a breathing room

Every family should have a peaceful space or breathing room, where any member can take refuge. It is important to have a place to recuperate, to restore one’s peace and stability, in silence.

A breathing room does not need to be large, just enough room to sit comfortably and breathe. We have rooms for eating, for TV, for guests, for everything except peace.

The breathing room needs to be a place where everyone can find immunity, and feel protected and safe. When someone takes refuge in this room, everyone else should respect their need for peace and quiet.

The room might have flowers, a few cushions, and a small bell.

You can make the breathing room a part of your daily life, not just a place of refuge during an emotional storm. Each morning, before leaving home, you and your child can share a few minutes of mindful breathing there; walk quietly into the room together, sound the bell 3 times, and come back to yourselves.

In the evening, before going to sleep, you and your child can visit the breathing room together, sound the bell, breathe mindfully, and smile. Before you retire to bed, re-visit the breathing room on your own, to complete the day with peace. This practice will help the next day to begin peacefully too.

If your child is angry or upset, you can suggest going to the breathing room together to find some peace. You can join hands and walk slowly and mindfully to the breathing room together, as co-practitioners of peace. Mindfully open the door and enter the breathing room together, then sit together, ring the bell, listen, and breathe mindfully. A few minutes of mindful breathing can take the fire out of emotions.

The breathing room can be a tool for consciously and outwardly transforming anger and frustration into peace and increased spaciousness and ease.

Thich Nhat Hanh ‘Creating True Peace'(2003) p144-146


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