Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So.. what does a person who is not wealthy do to create a retreat within the four walls of one's home?

I never understood how that could be done. Fortunately, I've since learned.

My living space is mainly two rooms. I have a den and a bedroom which is exclusively my part of the house. We share the kitchen, laundry room, back yard and so on. It's definitely a little community here.

Yet there are times I need to retreat, even from my housemates. One of the things I did in my den is install a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster oven, coffee maker.. all the appliances that allow me to cook within reason. It's a galley kitchen without an oven or a sink. I bought the stuff from Craigslist and called it good.

Both housemates still work and one has an office here at home. There are people in and out all day, phones ringing, noise, conversation and music playing in the office. V. takes endless calls on his cell phone which has a ring tone that would grate on the nerves of the Dalai Lama. He's a hyper, active, pumped-up kind of guy and there are times when his energy is just overwhelming. My other housemate is not hyper but still can spread her own share of bad energy around when she gets aggravated about some small inconvenience. She considers me to be readily available as a listener.

There are times when I must close the access doors to my area of the house and literally block them out.

My two rooms look almost like a little Thailand. There are all sorts of Thai artifacts, arts, accessories, cookware, wall hangings and so on. I spent a fortune on eBay and bugged friends in Thailand to send me things. If I cranked up the heater as high as it would go and turned the humidifier on full tilt, it would almost feel like I am in Khon Kaen!

My housemates might object to that and I wouldn't blame them. :)

I created this space because there are times when I simply can't cope with the outside world. The noise, the chaos, the bombardment of marketing, the bombardment of the constant hustle of those trying to make their way in this culture, hunting and gathering. I start to feel crushed. Not emotionally crushed. Physically crushed. It starts with a headache and ends with full-fledged body aches.

For the next week, I am going to spend a lot of time here with the doors closed, the TV off, the newspaper unread and I'm going to limit my Internet browsing to blogs only. I will surround myself with good thoughts, good food, goodness ... clear energy. The spa didn't get rid of my physical aching. It's running rather deep this time.

Ba and I had a very good lunch yesterday. He gave me lots of language materials to study. In spite of his horrendous work schedule, he still found time to create these for me. It's some amazing stuff! It was also great to sit a few hours with someone whose thinking is similar to my own. I didn't have to explain or justify, didn't have to "mark my words" for fear of being misunderstood or be overly cautious of the content of my conversation.

I need to restore, get back into balance. It would be very interesting to know what others do to create "mini-retreats" for themselves.




The Atavist said...

Here's a curmudgeonly old guy from Canada sending you lots and lots of positive energy...

Melissa said...

-Sitting in my kayak in the Atlantic.
-Long hot bath in a clean bathroom with good reading material.
-Cell phone off for 24 hours.

Anvilcloud said...

I don't do it very often (mind you, this isn't a frenetic household), but an occasional hot soak with a good book is rather decadent.

jen said...

positive energy from your california neighbor...

mini retreats are hard w/ a toddler...but pre kid, i lived in a place w/ a clawfoot tub. and i'd put on some blues, light candles..and soak for hours.

i miss that a lot.

meno said...

It's important to have a place to "cocoon." For me it can be anywhere it's quiet and i have a good book. A cat helps too.

Lucia said...

You are the wisest of women. You know when to withdraw and care for yourself. When to go to your space to refuel and think. If I knew a Thai blessing to pass on to you in your retreat, I'd share it here.

QT said...

I definitely need a good read. In the winter, I fluff up my down pillows and make some Market Spice tea and cuddle in. In the summer I am definitely outside, poking around in silence amongst my plants and animals. Even a spring morning with a good cup of coffee, sitting out on the deck, watching birds at the feeder seems to lower my heart rate a bit.

Peace be with you tonight, Chani.

NotSoSage said...

Chani, I hope you find solace in your retreat. It sounds like you deserve some time to remove yourself from all of what is surrounding you.


MsLittlePea said...

That's good for you! Sounds cozy.

Riding my bike to the beach for a solo picnic is the best retreat for me. Morning coffee on my balcony with my sleeping dog at my feet is second best. Nora Jones on the stereo, of course....

Jay said...

Everyone needs a reprieve, a place that we can enjoy by ourselves and recharge our batteries.

Susanne said...

I'm thinking of you.


- cuddle up in bed with computer and books

- go for a walk in the woods

- meditate every morning for 10 minutes

- look at art books

Pam said...

I sit outside, when it's nice enough, surrounded by trees and birds and listen to lovely music. I either meditate or read. If I can't get out, I sit among my plants and do the same.

My kayak used to be a saving grace and I miss it, but it's more a question of moving the mind away from chaos rather than the body.

Thailand Gal said...

Thank you, Atavist. :) I'll take it!


Melissa, those all sound great! I'm so glad I gave up my cell phone.


Anvil, I am very clumsy. Reading in the tub is awesome but somehow I always drop the book. LOL


Jen, I truly wish you had a community there where someone could care for your child for a while. Your energy needs renewing just as everyone else's. Parenting shouldn't be a hari kari. Too often, that is exactly what it becomes.


Meno, there is absolutely nothing like a cat to make the picture complete. I'm already pushing it here with the dog since this isn't my house. If it belonged to me, there would be two cats *and* the dog.


Lucia, thanks. One of the things I brought to my world when I completely stepped out of American culture is that it can, at times, level me. It's like breathing toxic air. After a while, I get physically ill.

I wasn't counting on that part! LOL

Thailand exists and it ain't goin' anywhere. I guess that's the blessing. :)


QT, that sounds just perfect! It's spring here.. but the darned cars with the loud car stereos going up and down the street are keeping me out of the back yard.


Sage, thanks. :) Every now and then, it just has to be. There is only just so much I can take of it before I collapse like one of those little plastic cups. This kind of vigilance is necessary to my survival in many respects. No choice to keep going.. just because this culture says that's the right thing to do.


MsPea.. yes.. Norah Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae. Both of them are a definite necessity for relaxing.

And my next step? I'm getting a bike! :)


Jay... yes... entirely true.


Susanne, all of those are good ideas.. and thanks for your thoughts.


Pam, I agree. Something lacking in me seems to be the ability to separate myself from all of it mentally without separating from it physically. Kind of weird. :)


Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your good thoughts and suggestions.



Anonymous said...

I like swimming. I used to racewalk but hurt my foot and I realized this morning while I was swimming that is was a lot like racewalking. I glide in the pool, the water bouys my body, I feel weightless and I can stretch. That's my retreat.

Thailand Gal said...

Deb, racewalking sounds great... but swimming sounds even better. If I had access to a pool, that would definitely be on my list of things to do. :)



flutter said...

Love you, Chani. I will whisper an Om for you