Heart is where the home is :)

My parents moved into a new house this year and they took great pains renovating, designing and decorating it. My mother, who has a passion for interior design, transformed the house into a ‘home’. In her emails she describes the tranquility and happiness the home brings her. The emails are so beautifully written that I’m transported home… leaving me with a wonderful sense of calm.

With her permission, I reproduce excerpts here:

“A new day gives me a visual check on my world- the weather, the garden through my bay window, the newspaper’s arrival.

As daylight springs, I amble through my home- lifting shades, drawing back curtains, as if i am awakening each room. You know our tendency has been to enter into the morning drowsily. We didn’t create day and we cannot uncreate day but we can join daylight hours with an uplifted heart. I try to be grateful for the moments alloted to me.

You know for me, cosy corners are a must, a friendly chair with pleasurable belongings at my fingertips- items that please my mind (which you think is clutter, hehe). Our home is not, nor has it ever been, perfectly ordered. It is a mix of neatness and disarray. Maybe because of my health or maybe I’m like that.

Baba loves ceiling lights, with a flick of a switch he floods every corner with visual clarity. I however prefer soft pools of lamp light. So baba and I have conceded to each other and our home now offers both types of light. Depending on what evening you visit and who is there to greet and seat you, you will either be blinded by floodlights or find yourself stumbling to a chair!

As you know along with my passion for lamps, I’m also an avid candle collector. Somebody said that overhead lights are like shouts while candles are whispers.Whether they are short, spiralled, tapered, I am a fan.

In addition to candles, I also appreciate fireplaces. When I’m ill, then I prefer a gentle lamplight to be aglow in my room. I find waking up in pain in the dark disconcerting, if not frightening. Whereas, when I wake up in lamplight, I can more easily gain my bearings.

I’m much better at decorating than I am at cooking. I have often found that the most satisfying touches are things I already have in my home or yard (pine cones, flowers, leaves, branches etc). I have drawers full of goodies I have collected and received from friends.”

“Today for the umpteenth time rearranging my living room, a thought struck me: I always stand to make a decorating decision. It prompts me to arrange somethings in ways and poositions that I hadn’t tried previously. I move from chair to sofa to table asking myself, “what do you see”? Really Tam adjustments in heights and angles cast new light on each room and I decide if it pleased me.

But due to my health, my energy is dwindling and my unfinished room is a constant drain on my brain (even if I forget about it for a few hours). Because when our home is in order like our room’s bookshelf area, I seem better able to sort out the rest of my life. When it is attractive I am more motivated, encouraged and even relaxed. But when our home is suffering from doldrums, I tend to trudge in melancholy response. So I could say the environment is an emotional investment (Wow phillosophical!).

On our wall from my bedroom door to the stairs is like our family gallery with all the Disney frames and little girls which makes me smile. It is not a dream-come-true home because I never dreamt about a home. God gave me more than I desired. It is not a palace but a snug home in a cosy community. The ambience pleases my heart and provides a sense of belonging. I just love it.

Sunrise stirs a bright horizon

As morning taps on entry doors

Windows wide, anticipating

daylights dance across wooden floors

Summers breadth blowing lace curtins

Gardens balm soars throughout the room

Rejoicing prayers offered up,

For day spring bride and even tides groom

Stress – We can handle it!

Stress-ZebraStripes“I have too much work, don’t know where to start? I am stressed, don’t know if I can do it?”

“I have nothing to do, its stressing me out”

“God!! its stressful, I can’t handle it!!”

“I am too stressed, have lots to do for my exams”

At work, in social circles, within family, one of the most common phrases I hear day in day out is regarding stress. Stress is a fact of life and is actually a form of fear. Fear of what?? Well, that depends on what we are stressed about… We fear consequences, “all negative” in this case.

I personally think stress is a cause of negative thinking. It not only hinders our work, it can have a serious impact on our health too. Hence, it is very important to tackle it in time for a healthy mind and a healthy body. I am a believer in relaxation techniques. A state of deep relaxation actually counters the mental fear response, it decreases muscle tension (remember those stiff shoulders you get when afraid or stressed?), controls blood pressure & heart rate.

I’d like to share a few relaxation techniques I use for Stress Control, please try them and let me know of your experience:

Breathing techniques

Breathe properly; it’s really important. Stress makes us breathe in short breaths from high up in our chest. In all the relaxation techniques I have read, they always recommend breathing deeply starting from our abdomen i.e. fill in your abdomen first and then the top part of the chest to get more oxygen to our brain and muscles.

Try this simple exercise – Sit straight on a chair or lie down on your bed. With one hand on your abdomen, take a deep breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as you fill your lower lungs with air, then fill in your upper lungs. Hold your breath for a moment and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Get rid of all the air and along with it breathe out all the stress in your body. Yes, imagine doing that. This works for any aching parts of your body too. Focus on them when doing the exercise.

Repeat several times, until you feel relaxed. With practice, you’ll be able to use this technique whenever you feel stressed. I have used it. In fact I and Tamreez do these exercises sometimes with a relaxation techniques CD we have. It just takes a few mins and we are both sleeping :). Trust me it works!

Imagine yourself in a peaceful place

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a tranquil place… an island, a beach, your village, whatever you find peaceful. Feel your breathing and slowly relax yourself into the scene. Fill in the scene with details. What do you smell, feel, see and hear?

It takes your mind off stress and the body heals itself. Try it and let us know how it went.

Get out and exercise

Haha, I am saying it and Tamreez will laugh at me. I have become a lazy bum these days. Physical activity is a great way to get rid of stress. Regular exercise can improve breathing, blood circulation, concentration and energy level goes up, it also controls things like blood pressure and cholesterol etc.

I did a course in ‘Superworking’ a couple of years ago. This was one of the most important things highlighted for a healthy brain. It is recommended to do at least 20 mins of exercise everyday. It can be anything from brisk walking, going up and down the stairs etc. The key is to do it in one go i.e. 20 mins of exercising with no breaks.

Think about it, is your stress worth stressing about?

Each one of us look at the world from a point of view. These are the invisible goggles we are wearing that give us a different view of the world. Sometimes our stress is a cause of our perception of a situation rather than the situation itself. Reconsider the cause of your stress and ask yourself if you’re worrying unnecessarily. Talk to yourself, have an internal debate and reason it out. Sometimes it works!


Always works for me. Listening to relaxing music can help – Lata and Kishore work for me :) I also like listening to just instrumental music.

Hope these tips are helpful. Keep smiling :)