The Gift of Serenity: The Art of Slowing Down to Enjoy

By on June 2, 2015, in Bedding, Soft Surroundings

There’s an old song that goes “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” So often we rush through our day barely taking in the people and things around us. How often have you remarked that you can’t believe it’s March, or July, or October, or December already? Wasn’t Y2K just a few years ago?! It seems like it. It all goes so fast.

Slow the pace and take stock. Look back over your day. Enjoying a simple moment. Don’t you resolve every New Year’s Eve to do a little more of all of those things? But in a blink it’s March, or July, or October or December again.

The art of slowing down to enjoy the passage of time is one that takes practice. But when you master it, you’ve gained the gift of serenity.

We put together a few ideas to help you slow the hands of time, even if it’s just by a second or two. So relax. Get comfortable. Pour a cup of tea and read on.

Serenity starts at home. Your house should hold whatever calms and nurtures you. Medical science may not support it, but we think your blood pressure goes down the minute you walk into a house with a bubbling pot of soup on the stove! Isn’t it true, when your favorite music rings out, your mood lightens? Can you feel every muscle relax when you slip into a soft, clean bed?

A home with simple furnishings, high quality luxurious fabrics, and accent pieces that borrow from nature give rooms a sense of rest and repose. In bedrooms, focus attention on the comfort of the bed to maximize a sense of peacefulness. Unfussy bedding, calm colors, soft textures and lots of pillows will do the trick.

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We love our Coral House Quilt and Sham for creating a soothing space. There is a vintage quality to the leafy pattern and pink hibiscus flowers. They are scattered on a tranquil marine blue background and the reverse is an olive-and-natural ticking stripe. Pair them with our Raw Silk Woven Bed Skirt and the ensemble calls to mind a time when cool breezes and catnaps were commonplace. Is that why they call it island time?

The bedroom is one obvious venue for finding serenity at home. The other one is the bath.

Are you familiar with the centuries-old Japanese ritual of soaking tubs? They are called ofuro and much deeper than a bathtub in the western world. An adult can sit with back straight and legs extended, neck deep in water. In Japan, it’s common for a person to soak in a steamy ofuro for 30 minutes or more, contemplating their day. (Ofuro aren’t used for cleansing, just soaking. Washing is done separately, before stepping into the ofuro.)  Japanese soaking tubs are made of a special wood called Hinoki that releases a lemony scent when the hot water hits it. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

Now we’re not saying you need to install an ofuro in your bath to achieve that state of Zen. Instead, warmth, water and aroma are three of the four key ingredients for ofuro-style deep relaxation, and they’re easily improvised. Subtly scented candles, fluffy warm towels, soft music and lavender oil in the bath water will do. The hard part is taking the time to practice this ritual every night. If you do, it will engage all of your senses and disengage your mind for a short time at least!

Oils infused with herbs and other botanicals have been a major component in relaxation rituals since the early Egyptians. One of the trendiest new ways to experience their restorative effects is with our Hydrate Aromatherapy Booties and Mitts. Aloe Vera, grape seed, jojoba, green tea, olive and avocado oils are sealed inside the gel linings of these boots and mittens. Place them in the microwave for a few seconds to activate and then slip them on your hands and feet. Let the oils, the aroma, and the heat healing get to work. Plus there’s no clean up. It’s so much easier than paraffin wax.

The art of slowing down the pace to enjoy life is never more present than in the kitchen. Some members of our staff tell us they’re most relaxed and at home when they’re cooking. And doesn’t that make sense? The rituals of mealtime, the repetition of mixing, chopping, and measuring, and the smells and sensations are all good for the soul.

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Celebrate your kitchen sanctuary with something special like our Latte Bowls en Couleur. They are lovely 100+year-old beauties, the likes of which have served hot chocolate and café latte in France for a century. Fill them with fresh produce from your farmer’s market or a fistful of herbs and enjoy the feeling.

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When you’re good to your self, you’re better able to be good to the people around you. We live by these words here at Soft Surroundings. And we like to create new and unique ways for you to do that. So don’t forget to wrap your self in clothing that feels at ease. A great example is our Nuri Batik Dress. It’s a go-to because it looks great dressed up or dressed down. We love the blue/green print. Blue is the color of serenity because it mirrors the sky and sea and intuitively sends a message of space and freedom.

So slip off for a snooze in the shady hammock. Steal a moment to look at the stars on your urban rooftop patio. Sneak off to your cloistered ‘thinking’ attic. And/or simply sit on an apple crate in your own flower garden and take a deep breath. However you find inner (and outer) peace, practice it. And enjoy the passage of time. Every day.

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