Reclaim Room to Breathe

I’m up at 5:45 in the morning, 15 minutes before my alarm signals the start of my morning ritual of breakfast making, toddler shifting, and lightning pace life organizing. From the time my alarm goes off at 6, my telephone has beeped too many times to count, letting me know of personal sales, news reports, incoming emails and unread text messages in the night before. Our his and hers iPads are spontaneously combusting on our dresser, along with also my husband’s phone is blowing up using new information from his usual feeds.

The above scenario is plain ridiculous so early in the morning, but sadly, it’s not unusual in this time. So I’m determined to take modest steps to take back any down time that I may actually still have in the house by carving out physical and mental space for my own sanity. Here’s how I intend to do it.

Architects, Webber + Studio

Unplug. Among the things that I love about this film is the lack of plugs, wires and gadgets. I don’t remember the last time that my bedside table or wall mounted looked this spartan. The film coaxes a slow move, does not it?

Moon Design + Build

Find quiet in sudden places. It’s no surprise that flashes of brilliance almost always come at times when we allow our minds a couple of minutes of peace. The persistent hum of the dryer is just like a salve to our weary minds, wounded from information overload, so it’s no surprise that the laundry room makes for a simple yet often overlooked sacred space.

Stonewood, LLC

Take a second look at the guest room. My favorite guest room in the whole world is what my mom calls the “blue room,” since this guest room has everything a person would have to feel relaxed and comfortable, and always has new bed linens, and cut flowers and towels in each shade of relaxing blue. The demands of everyday life might not enable you to unplug in your own bedroom, but stealing a hour of calm and quiet from the guest room is completely possible.

Jeanne Finnerty Interior Design

Dishwashing meditation. You do not need to be a Zen Buddhist to practice a little mindfulness. I like to meditate when I’m washing dishes; I zero in on how the water clears the messes of this afternoon, all laid out on a single plate, using a couple of sponge swipes along with a comprehensive rinse. Add a small aromatherapy with a lemon verbena soap and I’m as pleased as a monk.

Birdseye Design

Read a book for pleasure. And rest. I understood that times were awry when my absolutely smart friends were studying the same names as teenage girls were. Too often, we are picking up names based on best-seller evaluations and reviews instead of going to the bookstore and buying something that simply looks intriguing and appeals to our personal preference. When was the last time you read a book for the sheer pleasure of escaping into someone else’s world? And when was the last time you allow yourself fall asleep midafternoon without setting a wake-up alarm?

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

Say no to high-tech showers. Among my most beloved sacred spaces in the world is my very best friend’s outside shower in the tropics. It’s nothing fancy, only a rock shower area with some homemade soap and coconut oil bottles. However, no one actually bothers me when I’m out there, and I never consider where my telephone is midlather. TVs and music players and phones have their place in the interior, but keep them from the shower.

Susan Jay Design

Take care of the porcelain throne. The most basic, cleansing need is fulfilled at the restroom toilet, yet how many times have we seen friends’ Facebook status updates that they have dropped their phones in the bathroom? Stop texting and emailing in this sacred space.

Blakely and Associates Landscape Architects, Inc..

Enjoy your own outdoors. We always need to be doing some thing. Even in the garden, people find it difficult to park themselves on a bench to watch a hummingbird lap up nectar (or else they do so while pressing Send in their telephone) for only 10 minutes. Using a green thumb and nurturing one’s garden is perfectly nice, but our souls would probably benefit from activity-free garden time as well.

Lewis Aquatech

Go underwater. I hope the day never comes when smart phones have lives under water. The ocean, the pool and the bathtub might be the last places in the world where we can disconnect for extended periods of time.

Sutton Suzuki Architects

Locate a distance. Any distance. It does not need to be elaborate. You do not need New Age music playing in the background or even a bucolic cottage in the south of France to find down time and emotional clarity. You simply need space. Find it, and if you eventually have it within your grasp, protect it.

And if you really wish to disconnect, ensure that your sacred space does not have Wi-Fi.

ers, inform us : Where would you go in your house to disconnect? What does your sacred space look like?

How to Create a Nest in the Home
Backyard Bliss: Have a Master Plan
Zen Gardens: Serene Outdoor Spaces

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