In a day and age of isolation and distancing, too many are forced into close quarters with little respite. Others are alone far too much of the time. In both situations we need to create a space that helps us to feel calm and safe. A sanctuary that leaves the world behind and promotes healing.
For me, that’s a small area just off my bedroom. Approximately 10×7 feet of bliss. I put up a plastic folding room divider so outside homes are shielded from view, added several potted plants and revamped a decades old fountain I had in my first house. A small fire pit, music from my phone, chairs and blankets on colder days and nights make it my perfect “cave” where the stressors of the day melt away.
The sounds of chirping birds and a few humming birds flitting around to entertain add to the glorious show. Even my babies love the chance to bathe in the sun and enjoy the gorgeous outdoors.
At night, the stars light up the sky and add a magical dance to an already breathtaking evening. Only in Tucson could I enjoy such beauty all year round.
Size isn’t relevant, it just has to be yours. A haven away from everything.
Regardless of age or relationship in the house having a refuge to call your own is imperative.
I grew up with three brothers and a sister. A house that was loud and active, filled with family and friends at all hours of the day and night. I loved it… most of the time. Other times it was suffocating. No space to call your own and no one who’d honor it even if you did.
I remember the first time I spent the night at a friend’s house. She was an only child and her mother kept asking me why I was yelling all the time. I never realized that was the normal speaking voice in my home. At least if you wanted to be heard over the stereo, TV, activities and siblings!
Back then I had a bunch of pillows and a blanket in my closet. It was where I went to shut out the family craziness and spend some alone time. Cuddling with the family dogs when they too needed a break kept me sane.
When I moved out I couldn’t believe what it meant to hear nothing. Silence had been an alien concept up to that point. It truly can be golden. In medical school I lived in a second floor apartment in an area separated from the main units. These faced a large grass square far from the noise filled jacuzzi, pool and recreational center. My “cave” was the concrete platform just outside my room where the stairs began. I could see the mountains shine a magnificent purple at sunset and the stars twinkle at night. I rarely saw another soul and the garden area was as quiet and secluded as the owners represented. That stoop was a little bit of heaven.
I met my ex then. We were in medical school together and that’s where we would meet to share and decompress. Studying and working a hundred hours a week it was the place I ran to each day for a few minutes of calm and relaxation. James Taylor’s “Up On the Roof” played in the background. I still smile when I hear that song. It always sends me back to that place and time when a concrete slab could bring a brief respite from the outside world.
Even our pets aren’t immune. Mine love to burrow under the blankets and only show there noses when they want to check in on the outside world. An incredibly thoughtful couple gave me blankets especially made for pets over the holidays. Staying warm underneath them is now there go to place when I’m not home.
We all need space.
And to honor the space of others.
Now more than ever.