The Holistic Home

"Find your heart, and you will find your way home."

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Exchange your RUSH for HUSH

Andy and I were jolted out of deep sleep at 5am to a HUGE CRASH, jumping out of bed to investigate (with me grabbing slippers and a flashlight). I assumed a bear had climbed onto the front porch table to get at the bird suet (not the first time). Living on a two thousand acre estate (as the only humans) we are surrounded by wildlife and are

accustomed to myriad nature sounds. Many nights we listen to the primal howls of coyotes, which I love (and howl along with them). We know our seasonal birds by their calls and occasionally hear an owl in the night who-who-who-ing. As an auditory person and lifelong environmentalist this is heaven for me. It was just a short time ago I needed a sound machine (of nature!) to help me sleep in New York City with all of the jarring man-made sounds. (I swear the garbage trucks have amplifier speakers.) 

 It’s no wonder the number one complaint of city dwellers is noise. Chronic, debilitating noise is more than just an annoyance, it plays a huge factor in our quality of life.  Studies confirm that noise and stress are closely related to our health. and I am always surprised that more people don’t plug their ears (like I do) when a subway car RAMBLES by. 

 What we hear transforms our brains and our lives, and why it’s critical to take control over your ‘personal soundscape’. Customize your home environment as you would a beautiful soundtrack to create a haven with soothing sounds (and sights and smells). Turn the TV off (internet ‘noise’ also). Pay attention to the tone (and volume) of your voice. Carve out quiet time with meditation and yoga to rediscover the sacred life-affirming sound of your breath. 

 When we cultivate an authentic peaceful demeanor, our optimal health responds; body, mind and spirit. Even when the world explodes in chaos – or an attic window gets blown in by the wind as in our morning crash – we are truly able to Keep Calm & Carry On. 

 So, instead of having uproar as your only music. (Keats), ... invite some solitude.

 ~ Warm (Hushed) Home Blessings ~ Cheryl


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Another New Year, and New Beginnings ~

It feels like only a few weeks ago we were contemplating the end of the world.

Not only did we survive the apocalypse, we survived the holidays!

The current conversation is all about ‘New Year = New You!’ with more media hype about ‘How to Be/ What to Do’ – NOW!

I prefer to work with the earth’s gentle cycles as my guide. For me, the winter season is for hibernation and quiet contemplation…a time to go deep ‘inside’. It is the time for rest (with so many hours of darkness) and reflection, a perfect time to tap into dreams and journal.  When we attune ourselves with the seasons we allow our inherent natural rhythms to flow, which are easy to follow and feel good about. In winter my body craves warmth, which I honor (I cannot juice cleanse in cold weather). Warm soups and fires nourish me inside and out. Lots of layering in soft flannels and cashmere create a feel-good-cozy-comfort in both myself and my home…even the dining table is outfitted in an extra layer with a beautiful textured runner. Welcoming warm energy is abundant, in my home…and heart.

Whatever New Year you celebrate; (gregorian, chinese, lunar, solar or other) there are many opportunities to Renew, Refresh and Re-VITALIZE.  Listen to your inner wisdom to create your personal winter wellness recipe, one that you’ll stick!

You’ll see yourself, and your home, in a whole new extraordinary and loving light.

Positive intention is key to manifesting change. My ‘Earth Renewal Program’ begins every day at dawn. Every morning I begin again, sit to meditate, with gratitude, and set my intentions..fleeting as they may be – it’s OK – I get a chance to restart again tomorrow. Love and happiness are so much more powerful than guilt and remorse.

Attune instead of Atone.

Here’s to Your Best Year!

~ WARM Home Blessings, ~ Cheryl 

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Winter Solstice, and the Return of the Light

 I have always been a sky gazer. Some of my earliest memories are of lying flat in the back of my parents old station wagon closely watching the moon, believing it was my friend coming along for the long ride to comfort me as the family journeyed throughout almost every state in search of the best campsites.  

This past year I’ve had the extreme fortune to live on a mountain surrounded by thousands of acres of wildlife (cultivating a loving relationship, which is another story). Being so immersed in the natural world has myriad benefits, among the best is experiencing the magnificence of our dark skies…without any light pollution. Besides the nightly show of stars – including the milky way! – I have become intimately connected with the moon and planet phases with all of their ritual mythologies. I truly believe being aligned with celestial energies help guide us and often work with clients to release ‘stuff’ with the waning moon as well as create intentions with the new. Friday’s ‘longest night’ will usher in a growing light every day (until summer solstice in June) and is the perfect time to tend to our own sacred light. The winter solstice and the ‘rebirth’ of the sun is a magical time in many cultures. Whatever your spiritual slant, no one can deny we are all ‘in this together’, sharing our planet along with the heavenly bodies above. This New Year offers an opportunity to honor our interconnectedness, invoke peace and join together in a world turned upside down. Open the door when a stranger knocks, and bring the symbolic lump of coal that encourages us all to light our way into a new dawn. 

