“Every home, no matter how small, can have a breathing room. We may have a room for everything else […] but most of us don’t have a room for our own breathing and peace of mind.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
One of my favorite books to read is entitled Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. In this book, he briefly talks about creating a breathing room in your home. He describes this room as a sacred place. A place where you can go if you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, or angry. This space should be a peaceful and calming space. It can be very simple- it doesn’t have to take very much to create this breathing room. When describing this space in his book, he says that “you don’t need any furniture— maybe just a cushion or two, and perhaps an altar or a table with fresh flowers”.
After reading this book for about the third time (and repeatedly telling myself that one day I would create my own breathing room), I decided to finally start the process. I cleared out my spare bedroom and hired helpers to come in to make some minor repairs and paint the room for me. I chose a calming, tranquil blue color for the walls. I added peaceful artwork, lots of books, soft lighting, and fluffy pillows. I filled the space with small houseplants, a soft textured rug, my favorite scented candles, and cozy blankets. Basically, I filled the space with things that bring me peace and comfort— as this was my ultimate goal for the look and feel of the room.
As it all started to come together, I quickly knew that this was going to be my favorite room in the house. I have always cherished my alone time but what I finally realized was that it was really the stillness and the peace that I craved so much. This room gives me that and more. This room is a space for me to practice yoga and meditation. A space to calm down, relax, and unwind. A space to just hang out and chill. A space to sip wine and listen to music. A space to curl up and read a good book or to write. A space for positive vibes only.
When I think about all the many times that I’ve allowed other people or situations to encroach on my personal time and space, I’m so happy that I have this room as a sort of refuge from this chaotic world and my own intrusive, chaotic thoughts. Like most people, I view my home as a refuge from this crazy world. This room, though, serves as a constant bell of mindfulness, reminding me to come back to the present moment from my own internal chaos as well. This room reminds me that I always have a choice. Just as I chose to create this space, I also conciously choose to be happy. I choose to be positive. I choose to grow and evolve. I choose to be present in the moment. I choose to unpack that internal chaos and truly be at peace. This room is my designated place for all these magical and very intentional choices to come to fruition.
Do you have a space like this in your home? If so, what does it mean to you? If not, would you like one?