At Peacock Alley, everything that surrounds us is beautiful, comforting and happy with a twist of cool. We want you, too, to feel it and love it.
In this vein and to celebrate the launch of our newest collection, INTENTIONS Linens™, our intention for you this week is personal wellness. We asked five experts, starting with the creator of INTENTIONS Linens, to share their stories and tips to help us all achieve more vibrant and healthy lives. From sleep and food to exercise and relationships, living well is best achieved with good intentions.
Several years ago, I saw a light. No, not the light people talk about when they cross over to the other side. It was the light that seemed to radiate off the bright blue and white scrubs worn by a pediatric nurse who was relieving the other nurses on the critical care floor for lunch.
While she was no more talented than the other nurses, she was clad in scrubs covered in the word “love” – and that word seemed to speak directly to me. Two hospital errors almost took my life a week before I met her. I lay in bed for what became a fight for my life. Ironically, I was attempting to recuperate in a hospital room that was void of natural light, color and joy – not what I would call a healing environment.
This blue and white angel and her thought-provoking attire gave me an unexpected ten-minute visceral vacation. The love that was her intention for her patients was radiating from her and every thread she wore, and when I saw her and her scrubs, I felt it, literally. How could that happen? This simple, yet profound gesture planted an important seed in my brain. I survived, no thanks to interior decor, and two months later was released.
When I got home to California. I received a bill for $250,000. Now I was seeing stars! I was shocked to find that my hospital room cost more per night than I was charging for ocean-view rooms at the luxury hotel that I managed, Shutters on the Beach. I did the math and discovered I’d been charged close to $500 a night for a “private” hospital room that was void of personality and ambiance, not to mention the uncomfortable mattress and scratchy bed linens.
That experience launched me on a quest to shift the healthcare system’s paradigm regarding rest and recuperation, as well as try to help the 60% of the population that suffers from sleep disorders. First, I needed to understand the power of suggestion and the impact of words to relaxation in order to understand what that feeling was that those scrubs evoked.
How can simple everyday sights and sounds propel us forward, make our days seem brighter, and bring us a sense of calm? What I learned, through countless interviews with neuroscientists and research about quantum physics, opened my eyes to the influence of visual and auditory suggestion. Words – and the thoughts that create them – can have an enormous effect on our mood, our health and even the health of the people around us. Have you heard the expression “choose your words wisely”?
Research indicates that the words you choose can actually affect your well-being. One study I found particularly interesting was by Dr. Masaru Emoto in his book, The Healing Power of Water, which showed that words and intentions had a direct impact on the molecular structure of water. He positive and negative thoughts and intention directed to water, froze it and then examined it under a special microscope.
He proved that a variety of factors influence the geometric patterns of the molecules, most specifically words and intention. It was then that I saw another light – the light bulb of an idea being born. Our bodies are 80% water and we spend a third of our lives asleep. If quantum physicists and Dr. Emoto are right, shouldn’t we be making better use of our resting time?
I called my friend of more than 20 years, Mary Ella Gabler, owner of Peacock Alley, and told her my vision for helping people “reprogram” their minds and change their breathing patterns before they go to sleep. I sent her some designs that from afar show a beautiful pattern but that up close reveal words that I collected from interviews with more than 30 neuroscientists and wellness practitioners. She had these words subtlety woven into 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton, and INTENTIONS Linens was born. I added a booklet of popular breathing exercises for relaxation with a reminder to set your intention for how you want to direct your mind in a sleep state.
Mary Ella and her sons, Jason and Josh, also pledged to work with me on my dream of bringing intentional sleep to healthcare by helping me develop a comfortable but commercial product. Even if your INTENTIONS Linens haven’t arrived yet, you can begin working towards a restful night’s slumber.
Tonight when you go to bed, read something relaxing for five minutes, set your intention, then close your eyes and try this breathing exercise: Look up toward your eyebrows and take a deep breath. As you exhale, close and relax your eyes. Inhale deeply into your abdomen, and as you do, quietly say, “re.” As you exhale, say, “lax.” Pause briefly at the end of each exhale. Repeat until you fall asleep. Share the results and your own stories, tips, and restful intentions with our sleep-seeking community on Facebook.
Armella Stepan is a 25-year luxury hotelier, recovering insomniac and creator of INTENTIONS Linens™.