I enjoy the work of Gretchen Rubin– the happiness guru who packages ideas about living well in tidy lists and chapters. Maybe that sounds kind of treacly, but because she is up front about her own limits, bad habits and preferences, the reader may embrace his or her own preferences, recognize limits, and challenge – and even change – bad habits that contribute to crankiness and a less joyful life.
Rubin recently enumerated her personal auspicious symbols based on the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism. She invited readers to come up with their own personal symbols, which got me thinking about auspicious symbols of home. I came up with 7:
A key – Unlocking potential. A key is both real and metaphoric; it opens doors to one’s actual home AND it can symbolize the opening to one’s future, one’s dreams.
A bed – Relief and the refreshment. After a long, busy day or a tiring journey, I crave my very own bed. It is a simple but very real pleasure to crawl under the covers and sleep soundly.
A table set for dinner – Community-building. An inviting table ready for the meal is a visual touchstone for forging relationships with family and friends over conversation and shared food.
A flower box/a vase – Beauty feeds us too. Each spring I make a trip to my favorite garden store to choose summer flowers to plant in two window boxes in front of my house. Adding a touch of beauty to my home and neighborhood makes me so happy. (In winter I buy fresh flowers or greens to put in a vase near the front door.)
A laundry hamper – Cleanliness and order make me happy. Laundry is a simple, satisfying, hands-on task. I get to do my laundry at any time of day or night that suits me, sort clothes the way I prefer (just ask my family how picky I am!), use the detergent I choose, and I don’t have to find quarters or haul bags of clothes down the street to a Laundromat.
A sleeping cat – Contentment, a peaceful hearth. Cats always choose a sunny, comfy, warm spot to curl up and relax. They seem to enjoy their lives without worrying what others (dogs, people) think of them!
A pot of soup on the stove – The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Soup is my favorite food to make. It’s a collaborative of ingredients. Plus, its delicious aroma welcomes guests and family members when they walk in the door.
What are some of your symbols of home? Share on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BeaconInterfaith and use the tag #symbolsofhome