Thursday, January 13, 2011

SPACE OF YOUR OWN, Refuge From a Hectic Life (c) By Polly Guerin

Creating a refuge of your own, a private, intimate place to call your own is a highly coveted desire for most women. While multi-tasking at home or fulfilling the demands of a career women often find they need a place to escape to where they can meditate, write, daydream, set up a home office or simply meditate and pray in a comfortable and peaceful environment. Balancing all the demands on your time perhaps means there is very little time left for yourself. In these days when most people living in large cities do not have the luxury of space, there is ever more reason to be creative and to carve out your own sanctuary. Whether you can take fifteen minutes or a whole day retreating into your personal sanctuary can have productive and restorative results.
I recall the clever solution that my friend, Carolyn Beiderman a former opera singer created at a time when her children were quite small, mischievous and investigative. She created her sanctuary in a medium size closet, installing therein shelves to hold her opera scores and personal memorabilia, white plastic head forms to hold her wigs, a mirror on the inside of the closet door and a makeup station. “I drew funny faces on the white head forms that scared the children away,” she recalled. “On the door I placed a “Private” sign and everyone in the family knew this was my special place.”
I was always amazed by my late writer friend, Irene Kleeberg. She was married to a book publisher and everywhere you looked in their apartment books were piled up and there wasn’t a clear space for her work. So she created a sturdy shelf on the inside door of a medium size kitchen closet on which she anchored her typewriter, as there were no computers at that time. In this unlikely arrangement she managed to produce numerous magazine articles that she sold to major magazines. Her focus and creativity was abetted by shelves inside which held her reference books, tools of the trade, and assorted personal items. Not only was this an innovative solution to her daily writing but she also managed to produce self-help books that were very popular.
There are some people who are spiritually minded and prefer to create a sanctuary place where they can revere their family and friends. It can be as simple as a place on the top of a bureau or in the corner of a room where they display framed pictures of their loved ones and often add mementos, like a flower, an item of clothing, something that identifies with their departed relative and provides a happy memory. In a similar fashion like other people I have placed silver framed photos of my family and special friends on the top of my closed baby grand piano. It brings pleasure just to look at a photo and to remember the people pictured and the occasion when the photo was taken.
It’s common knowledge that men have always had their special place to retreat to and get away from it all. They have the den to watch sports, the porch on which to smoke, the garage to tinker with the car or a workplace with tool setup. That’s how they cope with creating their own space and a good thing too. My sister-in-law once said about her husband who took endless hours away to build a small boat in their large garage, “Well, at least I know where he is at all times.” Women however, have always had their kitchen or sewing area but those are really work rooms and do not cut it as a sanctuary.
A refuge from a hectic life can be built to accommodate all sorts of desires. Whether it is meditating, listening to music, writing, thinking, praying, creating or daydreaming finding a private place to call your own is a good thing to bring peace and harmony into your life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


As the New Year brings with it promise of new beginnings, new opportunities and new surprises, there is great reason to rejoice and welcome the new challenges. But somehow worries, doubts and unanswered prayers seem to creep into our thoughts and the stress of this negativity can debilitate our well being and ambition. It might sound too good to be true but a Mantra, a single phrase, an affirmation, repeated over and over again can combat stress, reset your mood and elevate your emotions to positive levels of peaceful contemplation.
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation.” Perhaps the most familiar to Westerners is the famous one from Buddhism, OM mane padme hum (Ohh-mmm, mahn-ee pahd-mee hooom). This Buddhist mantra, translates to “the jewel of consciousness (the mind) which has reached the heart’s lotus.” This mantra is practiced more than any other in the world. One of the mantra’s simple but profound concepts is that when the mind and heart become united anything is possible. If you want to change your life, this mantra should be your spiritual icon.
You may wonder how sounds can affect the energy centers. Repeating the Sanskrit words OM mane padme hum stimulates the body’s chakras (the energy centers in your body). The ancient clairvoyants looked at the energy centers as spinning wheels of light, called Chakras, which in Sanskrit means ‘wheel.’ Each Chakra resonates and vibrates to a specific color in the spectrum and corresponds to a specific musical note on the C scale. The crown Chakra (top of the head) the crown of enlightenment resonates to the sound “B” on the C Scale. The Indigo Chakra resonates to “A,” the Blue Chakra to “G,” the Green Chakra to “F,” the Yellow Chakra to “E” the Orange Chakra to “D” and the Red Chakra to “C.” These musical sounds pull in spiritual energy and create harmony in your life. TRANSFORMATIONAL PHRASES
Your voice repeating the OM mantra can have a profound transformative effect on the Chakras and through them on your mind and body. When the two are joined possibilities open to eliminate stress, stabilize emotions, create serene health, and opens the path to enlightenment. Repeating the OM mantra can be personalized by a certain need in your life. It can be accompanied by a personal “thought “affirmation, as simple as, “I always focus on the positive,” “I expect success in my career,” “I am worthy, I am loveable, I am free,” or to attract prosperity, “I attract abundance in my life.” Repeating transformative phrases as an everyday practice not only shifts your focus away from stress and negativity, it centers you with peaceful contemplation for the positive aspects in your life.
If you cannot provide a specific time in the morning or evening to sit quietly and repeat the OM mantra then you can mentally chant the mantra while you’re waiting for the traffic light to change, while you’re waiting on line running errands or while you’re jogging. Take advantage of waiting time at the dentist or doctor’s office; at the spa or hair salon let the mantra fill the idle hours. If you can afford to set aside time from your busy schedule here is a simple exercise that puts the principle of the OM mantra to work. Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor, rest your hands on your lap and close your eyes, breathe naturally several times through your nose until you feel relaxed. Focus on your affirmation and start chanting the entire mantra, OM mane padme hum! (pronounced Ohh-mmm, mahn-nee pahd-mee hooom!) Do this pronouncing all the syllables in a single breath. Repeat this five times, and then relax. The sound of the Om mantra can have a profound transformative effect on your mind and body and at the same time help you to realize your affirmation.