When I was little, I loved crawling into small spaces. Under beds, under tables, behind sofas. I was a shy, quiet, watchful child. An only child who was often responsible for entertaining myself and keeping out of the way.
Hiding spots gave me the chance to easily appear when called but to otherwise have a secret world unto myself.
My grandparent’s mid-century rambler offered lots of inspired hiding spots. My favorite was a bump-out inside the living room closet (it was over the basement stairs). By scooting aside the phone books and typewriter my grandma stored there, and slipping behind the winter coats, I could perch there and listen to the goings-on of, not only the living room, but also the dining room and kitchen.
It was warm and dark and I felt completely at peace surrounded by wool and the faint scent of cedar and mothballs. I was within ear-shot of holiday gatherings but not actually bothered by anyone.
Somewhere along the road to adulthood, I developed a bit of claustrophobia. The thought of climbing into closets makes me a bit anxious.
I also learned that it’s usually not socially acceptable to hide in the midst of family holiday gatherings. Even though they make me more than a bit anxious.
These days, I head to my peaceful place by closing my eyes. 30 minutes every morning on the meditation cushion is as important as brushing my teeth and taking my vitamin.
When I want to, I can even conjure up that closet. Behind my closed eyes, I return to that safe, quiet place where I’m completely at peace and out of sight; enveloped in the protection of my grandparents’ winter coats.