Building A You Space

Our house no longer has a guest room. Why? Because our house has four rooms with doors on them. One bedroom for us, one for our son, one for my husband’s office and one for…the occasional guest? Nope. The correct answer is “one for me to do with as I please.” No, it’s not going to be an office because I dislike working at a desk and, frankly, the room having a stated purpose of producing revenue does not make it more important than a space for me to enhance my wellbeing. Actually, if you asked my husband, he’d say that the room does more for our family than my income does. More on this later.

When we moved into our home, we originally set up bedroom #4 as a guest room because social convention says that’s what you should do. But, since I pay 50% of the house expenses…does it make sense that my husband has a dedicated space and an undefined, occasional, non-expense-bearing guest has a space…while I have to do yoga with a toddler on my back in the playroom and meditate in my car? No, it really doesn’t make sense. So, I claimed bedroom #4 as my yoga and meditation room. And it was the ultimate self-care move.

Now, every morning around 6:30am, I open the door to my room and instantly feel more peaceful. It may be the lingering scent of incense, the open space and gentle furnishings, the Tibetan singing bowls, the rechargeable candles, the stacks of soul-filling books, the unalome, om and breathe symbols on the wall, the absence of screens or the presence of spiritual items of worship. I honestly think it’s not the things that are there, but the intention that put them there. Whatever the alchemy is, it’s magical by design.

I gratefully acknowledge that I’m fortunate to have a whole room to rest, renew, restore and recharge. To journal, meditate, do abhyanga and yoga asana; to read, sleep, and be. In India, most homes have a puja, a space dedicated to spiritual practices. There are very specific rules about how and where to set it up (for example, it should ideally be in the North East corner of the home, not adjacent to a bathroom). But, much like feng shui, you do the best you can with what you have. As I mentioned earlier, I think the most important thing is the energy that you put into the space. So, if your You space is a wallet that you carry with you and put on the dash of your car while you take 5 minutes for yourself, amazing. There are no rules here- just intention.

With that, here are the things I considered when building my space:

Energy: I wanted the space to only hold mindful energy, but I also wanted it to be accessible for my toddler. I always want him to feel welcome, but also to know that the room is special. He can come in and play the bowls, or sit on my yoga mat, turn on the candles with a remote or open the cabinets with my spiritual items, but when he is in there, I am always firmly in my Self energy, my deep spiritual core. I am calm and centered and that helps him to mirror my energy. We do not brush teeth or eat or play in the room. My husband is also allowed into the room, but he takes off his shoes and knows he leaves the rough play and loud voice at the door.

Synopsis: Be deliberate and consistent about the energy you put into your space.

Items: In the words of Marie Kondo- everything in your space should spark joy. Do not throw in an old couch…sit on the floor or buy a pillow that evokes the feeling you want your space to hold. I knew that I wanted my space to be calm, restorative and meditative. I chose earth tones of green, ivory and sandalwood. I switched my yoga mat and blocks from synthetic to cork, my blankets, straps and bolsters to cotton. The batteries in my candles are rechargeable. I chose a journal that reflected my aspirational mood and a pen I loved to write with. I got a set of headphones that sound amazing and tried a bunch of different types of incense until I realized the one I was always looking forward to using was the only one I needed.

Synopsis: In self-care, you are required to be selfish. Only include things you love in your space.

Routine/Ritual: What is it that you want to use your space for? What do you want to feel while you are there, the difference between what you felt when you walked in and how you feel when you leave? What is your heart calling for?

For me, while every day is different depending on how much time I have, I have routines that can be done in 5 minutes up through 3.5 hours. I took great care in mapping them out, timing them, figuring out the sequence and what each one brings to me in terms of energy. I know the one thing I must always do for myself (meditate) and then I can add on from there. In fact, I love my self-care so much that sometimes when I find myself awake at 2am, I’ll just get up and go to my room and really take my time.

Synopsis: Be intentional in your rituals. Plan them with care and use them with reverence.

Outcomes: How do you want this to impact your life? Maybe it’s just a place for you to go and let the weight melt into the ground. Great! You may start to feel lighter in your life. Maybe it’s a place where you want to feel more grounded. Great! You may find you can carry more patience through your day. The energy and practices you cultivate in your self-care time will start to ripple into other parts of your life, to be available to you in more places and under more activating conditions.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband would likely say my practice has done more for our family than my income. That’s because I am happier, more present, less reactive and more open-hearted when I spend time with myself than I was when I was being there for everyone except myself.

Synopsis: Fill your own cup so that it effortlessly overflows and fills those of others.

Be well,

Mariah

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