You may be at a time of particular pain in your life; a time you think of as your monsoon season. Your typical freeze response doesn’t numb you out. Denial is no longer strong enough to anesthetize the pain. None of your old familiar self-medicating behaviors buffer the fear. There is so much turmoil inside that you can’t tolerate even tiny stresses in your external environment. You just want to find a hole, crawl in, and hide.
This is where having a spare room can come in handy. I encourage you to give yourself permission to claim that room as your hole. Initially it may just be an escape, but somewhere along the way I hope you begin to think of it as a sanctuary, a place where you can just breathe (not the type of breath you have to remind yourself to do – the type that you allow to occur naturally, where your body sinks in rhythm with your exhale and slowly lets go until you settle in to that place where your body knows it’s safe to rest).
As your fledgling spirit begins to slowly heal, let yourself realize the significance of having that space dedicated to you. If you need some inspiration for the wisdom of this, take a look at Virginia Wolfe’s 1929 classic “A Room of One’s Own.” I listened to Wolfe’s message and allowed a room to become my sanctuary, and I’ve never regretted it. Somewhere along the way I decided to make that room about more than just escape and let it become a metaphor for my own self-value. I transformed it into an oasis of self-nurturing. And much to my surprise, that self-nurturing eventually transformed me!
I now know that what I began to do inside that room is called self-care. I listened to my intuition, without questioning it or judging it, and filled that room with anything that lifted my spirit. I used trial and error to explore which sensory pleasures filled the empty spaces inside of me. I found a rather ugly upholstered swivel rocking chair that felt heavenly to my body. I lined the walls with pictures that I could drink in with my eyes. I tested candle scents until I discovered the ones that soothed my soul. I developed a taste for music I would never have listened to before, the type that helped me develop a vision for who I could be. I bought luxuriously textured blankets that felt delicious on my skin. I spent many hours sitting on my rocker, draped in my blankets, listening to my music with the candles burning and my fog machine pumping out a hazy mist while I poured out my heart onto the pages of my journal, prayed and created lists of self-affirmations that I didn’t yet believe but decided that I wanted to.
My family re-named it the Serenity Room. It’s a sacred place in my home. I don’t visit it as often as I did in my own monsoon season because the seeds that were planted there — self-worth and self-care — eventually grew and now travel with me. In the beginning, I needed the Serenity Room to jumpstart my transformation. However, all the experiences I absorbed in that room are now in the ‘serenity room’ that resides inside of me.
I invite all of you to create your own Serenity Room and begin your transformation.
Dr. Janice Caudill, founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery, is a psychologist who specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex and love addiction, intimacy anorexia and relational trauma. McKinney Counseling & Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Dallas and Sherman area.