The idea of sacred spaces has been on my mind for a while now. It's one of those things that we all make in some small way without naming it, but when we bring it to our awareness explicitly, the power it brings into our life multiplies.
I first began to contemplate the importance of having a sacred space when I began my mindfulness practice back in, oh, 2007, At the time, we had some space that I claimed where I set up an easel by a window overlooking a beautiful maple tree. It was an easy time to have a space of my own. We had an extra room, I had no children, and my job was not one that carried over to evenings or weekends. Expansiveness was my theme for that period of my life and opening myself to life and reflection was easy then.
Fast forward ten years, add kids, two businesses, and another dog. Suddenly our house was full and it was harder and harder to claim a space as my own. I felt as though "my space" had dwindled to my nightstand. So, that's where I started. I began to collect small things that meant something to me.
A small journal I was given as a place to reflect on my yoga practice which I now use to write one thing I'm thankful for before bed; a Buddha worry coin to help me remember presence, compassion, and awareness; small rocks that my son gathered for me over the course of months (one or two at a time) which he calls my 'crystals'; photos of loved ones ; assorted drawings and sweet notes.
For years my main sacred space was our dining table. When it was time for me to reflect, to write, to create, to slow down... I would light a candle, turn off the lights, and sit at the empty table to give pause and open myself to what would come.
And then... then, I read one of those books that just changes you: "Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives" by Wayne Muller. I read and reread and created practices for my family from his beautiful and simple ideas to instill moments of stillness and clarity throughout the week. With the help of my family we created a small family alter where we all placed objects of symbolic importance, and small offerings, where we gather as a family once a week to reflect on the week, give thanks, and set our intentions for the week to come.
More recently, to support a new place of creation that I am moving into, I bought a small wooden desk from a neighbor to use for journalling, writing, and painting. I have fiercely protected it as my own sacred space where no trinkets or clutter may land. Instead I have slowly found items that bring me joy and calm to look at.
The importance of finding a small sacred space to bring calm and joy to your mind cannot be underestimated. When you create a space intentionally with care, love, and an open heart, you allow yourself access to a calm beauty that it can be hard to find throughout a busy day. Just having a spot to pause near -- it might be a shelf on the wall with a few items, or a end table by your favorite chair -- allows the mind to rest there and slow and linger. A nice excuse to come back to the present and slow your pace in the midst of a busy day.