For rest and renewal
I’ve spent most of 2020 indoors. The lines between rest, work, and play diminished somewhere last spring. And now, with colder weather on the horizon and the continued instructions to remain indoors, I’ve been wondering how to create more balance at home, and perhaps even find moments of peace and rest.
I came upon the idea of a ‘meditation corner’ from an Instagram influencer (go figure) a few months back. She was showing her followers a corner of her home where she’d arranged all of her most-loved objects. I’m generally skeptical when it comes to anything woo. Still, there was something magical about this woman’s space, about the incense and posted affirmations, and the way she carved out time each morning to sit alone.
I began thinking about my own morning practices (or lack thereof) and the items in my home that bring me comfort and joy. I decided to give the meditation corner a try—to gather my treasures into a corner of the 400-square-foot apartment I share with my partner and dog. These items included my favorite postcards from traveling and a printed photo of my childhood home. The light is streaming through the pine trees that tower over the house, and I always feel a sense of peace when looking at it.
I also scribbled down a few favorite author quotes on torn notebook paper, grabbed a candle, and took down my wooden statue of a praying woman from her home on the bookshelf. I found this dusty figurine in an antique store in Vietnam, and the memory always reminds me that life is surprising and best lived spontaneously.
After gathering my objects, I decided on a small area in my living room, as it was the only available space in our home. I took a bedside table and squished it in the corner, after which I taped my author quotes and postcards to the wall above it—similar to how the woman in the Instagram video had set up her space. On the table, I set out my candles, a few favorite books and, of course, the praying woman.
And that was it. I stood back to observe my work, I felt a sense of joy and peace. For the first time since the beginning of 2020, I was reminded that my home can be a space for rest and renewal—even if it now doubles as my office, my gym, and, well, everything else.
“I was reminded that my home can be a space for rest and renewal.”
In the first few weeks after creating the space, I tried to visit my meditation corner as often as possible, especially in the mornings. I’d light a candle, grab a pillow, and sit on the floor to write about current happenings in the world. Other times, I’d use the space for silence and breathing or to recite morning affirmations. As summer turned to fall, the objects and space changed with the season. During the election, for example, I used it most often to sit in silence and breathe. As the season changes again and the days are notably colder and darker, I’m mostly using the space for reading, stretching, and reciting the occasional prayer.
You see, I’ve discovered this is the point of creating a meditation space in one’s home: it becomes precisely what you need it to be, and when you need it most. It’s a safe haven and welcoming place we can retreat to—this is such a gift when our homes don’t always feel peaceful right now.
“The meditation space becomes precisely what you need it to be, and when you need it most.”
And perhaps home wasn’t peaceful before COVID, either. It’s an immense privilege to even have a home, let alone one you feel safe in. But a ‘meditation corner’ doesn’t to be an actual corner, as it’s not so much about the physical space as it is carving out a moment for oneself. We can gather an item or two that we love and that makes us feel grounded. And then we can simply sit with it, intentionally offering ourselves mental space to rest and breathe. This practice is for you and you alone.
How to Create A Small Space Meditation Corner
1. FIND A CORNER IN YOUR HOME.
This can be anywhere in your home. It can even be outside if you’re fortunate enough to have a yard or live in a warmer climate. It will preferably be somewhere that you can sneak away to without being disturbed.
As noted above, you may find that your meditation corner exists in multiple places—your space may not allow for you to take up a corner or wall at this time, and that’s okay. Keep your items in a small basket and set them up on your bed or coffee table whenever you need them.
2. SELECT FIVE OBJECTS TO FILL YOUR SPACE.
Of course, you can select more (or less)—but I think five is a good round number for most of us. We want to be intentional about the items we choose to bring into this sacred space. Think of it as a ‘things I’d bring to a deserted island’ activity; you want to select the objects that calm you and bring you back to yourself. For me, it’s candles, book quotes, and travel nostalgia. For others, it may be incense, a worn book of poetry, prayer beads, plants—you get the idea.
Now that you have your objects, you can either place them in your corner or gather them in a basket. I personally like seeing the items displayed when I walk past the corner throughout the day.
I want to emphasize that you should start with what you have in your home and with the items that bring you the most comfort and joy—but, of course, it’s nice to invest and treat ourselves when we can. Here are a few ethical and sustainable products from small makers to help you create a restful space:
3. VISIT YOUR CORNER FREQUENTLY.
You can use your meditation corner whenever, really. I visit mine in the morning when my house is quiet and the light is soft. It’s also a nice transition space while working from home. I sometimes retreat to the corner for a moment after work to destress and shift my mindset.
The time spent in your corner each day can look different—you may want to journal or stretch or simply sit—but try to commit to some semblance of a routine. It’s always easier to engage in self-care or spiritual practices when we’re feeling like it, but that’s not always when we need them most. By having a prearranged date with our corner, we can nudge ourselves there even when we don’t feel like it.
“It’s always easier to engage in self-care or spiritual practices when we feel like it, but that’s not always when we need them most.”
Lastly, if you have children, you may even find it helpful to create a meditation space with your kids. This is similar to a calm-down corner, which is often used in school classrooms to help children release anxiety and frustration in healthy ways. Children, like adults, can benefit from quiet spaces to help with self-soothing and, this safe space could be especially useful during the safer-at-home period. You could also use the space in conjunction with these meditation and mindfulness apps for kids.
Remember, a corner is a just corner. There are no special powers to this practice other than that it encourages us to show up for ourselves and carve out moments of rest throughout the day. May your meditation space offer you that gift and be exactly what you need it to be. And may it offer you a sliver of peace at home, in this year and for many after.
Article first appeared on The Good Trade by writer:
Kayti Christian (she/her) is an Editor at The Good Trade. Growing up beneath the evergreens in the Sierra Nevadas, she returns to California after a decade split between states—including three years lived abroad. With an MA in Nonfiction Writing, she’s passionate about storytelling and fantastic content, especially as it relates to mental health, feminism, and sexuality. When not in-studio, she’s camping, reading memoir, or advocating for the Oxford comma.