Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sacred Space and Solitude

Sacred space. Solitude. We all need it.

I recently visited a home where a large family resided. There was plenty of space for everyone, as the home had more bedrooms than it had people. However, the energy was heavy, moving, dense.

Everyone was bent on occupying the same exact space, even the children. Rather than play or spend time in the vast expanses that were thier bedrooms, the den, or the family room, this family all seemed bent on cramming into the dining room and kitchen, much to the detriment of harmony. Children raced through the kitchen, played loudly in a corner, opened and shut the refrigerator, brought family pets to the dining table and handed them to unsuspecting adults. The adults paced, sat. or hovered in the same general area watching television or trying to converse with other adults. Teenagers sat at the kitchen table, playing with technology that would have been much easier to enjoy in a quiet space.
It was disconcerting. So many rooms, and yet everyone was seemingly bent on occupying the same one.

Enjoying sacred space we created on our patio.
I've never been one who saw the need for space that was not going to be used. If a family is only going to use one primary room of the house, then live in a one-room flat and save the 5 bedroom homes for those who actually need, and will use, the space. Space is sacred, or rather, it should be. Our personal, private spaces are where we go to replenish and nourish ourselves. Sacred space is where we go when we need to sit in solitude, to simply be without moving, talking, or doing.

Though you can share sacred space in a home environment, it's important for each family member to have thier own. It's important to enjoy solitude in that space, to be at peace with it. To look forward to it. For most of us, this space is our room and enjoying it begins in childhood. But often, the appreciation of sacred space is not realized until we become adults, and for many people, like the family I visited, it's never realized at all. There are many reasons why people avoid solitude, but the most common one is this: it can be frightening if one has never experienced it in a healthy setting. An adult who had self-involved parents and felt abandoned as a child will often avoid solitude like the plague, but even children with loving, attentive parents are not often taught that time alone in sacred space is a viable, valuable tool for happiness. Instead, we can fall into the trap of feeling that we need other people's presence near continually, spending every waking moment communicating either in person or through the use of technology.

The good news is, if you've never enjoyed solitude in a sacred space, it's not too late to start. Create your own sacred spaces throughout your home, even in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and den. Sacred space does not need to be an entire room, it can simply be a corner of a room, or a mini-altar of sorts set up on a coffee table or even a bookshelf. Sacred space can look many ways. Begin with clearing away clutter, including objects that you don't actually use in that space. Add only items that you resonate with and that are deeply important to you. Live flowers, natural stones, an object that is precious to you, a photo you connect with...sacred space thrives on minimalism, so a less-is-more approach is a good place to start. But every space in your home can be made a little more sacred with the right touches.

Fresh flowers, a special piece of art, and a
basket from our beloved lowcountry
create a little sacredness at our
busy kitchen table!
So, with the energy of a full July moon approaching, ask yourself how you can generate a little sacred space in your home today where you can enjoy not the hustle and bustle of family life, wonderful in it's own right, but a little quiet, reflective time. If you have children, talk to them about the importance of sacred space and only keeping in our possession the things we actually use, need, and/or enjoy. There is a flow of abundance in passing on what is no longer essential; it opens us up to receiving new blessings. Try to create a little sacred space, or mini altar, in each room of your home by clearing out unnecessary items. You can study Feng Shui or research creating sacred space online, or simply go with your own intuition and instinct as to what looks and feels right, and why. 

Then sit, alone, for at least 10 minutes a day, and occupy the space. Enjoy it. Breathe in it. Be in it. If you have children or share your home with family members, this may be difficult, but it is not impossible. Teach your family to respect your need for this time, and encourage them to do the same for themselves. Be patient if this is a new concept for your spouse/children/family. In time, with dedicated practice, it will become part of your daily routine, and the peace it can bring to you and yours to enjoy solitude in sacred space will be worth it.

Sunflowers in patio pots reminds me of Finland...
it doesn't matter why, but it makes my space feel more sacred
in summer. What do you do for yourself in your home
that nourishes your soul?
 Bright July blessings! For more information on creating sacred spaces, email me at