Right now (as I begin this blog), I am sat in a local cafe at a meditation centre. I’ve not been here before, though I have been trying to get here for the last few months, since it was recommended to me – and today, I made it. So there is no better place to begin this Self Love and Sacred Space blog, than here!
I arrived at midday, enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, took part in the lunch time meditation, I’ve have had some lunch and just about to order a Mocha to accompany me with this blog.
What does this mean? In my podcast discussion with Talking Wellbeing a few months ago on the topic of Self Love, we organically started a conversation on ‘creating a sacred space’ if you missed it click on the link below at 11:25 mins to skip to this part of the podcast. James referred to the purification process that people all over the world, amongst various spiritual, cultural and religious backgrounds go through before entering a sacred space – he asked me what I thought about this in relation to Self Love.
Since the podcast I was intrigued to find out what YOU thought about a ‘sacred space’, I posted a few poll questions on instagram , to ask people if they have a sacred space, what it is like, how they would describe it, do they associate the word sacred with religion, or nature and how does this sacred space help them?
I had various responses! – (Thank you to everyone who responded)
The general consensus was that the purpose of all the sacred spaces, were to engage in ‘quiet’ time, which was ‘private’, in order to find and connect with a sense of ‘peace’. Someone wrote,
“It helps me shake off the days nonsense, breathe and just be me” I love this! I think it is fair to say we all lead lives that can be demanding and challenging in many respects, and Like Buddha said suffering is inevitable (we cannot change that!). The only thing we can change is how we choose to deal with all the stuff that bothers us and weighs us down – and one of these ways is by creating and entering a sacred space.
Start in your home
The person who wrote that comment, shared that her sacred space is in her bedroom, on her bed where she keeps her diary, she lights candles and writes about her day (when she feels down, or even happy for that matter), accompanied with a coffee. The candles and soft coloured bed sheets help her to relax her mind. That is a perfect example of how simple it is to create a sacred space for you!
Someone else said that having a sacred space helps them to realign. Yep, I get that! Entering a sacred space gets you to focus on you which helps to create a better balance -‘realigning’ suggests one is in some way ‘out of balance’. Maybe overtired, burning out, or giving too much to others etc. A sacred space enables you to give to YOU! Recharge and get aligned!
I discovered from my poll answers that there are a lot of nature lovers out there, and it is in nature they connect with their sacred space. Someone shared their sacred space is a 200 year old tree, which is local to her and omits fantastic energy. She often goes and spends time by and with the tree. There are many special sacred sites in nature worth exploring – if you don’t get out much, then why not give it a try and see what you discover.
Are you a tree hugger?
I must say I do love trees and there are some I just can’t walk past without giving them a hug! There is so much going on underneath the surface with trees, how they support each other through their roots, which if you are interested in finding more about then read ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. I have not read it myself (yet), but colleagues at work who have been so touched by it have recommended it (It’s on my audio list!).
I wondered if people associated the word ‘sacred’ to ‘religious’, I somehow assumed that most would (even though I don’t), however to my surprise, 71% said no. Of course for some ‘sacred’ might be associated to religion and rituals but not for all.
Change of scenery
Today, I made a decision to physically retreat from my usual environment, come to a sacred site and participate in a meditation. This allowed not only my surroundings to feel ‘sacred’ but for me to also enter my own internal sacred space. What I mean by ‘feel’ sacred is to be in a place which feels comfortable, peaceful, away from noise and distractions. Now by no means do you need to retreat to a place like this to feel this, as you can create this space wherever you want, starting off with at home, with the example above!
So how would I describe a sacred space?
This is a specific designated space that one creates or associates with, when entering into usually on their own (or it may be with others) to connect with themselves, ‘just to be’, taking time out away from the world, day to day stuff and distractions. This quote by Joseph Campbell sums it up for me;
‘Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.’
Powerful right? What any physical sacred space gives you is the opportunity to connect with the sacred space within you, tune into yourself, notice and feel what is going on inside you. Meditation, reflection, walking in nature, sitting in the garden can all give you this – but the key is to feel comfortable with going within (a lot of people struggle with this, if they are avoiding their true feelings). Self love is being honest with yourself. Entering your sacred space allows you to be honest and feel with your heart.
In a corner in my bedroom, I have a tiny alter, with a few crystals, incense burner and candles, occasionally I add flowers, and at the moment I am looking for a statue of Kuan Yin – Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, as I am immensely drawn to her (so if you have any suggestions please let me know). This sacred space also acts as a visual reminder. When I sit by it, I automatically enter my internal sacred space, as it is what I associate it with and for – just being in that space for only a few minutes strips away daily stresses. It’s like an internal hug!
Your sacred space may be a reading corner, or a favourite undisturbed part of your home, away from others. One lady said that she uses her outhouse in the garden, as her sacred space, though she set it up for work purposes (therapist), she in the end decided to designate the space purely for her relaxation! This is an act of self love and self value. Your sacred space could even be your bath tub and by adding candles, crystals, essential oils, bath salts etc your add more self care!
Just lighting a candle can make all the difference. ‘By lighting a candle, you affirm that you are opening a sacred space.’ (Robert Moss)
Body and mind
Have you ever thought of your body as a sacred space? You live in your body right? How much do you take care of it? Do you put toxic things in there or do you purify it? The same goes for the mind; we spend a lot of time in here! Again, how do you ensure that you keep your mind sacred? What do you fill your mind with?
It is so important to be aware of and consciously work on improving what goes on inside your body and mind – and the more you enter your sacred space, the more you will naturally pay attention to the ‘inside’ – its like shining a torch within.
Sowing the seed
In the podcast Marlon asked if I talk to clients about creating a sacred space and whether I recommend it. I answered by saying that different things resonate with people, what might click with one, does not with another. I talk to people about their holistic health, mind, body, soul and to me having a sacred space is enhancing ones spiritual health. This depends on how ready and open people are to developing this aspect, of course this interlinks with improving mental health which actually impacts on better physical health too. What I do is sow the seed. Offer the idea to people, and leave it with them.
The seeds we plant begin and continue to grow and at some point when we are ready to focus on what is growing, we will start to water it more and support it’s growth. It’s the same with self care and self love. Creating a sacred space is good place to begin, after all only you can make the real changes in your life.
We are six months into the year. If you feel it is important to create and enter a sacred space, then why not start now. Compare the benefits of doing so in December when we approach the end of the year.
-Find or create a space in your home which is clutter free, quiet, undisturbed (at least when you use it)
-Add a candle or something else significant that holds symbolic meaning to you. It could even be a photo or a favourite quote
-Use music. I have not really touched on music in this blog, but different types of music, instruments, sounds etc help to create a sacred space. Find something that ‘connects’ with you.
-Start by setting 10 minutes a day to be in your sacred space
-Remember your sacred space can be in nature or you can access it ‘on the go’ – you can incorporate this into your commute if you travel by public transport, simply by plugging ear phones in and listening to some relaxing music, or meditation and just breathing
Bye for now
I hope you find this blog inspiring and that if you don’t enter your sacred space often, you will now and if you don’t have a sacred space, you may begin to ponder on creating one.
(Just to let you know, that I am having a few technical problems with my comment box below, so if you did want to leave a comment and the comment box does not work for you, then copy your message before trying to send -in case you lose it! Then you can paste it if you want to leave a message on facebook instead!
Thank you 🙂
My next Self Love Workshops in Derby are 30th June and 15th December. The next one in Birmingham is in September, date tbc. Contact me to find out more; 07985220773