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In my room

It’s been, I think, three weeks since I moved into the new bedroom. Going on a month, maybe. I love that room.

I love it not only because it means the end to major structural work. Not only because the house is so much cozier now with all those airleaks filled (and there were many). I love it not only because it has that giant, accidental closet. Those are good, practical reasons. But there’s another dimension.

I love it because it’s serene. It’s dark and quiet. I never hear my neighbor going to work at 3:45 in his big Dodge RAM crew-cab diesel truck. I love it because I didn’t move into it until every detail was finished so I wouldn’t end up fretting over procrastination and disharmony. I love it because it’s new and clean and looks like a cross between Granny’s bedroom ca. 1955 and modern thriftstore chic. I love it that when I turn on a nightlight inside the curtained closet, the sheers look like a Japanese lantern.

Around the time I moved into it, I began to make some rules for the room. I didn’t want it to lose its special quality. I wanted both to keep the room in wonderful condition and to remind myself to appreciate it.

The first rule: Critters don’t sleep there.

I feel like Mommie Dearest, but Ava and the cat are adapting quite well. I invite them onto the bed for a few minutes petting and praising, but they sleep in the living room and usually make the decision on their own. The room stays cleaner. I sleep better.

There is the occasional exception.

Anyhow, I didn’t set out to make rules for myself. But once I’d been inhabiting a cozy, comfortable, disruption-free corner of the house for the first time in almost five years, I felt moved to preserve the new peace.

Second rule: Never bring anything into the room without knowing exactly where it fits.

Maybe some people can be serene amid clutter, but those people are not me. The room will never be allowed to get either messy or overfilled with stuff. With the new rule, I’m conscious of every library book or bag of snackies that goes through the door.

The third rule is the hardest, much more important one. And I fear I may be jinxing it by writing about it. But this very important rule is (to put it in a rather abstract way) that the room exists only in a given moment.

The room has no past or future. Or rather, it doesn’t have my past or future. It does not contain either childhood grievances or worries about a job to be done tomorrow. It does not hold that silly embarrassment or that shot-through-the-heart betrayal from 20 years ago. Worries about poverty or a future of unfreedom do not exist in the new bedroom.

I made a mantra: “This room holds only this moment.” It times nicely with heartbeats and breaths. Whenever some old thought comes up, I banish it with that thought.

I suppose it’s very Buddhist. Is that what “mindfulness” is? I don’t know. I just know that the spell of banishment of other times works.

And this is after a lifetime of being a worrier.

It’s also, only after maybe a week or so and during a time where no bad personal thing is going on. So we shall see. Keeping such patient resolve will get harder.


Now, with all that said, it’s time for Brian Wilson from long, long ago, turning the Beach Boys personal:



  1. Joel
    Joel February 27, 2018 6:19 am

    That’s beautiful, Claire. Having recently inhabited a similar though very different space I spent all the warm season building, this resonates.

    “This room holds only this moment.” I don’t have the mental discipline to bother making any such resolution but I understand the desire. I do find, though, that the new room, having been built with no compromises as to anyone else’s notions and only to support what I consider serenity, tends not to allow old pain to pass through the door. It’s very pleasant, and I wish you the same success.

    Mazel Tov! Many years of happy residency.

  2. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas February 27, 2018 6:19 am

    “In my room” sounds to me to be a wonderful meditative practice, to put it in rather stilted terms. But you described this so well..

  3. Claire
    Claire February 27, 2018 8:05 am

    ” I do find, though, that the new room, having been built with no compromises as to anyone else’s notions and only to support what I consider serenity, tends not to allow old pain to pass through the door.”

    As usual, you and I are uncannily on similar tracks in both life and thinking. And as usual, you say it better than I do.

  4. lairdminor
    lairdminor February 27, 2018 8:34 am

    Interesting mantra. I’ll have to ponder it some more. But it certainly sounds very zen.

  5. Pat
    Pat February 27, 2018 4:29 pm

    “I made a mantra: “This room holds only this moment.””

    I call my room my Sanctuary.

    May you have only sweet dreams in your room, Claire – whether awake or asleep.

    (Ability to Comment is working right now; started a short while ago. Thanks to whomever or whatever…)

  6. Shel
    Shel February 28, 2018 5:32 am

    Years ago, after removing and replacing the head on a motorcycle engine, I discovered that riding down the road generated a completely different feeling. Knowing that I had fixed the gasket leak and made it run properly allowed for a much richer experience. I speculated at the time that a woman who wears a dress that she has made likely enjoys a similar benefit. With your great amount of work and planning on your house and especially your bedroom, it would stand to reason that there is great – and deserved – satisfaction involved.

    Having the willpower to keep one’s mind on the present for limited periods of time is a wonderful blessing. Making that a habit as you enter “your” room will go a long way to make it possible. I remember sadly telling a dog, whose owner kept chained outside and with whom I walked once while visiting, that “today is all we have.” At least he had that part of a day. Your posting reminds me that it’s a goal to strive for.

    And of course for every circumstance there’s a country song to dampen one’s spirits.

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