have evolved with fire; for thousands of years, we would gather around the fire for cooking, storytelling, conversation, and ceremony. It can be so captivating and meditative to gaze into the fire. If you don’t have a fireplace in the home, candles are a great way to bring in the fire element. I find that having candles or a fireplace is so helpful in the winter months, especially with the long dark days. Can’t burn candles where you live? Put the yule log on the TV or laptop. In the summer, picking wildflowers from my backyard or purchasing from a local farm stand brings a slight hint of fire with all those bright beautiful colors.
Perhaps you want more water in your life. What about installing a small water fountain that allows you to hear the soft trickle of falling water? Take photos of a beautiful waterfall or beach you visited and frame them for your wall. Perhaps paint your walls light blue to mimic the colors of the sea. These can all inspire a little soothing water element. Water usually invokes a sense of coolness, so if you run hot or impatient, soothing blues and greens can be just the right note in your home.
I did gather a few small beach stones, shells, and sea glass from Maine to create craft projects—this will bring a little earth element into the home. Earth element is all things that feel grounding, nurturing, and nourishing. Add elements of wood, and natural fabrics like jute, linen, or cotton that are neutral in color and earth tones. Find interesting branches to bring in from the backyard or fallen birch bark (don’t take it from the tree) to add a grounding element.
When looking to create some change and bring natural energy into the home, you don’t have to look too far for inspiration. Look out your window, walk through the woods or along the shore, or through a new neighborhood, and see what grabs your attention. Start small and remember that the elements are all around us for inspiration.