Today I’d like to introduce you to Rashmie Jaaju, the mama behind the creative learning blog, Mommy Labs. I’ve known Rashmie since I started blogging and always appreciate her sincerity, mindful approach to parenting, and the passion she brings to raising a creative child. Furthermore, Rashmie lives in New Delhi, India, and I hope you’ll enjoy peeking into Rashmie’s colorful corner of the world as much as I do.
Hello friends, I’m elated to write for Tinkerlab today and be able to connect with all you wonderful, creative people. Rachelle is a long-time blogger friend and she’s an inspiration to me for the passion, creativity and focus she puts into her blog; as well as for the person and the mother that she is to her adorable kids.
I’d like to share with you all my Nature/Spiritual table. Actually, it’s not just a table but a part of our home that’s now synonymous with quiet time, peaceful vibes, nature inspiration and a place to get together as a family for a few moments of prayer and connection with the higher self.
How Our Nature Table Started
I’ve always loved collecting ‘finds’ from nature – fallen leaves, river stones, pine cones, drift wood, sea shells, feathers. I have dozens of boxes stuffed with these things; plus piles of books that hold leaves, flowers and petals within their pages.
It struck to me one day that keeping these natural elements in closed boxes and books is not serving the purpose. I’d much rather want to keep these beauties in front of my eyes so that my family and I can connect with nature inside our home, and also recollect the stories associated with them – the stories from trips, nature walks, beaches, treks…
So, in that whimsical, uplifting moment, I started this nature table.
All it took was a quick refurbishing of an old wooden table that I’d used for different purpose at different points in time. From being a pedestal for the refrigerator to a book shelf to a low dining table, this table has served various needs.
We scrubbed, painted and polished the table and found a clutter-free, well-lit, cozy space for it in the study room. There’s a big window right above the table and a door next to it that leads to a balcony overseeing vast open green land, so there’s ample sunlight and fresh air.
The Table as a Natural Canvas
It’s been almost an year now and I’ve redecorated this space every two months or so introducing flavors from every season, a festival like Holi or Diwali, or family events (birthday, travel, anniversary). See some pictures of the nature table from winter 2012. And then, there’s always something to add after a nature walk in the near by park or in the neighbourhood.
Recently, we went on a trip to the Himalayan region in India (it’s called Himachal Pradesh) and we collected tons of things from the treks we took there. These have now become part of the nature table.
Interestingly, the nature table has become an artful corner in our home. It’s almost like a canvas for me and my daughter – Pari – who’s 6.5. She rejoices in laying out leaves, pebbles, feathers, pine cones on this square space. We love lighting aromatic candles and incense here. It also gives her a sense of ownership since she actively takes part in decorating this corner of the house…
My family sits in front of the nature table almost every day and we recite a Buddhist mantra (though we’re not Buddhist) and Sanskrit Shlokas, including a Gayatri Mantra. We play the Tibetan Singing Bowl. Read more about the meaning behind the singing bowl over here. You may also read on the same page about the Buddhist mantra – Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo.
So, this nature table is a spiritual corner rather than a religious place of worship. It helps us fill our cup of peace and quiet.
Even our guests – kids and adults alike – are immediately drawn to it. The moment my 2-year old niece, Sarah, enters our home, she heads for this corner. The gemstones, pebbles, feathers, copper bells, shells – she can engage herself with all these for an hour at least…!
Keeper of Memories
Above all else, as I look at each of the natural elements placed on this table, I can’t help but reminisce about the moments we found these pieces. The stories come alive through the mind’s eye. The drift wood for example – it came floating on the waves of the river Sutlej when Pari was playing along the bank. This river is on a volcanic bed, which gives the water a unique characteristic that’s also said to heal and alleviate joint aches. The water on the surface is chilling cold but thrust your toes just an inch deep and you’ll feel the heat instantly!
Every inch of the nature table tells a story. I’d say it’s a keeper of memories….!
A Place to Reflect
This room is also where I sit everyday to write – be it for my blog or in my journal. There’s an aura to this space that makes me reflect and put them into words. As such, nature is the source of sustenance for my soul. And, art!
Do you have a spot in your home that’s dedicated to nature or spirituality? What helps you connect with your inner self? I would love to hear your story.
Rashmie writes about creative and natural learning for children at Mommy Labs. She takes inspiration from art, travel, books, photography and most essentially – the spiritual energy of nature to nurture a sense of wonder in young souls.