Our need to create special spaces to retreat to for solace is an instinct we all share and a necessity to our happiness and well being.
Beginning in childhood we built forts, hideaways, and worlds of make believe where hours passed unnoticed. Besides fostering our curiosity and creativity, those earliest Go-To Spaces gave us refuge from the adult world that was inevitably closing in around us. Now as adults most of us no longer build forts in our living rooms or create hideaways in the attic eaves yet our wish to get away from the complexities of grown up life is ever present!
Sadly the logistics of creating any kind of space be it; mental, emotional, Spiritual, or physical, seem daunting, impractical, indulgent, unrealistic, or just weird. Despite the appearance however of not having enough time, money, room in our homes, or that we are being selfish, creating our very own GO-TO Space is not impossible nor odd! Reclaiming this sacred territory for ourselves and spending time there regularly is something we are all capable of because; where there is a will, a way always follows.
Defining your GO-TO Space is totally up to you, just as choosing what you do there is completely your decision. The only criteria for this special space are:
1. It’s where you go to get away from the routine of your daily responsibilities.
2. Being there vitalizes you. To vitalize means; to give life to. Only you know what exactly does that for you.
3. You name it, making it your own!
My friend E is a talented artist who finds her vitality through spending time in the ocean of her creative thoughts and ideas reading, writing, and organizing the many photos she takes of her family, community, and the whimsical inspirations she documents while walking around her Brooklyn neighborhood. Years ago she designated a lovely sun lit room in her home as her GO-TO Space, she aptly calls, her “Stud-e-o.” Or there is Virginia Woolf’s famous fiction work, “A Room of Her Own.” Not just a book title, this was Woolf’s name for the essential Go-To Space she understood all women writers must have in order to have the freedom to explore the creative landscapes of their minds to write wholly and fully.
What happens when ample space is not an option and the only four walls you have are shared with your roommate(s), family, or partner?
This is a reality for many of us! Here in New York City for example every square inch of real-estate has a dollar value making Go-To Space appear as a luxury item available exclusively to habitants of more amply sized homes, or individuals with income to spare for renting an outside office or studio. Again though; where there is a will, a way always follows as witnessed in my client Sara’s situation.
Sara shares a small one bedroom apartment with her husband and two children, ages six-years and eighteen months old. Sara came to me for coaching support in reclaiming some space in her very full life that left her no time to herself. Desperate for her own GO-TO Space but with hardly any time alone and very limited funds, where and how was the million dollar question! Complicating the issue was Sara’s recognition that her six-year old daughter also needed her own Go-To Space to get away from her meddlesome toddler brother.
Ultimately Sara came up with the brilliant idea to relocate her ancient dinosaur desk top computer to a small walk through closet area connecting the family bedroom to the living room. This space had always been a dead area until Sara realized it was perfect for her computer tasks such as bill paying, managing health insurance, and sending emails. With the computer finally off of her drafting table that sat in the tiny chaotic catch-all-office/studio space, Sara at last was able to claim her Go-To Space. She also was able to put a small table in the room for her daughter to make art or to simply play with her toys. While her daughter was in school Sara had her GO-TO space to herself. And at the end of day while Sara made dinner and cared for her toddler son, her daughter had her own time in that space.
Now even if you do not have an extra room in your home there are other ways to mark your space such as designating a certain comfy chair or spot on the couch. Any time you want to use that area to “Go-To“, have a few props to help demarcate it from the norm of your living room. (or whatever room it is!) For example throw a special tapestry or blanket over the couch. Light a special candle and place it where you can see it. Light incense. Draw the shades or open them! Announce to your family or roommates if they are around that you you are off in your Go-To Space and you do not wish to be bothered! While this may not be the perfect solution, it can serve as an interim space until you have more options. And hey, who says you can’t build your own blanket fort!
In closing, if you have been feeling the urge for solace from the full of your life, remember how instinctually as a child you knew just how to create the space you needed using the most minimal of materials. Have faith and confidence in your ability to create just the right Go-To Space for yourself now. This space need not be perfect nor complicated. As long as you: feel separate from the full of your life, being there vitalizes you, and you have a name for it, you are set. Make your happiness a priority because: where there is a will, a way always follows!
© Susanna Kearney & Creating Space for Women, Inc, 2014. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susanna Kearney & Creating Space for Women with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.