Creating a sacred space can help you build calm into your daily life. We are material beings, and our physical surroundings have a big impact on how we feel and behave.
Certain places instantly make me feel happy or anxious. When I used to work in a very stressful job I would feel my pulse racing with worry as soon as I arrived outside my workplace. Conversely, my lovely beach hut at Walton on the Naze is my happy place. When I set foot on the sand outside my hut my shoulders relax and I start to smile. Every single time.
Creatures of Habit
We are creatures of habit and association. We tend to associate different familiar places with certain feelings and emotional states. This can be useful in developing a daily meditation or yoga practice. We all benefit from happy places where we can let go of tension and recuperate from daily life. Creating your own sacred space can help you find calm and connection on a regular basis.
Sacred means Special
The word sacred means set apart for a special purpose[i]. It is often associated with religious worship when we think of things or people being set apart for holy purposes. A sacred space can simply be a space which is special for you. It is a place where you feel safe and where you can care for yourself. You are special, and you deserve special space and time just for you.
Finding Sacred Space with Others
Sometimes we find sacred space at a Yoga class, a meditation group or religious worship service. Sharing a special time and activity with others can be life affirming. We can find deep calm when spending time with a close friend or lover. Intimacy is a sacred space.
Sacred Space and Healing
Sacred spaces have been recognised as healing environments from ancient times. In the 5th century BC the Greeks constructed a healing city called Epidaurus. Green space and a temperate climate, flowing spring waters and healing baths and rituals all helped to cure wounded soldiers in a place of holistic tranquility. Japanese tea rituals conducted within beautiful gardens were used to support traumatised Samurai warriors and heal a broken society during the brutal civil wars of the 12th to 14th centuries[ii]. In modern times studies have demonstrated that hospital patients who can see trees and green spaces from their beds recover more quickly and need fewer painkillers[iii].
Sacred Spaces at Home
Many of us seek out holidays and retreats in unspoilt natural environments to recover and heal from the battering of our busy world. This is important, but we also need daily sacred space. You can build calm into your everyday life by creating a sacred space at home for your regular meditation, rest and relaxation. I have a special spot in my garden, unseen from the house, where I like to sit to contemplate, journal and pray. For cooler days, I also have a sacred space in a corner of an upstairs room. I encourage you to do something similar.
Finding Your Sacred Space
If you don’t already have a regular space for rest and meditation in your home, why not set one up? You don’t need a lot of room. The most important thing is to try to find somewhere quiet where you can be undisturbed, at least sometimes. This might be a corner of a bedroom, a balcony, the garden shed or even the bathroom. Look for somewhere you associate with feeling calm and restful. Ideally it is good to have enough space for a comfortable chair, a shelf or small table, or maybe even a Yoga mat. But all our homes are different, so we must be creative with what we have.
You may also have happy places outside the home. Perhaps you have a favourite walk by a river or in a park. Your local place of worship or yoga studio may be special for you. But it is good to have a calming space in your home because this is always accessible.
Home as a Workplace
For many of us home can feel like a workplace. This can be because of caring and housework responsibilities, or because we now work from home. I often find it difficult to relax at home when I know I have cleaning and shopping to do. This is a challenge, but I can usually manage to rest my busy mind when I sit in the garden or my upstairs meditation space. This is because I have learned to associate these places with calm.
What to Put in Your Sacred Space
What to put in your sacred space is a very personal choice. If you can it is helpful to keep here whatever you need for your daily calm practices. This might be a journal and pen, a meditation cushion, a yoga mat, a candle. Maybe you have books or cards you like to read for inspiration. You might like to have your prayer beads handy. If you enjoy incense or aromatherapy oils you can have your burner or diffuser nearby.
Then you may wish to add some objects which are meaningful for you or which have calming sensory appeal. These could include flowers, stones, crystals, spiritual or religious figures or symbols, photographs or paintings …. You can enjoy being creative, and you can change things round from time to time too. During Lent and periods of cleansing I sometimes add a small bowl of sand to remind me of the value of desert experiences. On other occasions I might burn white sage or palo santo sticks for healing. This is my special space, so I can choose what feels important for me.
I like to be comfortable when I am meditating and resting. I have several cushions at hand, as well as a couple of lovely soft blankets. Going to your sacred space should feel like a lovely treat. Then you will be more likely to spend time here, caring for yourself.
What to Do in Your Sacred Space
Your sacred space is just for you, so you can do what you like here. It is helpful to have a daily routine for calm, rest and self-nurture. Simply sitting is incredibly powerful. You can choose to listen to music, meditate, practice yoga, write a journal, pray or sleep. Enjoy being here.
Today’s Calming Practice – Making a Sacred Space
If you don’t already have one, start to think today about making a sacred space in your home. Think about where would be a good place, and what you would like to have here. This is a beautiful gift you are giving to yourself.
If you already have a sacred space at home, spend some time here today. Maybe you would like to change or add something. Relax and allow inspiration to come to you.
Thanks for reading this blog post. I am writing a series of 31 blogs every day this August. I plan to publish them later in the year as a book entitled, ‘Finding Your Calm Space – 31 Ways to Find Calm in a Crazy World’.
I’m Karen. I am a Yoga teacher, Reflexologist and busy mum of seven. I live with my family in Billericay, Essex, UK. In the past I have worked as a Midwife, Health Visitor, Baby Signing teacher and Tax Inspector. I love getting outdoors, swimming in the sea, walking and writing. Helping people relax is one of the things I do best.
You can learn more about my Yoga classes and Reflexology at my website www.thecalmspace.co.uk
Here is a useful article about designing a meditation space