Everyone needs a space of her own. It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate, but having a space of one’s own invites quiet, the ability to think and mull things over, to consider various sides to a question or problem, and to work with minimal distractions. Many people are continuing to work from home due to covid-19, and have carved out workspaces – in the corner of a bedroom, at the kitchen counter or dining room table, in a closet or under a stairwell, or in a spare room originally purposed for some other activity. This has been necessary and effective for many people’s employment and productivity. But getting things done is not the only purpose for having a space of one’s own, although that is important too.
The kind of space of one’s own that I am suggesting you consider is the one that connects you to your inner world, a space that reflects your authentic self, your values… and from which your creativity springs, in whatever form it may take. This could include art making, contemplation, meditation or prayer, reading, playing an instrument or listening to music, dancing, yoga or other movement, burning candles or enjoying essential oils, writing, closing your eyes and letting your imagination wander, or simply staring out the window at a tree, a bird feeder or a garden, and daydreaming! And for those of you who might be saying to yourself that you do not have time for such pursuits, or that they are frivolous, there is a large body of research out there that shows that the above activities can contribute greatly to a person’s quality of work and productivity, as well as their overall health and wellbeing.
One place to start in designing a space of your own or in re-designing a space that you already inhabit but wish to make more congruent with your inner life, and is suited to the activities that are authentic, reflective, and creative expressions of you, is to think about the places outside your home where you have felt most ‘at home’, the most comfortable, the most ‘in your element’. What kind of place is ‘your place’? Is it a museum or an art studio, a concert hall or a piano bar, a tea room or a coffee shop, a busy mall or street fair, or is it in a park, garden or natural area – and if so, is it wild and remote, or cultivated and formal? What are you drawn to? You know this in your body as well as your mind. Let your mind and senses wander, and remember the atmosphere and the colors and the textures of the place that speak to your soul.
After you have identified the important qualities and features of this place, consider how you might recreate this place for yourself so that it will convey, when you enter into it, the essence of the place, the most meaningful aspects of it. This can be done with a few simple objects, and perhaps some paint or fabric. It could be a whole room, or a corner or alcove that you dedicate. Although it can be as elaborate as you like, it is not necessary to completely overhaul the space, but to make it inviting, safe and relaxing, and conducive to whatever pastime that is replenishing and reconnecting for you that you wish to pursue. When you enter this space of your own you want to feel a sense of authenticity, a feeling of being grounded, a being at home internally as much as externally. Ideally this space you are providing for yourself is a mirror of your internal landscape, and allows you to more fully express who you are. It will remind you of what you value and what you want more of in your life. It provides the space for you to nurture your creativity and to feel at one with yourself. As you grow into it, allow it to grow and change with you, as you evolve more fully into yourself over time.
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Debra Vivi Steinfeld, MS, ATR, LMHC-QS, I am an artist, registered art psychotherapist, licensed mental health counselor, and qualified supervisor in the state of Florida. I specialize in navigating all the facets of life stage changes and both chosen and unexpected life transitions.