Over the years of working with refugees from Burma, I have often wondered what their most important possession is. We have even made lists of the things that they bring with them as they flee the attacks of soldiers: a machete, cooking pot, tarp, lighter, rice and salt. All those things are essential for survival in the jungle. The same with medicine and warm blankets. These are possessions that give life.
My mom’s house burned to the ground a little over a year ago. She lost everything … but it was a hidden blessing. Since my dad died a few years ago, my brother, sister and I had been trying to get Mom to move to a smaller house in a less-isolated community. She would not budge, saying, “Everything I know is here: my home, my neighbors, my life.” The fire, though tragic, took care of that.
I find color fascinating. The light frequencies we experience as color define our world in wondrous ways. Visualize an azure ocean, a verdant forest or a crimson sunset — these are all examples of color environments, which positively influence our emotions and restore our health.
As an interior designer, I know the power color has in defining a space and ‘creating a mood.’ We have all experienced that instant chill when entering
a ‘cold room,’ which has nothing to do with its temperature. Conversely, we automatically feel more relaxed and engaged in a warm-hued environment.
Think of a dining room painted a luscious burnt umber (dark red orange), such as Pantone’s color of 2012: Tangerine Tango.
I’m also mesmerized by the blue winter hues that abound right now and their accompanying reflections in snow — so dreamlike and otherworldly. This is the time of year we ‘go inside,’ both physically and figuratively. It is a wonderful time to do what the earth does: retreat deep within and cultivate inner renewal (hence, the perfect time for resolutions).
Unfortunately, it is also during these short days when many of us experience the ‘winter blues.’ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is now recognized as a common
disorder, affecting some people severely. But there are ways, other than jetting off to a tropical island (which I also recommend), to make these cold days
The light starts returning today. Why not mark the Winter Solstice (December 21) as an ongoing celebration over the next few days and weeks?