When I’m ready to relax, I often sit in an overstuffed chair in our office.
As you can see from the picture, it’s a big, brown, comfortable, cozy chair, and I often plop down in it when I’m reading, writing, or listening to music. Certain things are typically within arm’s reach: my bowl of hot, buttered popcorn, my bullet journal, a stack of soon-to-be-played CDs, or maybe even an amber-colored beverage (might be sparkling apple cider, we don’t know).
Joseph Campbell, author of The Power of Myth, talked about the importance of a sacred place where you can feel soothed, comforted, and taken care of. Sometimes referred to as a “Bliss Station,” it is a place you return to when you’re ready to take care of YOU.
Campbell tells us:
“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
(via Austin Kleon)
Many of us have nowhere to turn in our busy, hectic, chaotic, stressful lives to unwind, recharge, and simply remove ourselves from The White Noise of Life. We have neglected to honor our need for some rest, reflection, and rejuvenation.
Creating a Bliss Station, then, is one way we can improve the quality of our self-care (without dropping five large on a trip to Europe).
So what does a Bliss Station look like?
It might be:
- A place in your garden where you have a table and chairs and sit in the evening to listen to birdsong
- A prayer shrine in the corner of your living room or family room
- A corner of the room that has some throw pillows, an area rug, some candles and a favorite book
- A breakfast nook where you sit and have a cup of tea by the window
- An easy chair where you meditate, snooze, or read for pleasure
- A hot bath with bubbles, soft music, and candles or other mood lighting
- An hour in the morning when you go to the gym*
- A Sunday afternoon at the dog park with your favorite fur baby.**
- Any other place or time that is already set where you can feel soothed, comforted, and taken care of.
A Bliss Station is not the place to pay your bills, fret, worry, or complete other chores that stress you out. It's sacred because it's a place you ONLY use and ONLY go to when you want to be renewed.
One interesting side note: As Campbell tells us in the first sentence of the quote above, your Bliss Station can be a “when” as well as a “where.” Another important point is that clearly, your Bliss Station doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate.
As I talk about in my book The Zen Teacher, I often watched my father come home from work and remove himself from the stress and hassle of the day by donning his headphones and listening to Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Wilson Pickett, and Percy Sledge.
That was his Bliss Station.
Because we also spent many evenings listening to Classic Rock and R&B as a family, it also became one of mine.
So chances are you already have a Bliss Station and you just don’t know it.
My challenge for you is that if you have one, identify it and then use it.
Use it frequently and with abandon.
Luxuriate in the experience and the habit of it.
And if you don’t have one, make one. Today.
Campbell believed that everyone is entitled to some bliss.
Not only do I agree, but I’ve made it my mission to persuade the world that Campbell was right.
And I’m starting with you. TZT
*Not exactly MY Bliss Station, but hey, knock yourself out.
**I'm not an animal person, so I can't believe I really just used that expression out loud. :)
DO YOU HAVE A BLISS STATION OR SACRED SPACE? I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.
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