How can our homes inspire awe?

By Debbi K. Levy

It’s 6:15 p.m., and I just came home from a long but good day of work and pickleball practice with my team. The only thing on my spent and tired mind is downing a giant glass of ice water and confronting Barry with my hungry belly about where we can grab a quick dinner tonight. I hurriedly pass through the rooms of our home to freshen up and, with my mindfulness-trained self, notice absolutely nothing around me. A dear friend of my maternal three-generational family used to say, “Never fool with a Pearle when he’s hungry…” While there is some truth to her observation, could a kavanah concerning the contents and décor of my home possibly shift my grouchy, day-end perspective into one of noticing, or perhaps, inspire a feeling of awe?

Psalm 65:9 reads, “They who dwell at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.”

This is the experience I most want to have, this awe. I yearn to be nearer to the Creator. I read about and pray about and often reflect about what it means to be in this state. I have experienced this joy on every vacation that has offered us “a view,” from balconies offering up a sunset not blocked by buildings, to cruise ships in the middle of Elohim’s vast blue waters, to quiet walks at a meditation center, picking blueberries from an overstocked bush. But back to my 365-day-a-year home… How about feeling a little of that awe as I stand near my toaster and push the knob down on my “everything bagel” from Cindi’s?

So, I’m hatching a plan and hope you’ll consider a sacred experiment with me. We can check in with each other next month and see if we notice God’s wonders a little more frequently, or more potently, if we purposefully curate the objects, items, colors and spaces within our homes. I would like to propose a few possible awe-inspiring ideas and hope that you, in turn, will share yours with me when we run into each other around Big D.

Foremost, let us bring creation inside. Add more plants, fresh cut flowers, ficus trees and orchids. It would be difficult for our eyes to pass by such beautiful living plants without so much as a glance. Potted seasonal flowers outside our front doors and on patios remind us of the changing seasons we are granted, and of their corresponding color spectrum. Even a simple ivy plant, with a few stones and the dirt (earth) on top showing, can usher us in only a second or two to a place of grounding.

The plants in the Garden of Eden we can only imagine, and crawling and swimming around that greenery and foliage were some of The Eternal’s creatures that have lovingly earned the nickname, “Creature Teachers.” Are you a pet lover? A novice in the pet arena? I hope I can help cultivate a curiosity that will encourage a new friend to live in your home sanctuary.

Hanukkah was the portal for me becoming the recipient of a new betta fish. I was totally surprised! Since that last night of Hanukkah, with the grandchildren offering up the apt name of “Hanukkah” for this fish, I have re-homed this little gifted fish in a small, 5-gallon countertop aquarium. Don’t stop reading, please, not-pet-people. Please stay with me. So, I have this betta fish, a few tinier fish and I bought, guess what? A new little shrimp. He is a fascinating creature! I can’t get over the way he reaches for food and hangs upside down like the best yogi ever! I make my way into my kitchen upon awakening or just passing through and stop right in my tracks to study him! I cannot believe all that the Creator has fashioned and breathed life into!

What colors live in your home? I recognize I am not an expert in this field or even a licensed designer. But I do notice, mindfully, that my energy vibration is uplifted in spaces with colors that surprise, soothe and cheer me. Rainbows, sunsets and the blues of an ocean find their way to Facebook vacation posts all the time. Can we bring some of those same feelings of awe within the color spectrum of creation into our dwelling spaces?

I want to conclude with a practice that is so deeply entrenched in my life, I couldn’t live in a space without them. Designers and retailers are having a frenzy with stones, and I hope you will, too. Accessibility is no issue for purchasing gems, crystals, caverns and interesting rocks like petrified wood. They are plentiful in retail spaces these days. You can even go so far as to grid your stones as our Jewish ancestors did with Aaron’s Priestly Breastplate. These stones and their grid, or order, are mentioned in the Bible in Exodus.

(28:15-17) “You shall make a breastpiece of decision, worked into a design; make it in the style of the ephod: Make it of gold, of blue, purple and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. It shall be square and doubled, a span in length and a span in width. Set in it mounted stones, in four rows of stones.”

Plants, animals, colors, stones, water features, pet kittens, anything that fits into a description of creation can be brought closer into your world, and could, very well, have a deep impact on you and how you receive and reflect that elusive feeling of awe. I invite you to consider making your home into a sanctuary filled with materials and gifts from the Creator that carry Divine power and subtle energies to encourage from our lips, “How filled with awe is this place and I did not know it?”

Debbi K. Levy was too busy gazing at her new tropical fish and noticing their colors to write a short bio.

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