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When I moved in to any apartment, it was the same routine: many of my boxes stayed packed and nothing went on my walls. That’s just the way it was. I didn’t feel like putting up any pictures or paintings or anything. I thought I might move again in the near future, so what was the use? It was a waste of time.

When I look at my history, my personal experiences, which evolved into my beliefs, I start to understand why. As a family, we moved every two years or so; sometimes every few months. I never stayed in the same school when I was young, but as I grew older I was able to travel enough to stay with my friends. We just didn’t have a lot of money. We made due, and we moved to when it made sense for us to do so. I guess I’ve taken that mentality, that expectation, with me for many years, even when I start to settle in to my own place after several years.

I’ve written about how I felt in other people’s places before, where there was warmth on the walls, photos, words of positive expression, creative wonders. It made me feel safe, warm, like I was home perhaps. Even as I never put things up in my home, the home that I grew up in was full of pictures and paintings, and every inch was used to express the history of our family.

It finally dawned on me to make a change, so, I started to create a space where the walls echoed what I desired to see in my life. They started to show me the fun times, the history of my son as he grew, some of my travels, and things that I connected with on a personal level. There are sayings and vision boards, and colourful expressions that remind me of my creative self, and the people I love in my life.

There it stayed for a time, and I liked it, but it was still a mash-up of a bachelor life and a desire for something greater, until I felt the time to move forward yet again, just recently. Now is that time when I have renewed my effort to create something even more special in my apartment that say it’s more than just a living room, it’s where I connect with others and myself.

I envision two couches facing one another: one a love seat for those I love to share it with, and one a full couch for me. Imagine, if you will, that they are placed near my patio sliding door for natural light, next to the heater for winter warmth. Sitting in the couch would be such a sensation as you nestle in to the half a dozen fluffy pillows that surround you, then sink your toes into the deep shag rug while you pull that ever so soft throw around your shoulders. The feeling of being softly covered, of protected in a way and wrapped in a bubble where you can let go of your stresses and worries and simply absorb all the good vibrations. That’s a good space!

Immediately adjacent to the sitting area our tea sits ready, steaming from a well used Japanese kiln-fired teapot, and two hand crafted pottery cups await our favourite flavours. In the background you catch the soft chimes of a water fountain while the soothing smells of lavender are relaxing your nerves. Did you just slip deeper into your seat? I think so.

Sitting face to face, we submerge our minds into a deep, satisfying conversation knowing that should either of us need to write down an idea, books, pens, and paper are situated close by to catch every single drop one. Our body may drift off to sleep, or we might become transfixed in our new book, but whatever the case, there remain plenty of options beside the old standard movie.

This face to face area is my Haven, my connection area that speaks not only to me but to my guests in a way that is comfortable to the body, mind, and spirit. Surrounded by visions of meaningful images and words, and plants, it gives me the sensation that I need to move from that spot, that all is well, that all is okay, and all are welcome to share it with me.

Whether in meditation contemplation, reflective thought, or conversing with a welcome guest, this is the place I envision creating to not only sustain me, but to enhance my spiritual and mental growth from within. This is my Grotto, my open Cave, my Haven.

This is a step beyond what I put on my walls and what I see. It really is the follow up to the rest of the sensations within me that ask for a greater connection with self.

In these times of stress, limited time, rushing around and errands, I used to feel like getting away, escaping in a movie, or finding solace in other ways. Now I am excited to create a special place in my otherwise ordinary apartment that is meaningful, lush, comforting, and as special as any getaway as I could imagine indoors!

I hope you can create a special place of your own that not only sustains you, but enhances your life in a special connective way for your own benefit and for those you chose to invite to it.

This is my winter task, and I am excited to create it step by step! I’ll keep journalling about all the steps I take as time progresses. May you find your own Haven no matter where you live.