Category Archives: Cozy

Jaws Sleeping Bag

One time, my wusband went on tour, took my really nice sleeping bag, got drunk 10 too many times, and left my sleeping bag somewhere in North America. You’d this he would have replaced it. That would be considerate though.
Anyway…
For years now I have been in need of a sleeping bag to call my own. I think my dad just found me the perfect one.

This sleeping bag is perfect considering my Jaws history.

A Journey Towards Being Debt Free: Part One

Part One: Cleaning out the clutter and creating a cozy lair

Sometimes the art of creating cozy can be quite a labor intensive process. I have moved back in with my parents this past weekend to start a planned journey towards becoming debt free. (That will be the part-two of this post.)

In order to move back in, there was a lot of work that needed to be done in terms of preparing the house for all of my belongings and well, for me. For the past several weekends, I have been working in the basement of my parent’s house that was built in 1908, uncovering, sorting, organizing, clearing, cleaning, reminiscing, giving away, and recycling 30 years of stuff. By no means are my parents hoarders, at least no more than anyone else who has lived in one place for several decades. It’s just that a house requires upkeep and maintenance, and if you don’t put more effort into maintenance that you do into consuming, the “very important stuff that you need” inevitably wins. And so you continue to store camping gear, sleeping bags with broken zippers, past school work and transcripts, old decorations and frames, furniture that was handed down by the older generation, outdated electronics, and the list goes on and on and onandonandon, for years without really thinking about it.

Then you get this.

And all of a sudden, one realizes that it is impossible to go down the basement stairs without tripping on a bag of sailing gear or some other piece of stuff that lives in the stairwell because, well, it’s simply too traumatic and dangerous to take it down any further.

And so the clearing began. The “camping corning” was the hairiest of all the beasts. Beneath the camping gear, were boxes of baby clothes and school work that also needed to be sorted into “yes this is worth keeping” and “I’m not sure how this made it down here” piles. My mom was a trooper and was there every step of the way, recognizing the therapeutic value that all of the magazines and other miscellaneous items had provided in their time, but also being able to purge and move forward through the cobwebs to eliminate the superfluous stuff that had taken over.

The recycling bin was filled to the brim for several weeks. Piles of things under a sign labeled “Free” suddenly disappeared off the lawn, and soon the stuff was all gone.

Sigh of relief.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I moved. I set up a little cozy living space in the “camping corner” and I’m quite pleased. Who knew there was even a window there! It’s not much, but I don’t need much. I have all of my art supplies out and accessible, and a space to relax after work.

I’m on my way to becoming debt free and this is a small sacrifice to get there!

Creating Cozy

I’d like to think that making things “cozy” is one of my very special skills. It’s a little difficult to define, but can at least be broken down to a the creation or collection of colors, textures, lighting, and events that evokes a feeling of serenity, calmness, and internal warmth.

Similar to the studies of Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (MEE-hy CHEEK-sent-mə-HY-ee) one of the world’s leading researchers on positive psychology and the effects of happiness and creativity–and the attainment of these–on the individual. In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi,1990). The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.

Creating Cozy will therefore be my own theory similar to Finding Flow.

As an art therapist, I have been specifically trained to understand additional information in regards to how a person’s mind can be effected by the visual language. How color can connect to emotions. How we not only process through words and actions, but through the senses. Most certainly it can be agreed upon that looking at “beautiful things” makes us feel good. Similarly, I should like to suggest that being in a state of “coziness” can support self-soothing strategies we attempt to implement to decrease the anxieties and stress of daily living.

I have had many requests from people through the years–two today alone–to help them organize their homes/lives and make things cozy. This may seem silly to some, but not to those requesting the support! I hope to document some examples of this process along the way, and may even turn this endeavor into a small business of sorts.

Time to get our cozy on!

Reference

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row. ISBN 0-06-092043-2