This all began because I just had to see the Integraton before this architectural gem closed for the summer. The geodesic dome turned sound retreat was built in the 1950s by an alien-enthusiast and engineer. Recently I suffered a heartache, and I wanted to do something nice for myself by going on a relaxing trip, and also experience the deep healing of their sound baths.
"When we hygger we are not ignoring difficulty but putting it down for a while. Pain and shadow still exist on the periphery of an experience of hygge. We acknowledge their presence and prepare ourselves to address them by committing ourselves to the pleasures of the present moment, in order to regain momentum and cope with life..."
- "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection"
I took much inspiration for this post from "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection" by Louisa Thomsen Brits. The quotes are all from her.
This summer at TidyFairy we are exploring hygge and everything we can learn from it to make our lives and the lives of our clients more enjoyable, especially when it comes to the home. For the Danes this concept cannot be captured by buying a few candles and cozy blankets. As Heather put it, "That's like buying an American flag bikini and some hot dogs and declaring you know freedom!" With Independence Day coming up, I think she's hit on something ;)
Heather Dee was also the first to remind me that going out to the desert in the summer is not particularly hygge, since hygge is NOT about punishing yourself and seeing what terrible conditions you can survive. The idea of a vision quest and hygge are actually at odds, because hygge is all about the familiar, and vision quests are specifically unfamiliar. But sometimes you can best learn what something is by exploring also what it is not.
I just didn't know how hot it was going to get.
On the way to Joshua Tree the AC in my car burnt out! Much the way that Danes would need to hunker down against a blizzard, we were engulfed in an inferno and needed to seek relief!
We got a great little Air BnB in the form of a tiny house! I was attracted to the small size, simple furnishings, privacy, and cheerful paint job, which put together made for a very cozy place to stay. Luckily it also had a rockin' swamp cooler.
The inside of the bungalow was outfit for simple entertainment only - no television or other electronics to distract us from the peace of the desert. We had paperback books and a guitar and the conversation of one another, which fits nicely into Danish value of personal human interaction. Also candles to light at meals and little lanterns to light our way outside!
"Domestic appliances that call for our attention, or the interruption of electronic notifications that pull us away from the moment or from each other, detract from a hyggelig experience."
The simple wood furnishings and cotton textiles were also very hygge, which values natural materials. On an organizational note, it was wonderful to be in a place that had only the things we needed. Hotels and small Air Bnb's are great studies for cozy minimalism.
"An initial step to creating hygge is to give thought to the textures, sounds, scents, and tastes of our lives, to the quality of materiality that surrounds us."
They had even provided sage to burn and a special relaxation spray for the room! Knowing that our hosts had thought of everything made us feel very cared for.
"We notice and appreciate the things that have been prepared or put aside for our comfort - a well-laid fire, a clean bath towel at the end of a bed, a pillow put on the passenger seat for a long journey."
We also loved the Chofu wood burning hot tub - more on that in a moment!
The drive to the Integraton the next day was dusty, windy, long and hot - all of those things came together to also make it a little terrifying considering we had spotty cell service. When we finally made it to the Integraton, the woman leading the sound bath remarked, "You two look so happy!" And indeed we WERE! Part of hygge is appreciating the contrast between elements, and the difference between car ride and the quiet, cool interior of the Integraton was MUCH appreciated!
"The contrast heightens our awareness, intensifies our pleasure and enhances our experience."
The Little Things
When we got back to the Refuge at the end of a long day, we were so happy to hunker down and hygge. We loved so many things about the tiny house, but one of the coziest was the "cowboy hot tub." The fact of it being an actual animal watering trough, the chemical free water from a simple gardening hose, and the cozy smell of wood smoke all added to its hygge, which values the simple and rustic.
Building the fire ourselves gave us a sense of accomplishment. Even exiting the tub in the cold air in order to stoke the flames added to the hygge, since we were able to better appreciate the contrast between the elements and our coziness in the tub!
"The primal attraction of an open fire or wood-burning stove speaks to our hearts and radiates a warmth that is very different from central heating; it lifts and soothes our spirits."
I also enjoyed the moments when we both did our own things, but in each other's presence! Relaxing with a book and a cup of tea in bed while Heather was on the couch in her little encampment, reading and napping, was companionable and safe feeling! I do not think I would have appreciated this quite as much if we weren't studying hygge.
"There is luxury in being alone in a warm bed, the luxury of a deep bath, or sitting in companionable silence with a friend in the evening sun."
All in all I was very glad we went, and I feel I did learn a lot about hygge despite the very un-hygge conditions! Have you toyed around with how hygge might enrich your life? What are some ways you already hygge but had not realized that's what you are doing? Does the awareness make you want to do it more?
Would you like help making your home ready for some good old fashioned hygge times?Or maybe just some simple decluttering? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR text message 323-736-2594 to chat about it!
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