Take time out to create your private stress-free sanctuary

Helen Hawkes, Frases Coast Chronicle (Australia): Most of us are skilled multi-taskers. We have to be.

We’re bombarded by emails and mobile phone calls and, if we work and live with others, there’s always people in our personal space.

Of course it’s wonderful to have contact with others, especially with those we care about.

But for our mental and physical health, we need a regular break from this constant buzz of activity.

One of the best ways to get it is to have your own private sanctuary or escape.

That’s right, you can create a space just for yourself and it doesn’t have …

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Not a joke: Barbie’s 2011 dream house has solar panels, meditation room

The American Institute of Architects has announced the winner of its Barbie Dream House competition: a four-story, eco-friendly Malibu manse with signature pink sliding doors.

AIA hosted the contest to promote Mattel’s latest addition to its “I Can Be …” series, Architect Barbie, who can be seen here in full professional garb: chunky glasses, construction hat, and outdated, hot-pink document holder. Competition entries were winnowed down to five finalists before being put to a public vote, with the winning house, by recent Harvard master’s grads Ting Li and Maja Paklar, snagging 8,470 votes. In their submission form, Li and Paklar describe Architect Barbie as upholding…

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Spiritual materialism

The Winnipeg Free Press has a article on creating personal spaces in your home — often at great expense — for “hobbies” such as Star Wars, bowling, and meditation. Yup, meditation is now apparently a “hobby” akin to rolling a ball down a polished surface in order to knock down some pieces of wood. As descriptions of meditation go, this one is something of a gutter ball.

Time was when someone might create a place to meditate with some floor cushions, a CD player and fragrant candles.

Lori Dennis, a Los Angeles interior designer, said she frequently gets asked to design something quite different: chic, very expensive meditation rooms. Ones with “expensive luxuries like $200 per yard fabric, custom meditation benches, custom wall murals in gold-leaf paint, cashmere hand-knit throws and accessory art in the $10,000s.”

She has designed a shower with a view of the Pacific Ocean, exotic veneers and a Venetian glass vessel bowl.

“This is because meditation and chanting is a big deal in Hollywood,” Dennis says. “The most sought-after chant and meditation leaders, like Deepak (Chopra), are invited to head up small parties of important people in these spaces. It’s a new way to hold an exclusive power meeting.”

You can read the rest of the article here…

Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a nice space in which to meditate, but it strikes me that simplicity — which generally isn’t terribly expensive — is more appropriate. And the whole idea of spending vast amounts of money in order to impress guests is totally alien to what meditation’s about. It turns meditation into a way to gain status and to boost the ego. Meditation is supposed to be a way to let go of clinging — including clinging to status.

The Associated Press journalist who put this piece together seems totally oblivious to the ironies involved in promoting this rather gross form of spiritual materialism.

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Keep things simple in your meditation space

When designing your own space for meditation or reflection, the most important thing to remember is you.

This is a place to rejuvenate your spirit, says interior designer Ronda Webb of the Design Studio of Gabberts. In your home, you’re not always decorating only for yourself, but making compromises for your husband, your kids, your guests.

“In your space, you should use things that you don’t get to have everywhere else,” Webb says.

Choose a comfortable mat, chair or pillow to help you relax. Clear out all the clutter and avoid having bills, paperwork or computers in view. Don’t have things you “don’t” like or that bring on potential stress in this space.

Other advice from designing experts:

When choosing paint, look for cool tones like green, blue or lavender. These are considered calming colors….

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