  “When Buddha was on his death bed he noticed his young disciple Anan was weeping. ‘Why are you weeping, Anan?’ he asked.  ‘Because the light of the world is about to be extinguished and we will be in darkness.’ The Buddha summoned up all his remaining energy and spoke what were to be his final words on earth:  

 ‘Anan, Anan, be a light unto yourself.'”

 Remember, the greatest gift you can give, is not your presents, but your PRESENCE (your ‘light’). 

 Happy Holidays! 

Warm Home Blessings, ~ Cheryl 

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Returning to the light, our true home

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 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 had 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) – All around YUM (even without any food)! 
I am currently mesmerized by the blue winter hues and their accompanying reflections in snow, so dreamlike and otherworldly. This is the time of year we ‘go inside’ 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).
It is also during these short days many of us experience the ‘winter blues’. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is now recognized as a common disorder, affecting some people severely. There are ways, other than jetting off to a tropical island (which I also recommend), to make these cold days more bearable.
Light therapy, using ‘light boxes’ is a proven treatment for S.A.D. There is even a beautifully designed one in production.
 Many studies show that most of the US population lack Vitamin D, known as the sunlight vitamin. This nutrient is needed at proper levels for almost every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system. Supplements are an easy way to get the correct amount., and feel better.  
Light a fire. Few things trigger passionate, primordial feelings in human beings the way fire does. We symbolically honor the return of the light and new beginnings with candles and fireplaces in our homes. Easy and romantic!
Another great way to lighten up, both figuratively and literally, is to do more Yoga! I incorporate a few extra Sun Salutations in the winter, which creates body heat and expresses reverence for the life-giving solar energy. It is impossible to feel cold with an open (warm) heart, which is what yoga is all about. The gesture/salutation NAMASTE means ‘I bow to the light in you, which is also in me’, ~ a beautiful truth that we are all one when we live from the heart. 
It maybe hard to believe, with this being the coldest month of the year, but sunlight is growing stronger day by day. The more we connect and honor the natural rhythms of the seasons the more we increase the light within us.
 Let this winter be an extraordinary time to listen to your heart-fire, and tend your own sacred light. Remember, everything begins at home.  
Warm Home Blessings, ~ Cheryl Terrace

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Welcome Home

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on our brain function and health. Just as our eating style reflects and affects who and what we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. 

Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. 

 Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment – in any sense, physical or emotional – also impacts our health in a negative way. The opposite is also, and perhaps more importantly, true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, our health (and happiness) respond in positive ways. I always look at things at a deeper level and say ‘everything is energy’. This holistic approach takes into consideration all components of lifestyle; physical, mental and spiritual. When we feel good ‘on the inside’ (both body and spirit), it is reflected on the outside (both in home and community).

Authentic Healthy = Authentic Happy! 

 The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and over indulgences).  I invite you to include a ‘healthy-self’ recipe and allow yourself a generous helping of grounding – whatever that means to you;  

 ~ Here are a few of my nourishing favorites ~

 Meditate, take a walk in nature, spend time with animals, do yoga, take a warm detoxing salt bath, juice cleanse, read something that feeds your soul, make love to your best friend (and yourself), listen to heartfelt music, sing, dance, and make certain to get enough sleep.

 …most importantly, surround yourself with love, starting with love for your self.   

Create a thankful vibe, & go easy – both on the food and yourself. 

 Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with love, peace …and of course good food

           ~ click here to see Artwork that takes a closer look at our food. 

 ~  Home Blessings,  ~ Cheryl 

Autumn Leaves

I’m sure you can feel it – the change that’s in the air all around us.

It’s been a spectacular autumn and I’ve been spending as much time as possible going on long hikes. Perhaps I should feel guilty with the chores I am neglecting but I cannot resist the spectacular display beckoning outside my window. The smell of cool crisp air and sound of  rustling leaves instantly put me in a good mood. I have always felt the healing energy of nature and lately have connected even more deeply with the cycles of each beautiful and fleeting season. I used to dread the end of summer but with age (and lots of Yoga) I am now grateful for living in a place that has four distinct seasons. I embrace change, after all, it is inevitable…in everything.

Being in balance with our outer world brings more harmony to our inner world, both psychically and physically. As the colder weather sets in we transform our habits as well as wardrobes and, hopefully, our home environment. Crisp cotton bedding is exchanged for cozy flannel with lots of warm layers. Gourds replace summer fruit as  natural decoration. I introduce darker earthy tones in towels, pillows and even rugs. Everything gets a good cleaning – and evaluation – to make certain it is in keeping with the season. Just as nature releases her bounty it feels good to let go of outdated or non-useful items (and behavior). Let the transformation of each wonderful season inspire your evolving relationship with your wonderful self, and allow your home to reflect that elevated state. Everyone entering your ‘space’ will feel it!

~ Beautiful and Bountiful Home Blessings, ~ Cheryl Terrace, Vital Design

 “Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”

Elizabeth Lawrence