Jun 7, 2022

Importance of Physical Space



 This is a pic of our Christmas tree plant on our balcony. We bought this plant from a nearby nursery sometime in 2005. It started growing steadily and we had to re-pot it to bigger-sized pots multiple times. After 7-8 years, the leaves started to wither and the plant was looking dull, even though it was watered regularly. Our gardener suggested that we should replant this tree in the ground as it is not getting adequate space in a pot. 

We agreed and he carefully planted it in a spot, where there was adequate space for the roots to flourish and for the branches to grow taller. There was adequate space all around the tree as well and of course, ample exposure to sunlight. After replanting, our Christmas tree is now looking so magnificent, having grown to the height of 4 floors, leaves spread out thick and strong, looking lush green. It is being given a lot of care by the gardeners and celebrated with a lot of lights during Christmas every year.

This 17-year story of our Christmas tree has taught me the value of one important human need - The need for Space and the Right Environment.

Every individual needs physical space for growth. Be it studies, professional work projects, spiritual growth, exercise routine, meditation, reading/research, etc - physical space is essential to make progress.

Solitude, time to be alone with one's thoughts, quiet and peaceful time with no interruptions, ability to focus and get into a state of flow - these are so crucial for all of us (including children). I understood the value of these aspects, especially in the last 2 years. Though the needed space was available earlier, I think I didn't give it a lot of thought. As our human tendency, we only value when something is taken away or no longer available to us.

Ever since the pandemic started, I have been yearning for that quiet space and have cribbed about the same multiple times to my soul friend­čÖé The quiet afternoon times when I used to be alone at home while K and D will be in the office and school respectively - the sunlight gently brightening up my living room, almost pin-drop silence with occasional sounds of birds and squirrels, our pet cat W napping peacefully in the balcony, basking in the rays of the sun. Such moments are times of inspiration when I would either focus on a work project, sip a cup of chai, get engrossed in a book, write a blog post or try out a new dish in my kitchen.

In the past 2 years, our WFH routines, Online school, and elderly care responsibilities have made sure that there is hardly ANY space in my 3-BHK apartment to sit and focus.

K, D, and I keep playing the game of musical chair by lugging around our laptops and books to different corners of our home to get work done. I'm sure many of you reading this post would have faced similar space crunch challenges.

As I sit on the sofa in the living room to write this post, the bathroom door and the elder's room door have been opened and closed thrice with such a loud bang in 20 minutes. Every movement might be a necessity and a priority for someone else, no doubt. BUT, wanting a quiet space for yourself for a couple of hours - is this too much of an ask? Isn't this a form of self-care?

Even if we step out of our homes, the current open office environments and co-working spaces, coffee shops with loud music aren't providing the right atmosphere to focus and get meaningful work done.

How I so wish there were small, closed spaces that can be rented at a reasonable price with adequate natural light, fresh air, NO interruptions, and soundproofed walls! Until such options are available, I'll try to make the best use of my terrace or wake up really early to grab a couple of quiet hours.

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