I have said it before and I will say it again: books seek you out. I rather suspect, in fact, that there is a library where all the books in the world reside just waiting for their calling- for the one moment in time when the librarian calls out a title and directs that one book to a certain person fighting a certain fight... to the one person for whom that book will provide new direction, new light, an explanation, a smidgen of hope or even just a single precious step on the path towards tomorrow. Last night as I muddled between staring at the walls and pushing lettuce around a plate, the Universe's librarian popped a book into my Kindle, and before I knew it I was lost in the kind of literary bliss that ticks all the boxes on my list of the properties and themes a book must possess in order to make it on to my shortlist of treasures that will reside in my heart and mind for always.
Le Chic Cocoon by Jennifer Duchene was that book, providing as it does a convincing argument for embracing selfishness by carving out a space of your own, and supporting that same argument with gentle discussion about the kind of extreme self care I have long been advocating, balancing our roles as caregivers and women in our own right, and shaking off the chains of responsibility long enough to identify the very personal myths that are holding us back and in the long term preventing us emerging from the kind of life enhancing cocoons we really should permit ourselves, as the beautiful butterflies we intuitively know we have the power to be. Yes. All that and a sprinkling of Virginia Woolf in every chapter. Is it any wonder I couldn't sleep until I had finished it?
Because here's the thing: whether disaster has come a knocking on your door or not, ultimately home is our safety net. It is both refuge and sanctuary. And more than that, I have long considered it to be the perfect springboard to success when it is lined with affirmation of who we are and who it is we want to be. I know all this. You know all this. If I have taught you nothing else on BrocanteHome it is that our four walls exist to support us, whatever our emotion or ambition.
But for me at least there has always been a missing something. Yes I could both claim and create my personal space, decorate it, line it with memories and violet cremes and scatter upon it's polished surfaces for a while, love and hope and books. And then life would get in the way: my very own little Chic Cocoon would grow dusty and stuff and nonsense would accumulate to such a degree that all that was precious to me and to me alone would be forever lost under to-do lists and hugs for other people. Under the strain of domestic calamity and the rigours of mere existense, my very own cocoon would disappear from my own exhausted view and I would continue as always to put everything and everyone else above my own desperate (but still dis-regarded) clamour for a room of my own because to me, as to many other women, the notion that universe was granting me permission to live my best life, to turn a deaf ear to other peoples expectations of me, and to be selfish barely made it on to my flower sprinkled radar and I was more likely to collapse in a heap than to seek sanctuary in a space I had once so lovingly carved out for my soul.
So it was just when I needed her most Jennifer Duchene burrowed her way into a place on my virtual bookshelf, telling me that now was the time to let go of expectations, of other peoples demands, and make my very own Chic Cocoon, this womans retreat, an absolute priority in my life...
" Our strength comes from within. We cannot find it outside ourselves. We must bar the door and lock it, and while away sunny hours behind closed doors in a room of our own so that we can garner the strength that comes from introspection and selfish activity. When we know who we are we will not care what other people think. We will make choices based on our own rules and needs..."
And so my Darlings, this is where I am at today. Reclaiming my bedroom as my Chic Cocoon and lining its creamy walls with all that I need to sustain me though the next few months: creating a space where I have permission to meditate and write and dream and sleep on my troubles. A quiet place where I have permission to just be. To re-define my priorities, cast off my doubts, own my tomorrows and listen to a heart softly banging it's drum to the complictated question of what is the nature of love.
Won't you create a Chic Cocoon all of your own too? The time to be selfish is now.