Last year (2018) was a year of massive change and transformation for Davy and I.
We sold our home.
We pivoted our business in an entirely new direction.
We were preparing to go nomadic with our 5-year old.
It was a whirlwind of pushing against (and being pulled outside of) our comfort zone. Sometimes, the pressure and stress became too much.
Last year was also a year where we embraced a kind of spirituality – blending mindfulness and connection with the natural world to restore calm and focus in an often turbulent period of time.
Our anchor was the sacred space(s) that we created in our home.
What Is A Sacred Space?
A sacred space is simply an area in your home that facilitates mindfulness, meditation, and unwinding. This area can also be located on a patio or in a garden.
Those who follow a religious or spiritual path may include an altar in this space, where they display statues, symbols, or other spiritual tools that they use in their practice.
However, sacred spaces do not need to be religious or spiritual in nature. You absolutely can create a “secular” sacred space that displays some items that are meaningful to you and your life. These items could be pictures of loved ones, a motivational book that you love, sentimental keepsakes.
A sacred space or altar should cast an air of reverence, calm, and focus.
The Benefits Of Having A Sacred Space Or Altar
The sacred space or altar that we set up in our home serves one important purpose, and that is to act as a focal point to stop, center ourselves, and refresh.
Our space promotes calm.
It brings us together as a family (and as a couple) without the distraction of TV, or phones, or bills, or to-do lists.
It serves as a visual reminder to take time each day for self-care.
It engages our senses (through sound, scent, sight) in a way that sitting on a couch in a living room (even with the TV turned off) cannot do.
For Davy and I, our sacred space keeps us connected to the natural cycles of nature. It’s beautiful to us, and we enjoy creating and changing it as much as we enjoy it as a focus for our mindfulness practice.
During the most stressful times during the sale of our house, contracts falling through (twice!), and taking some big risks in growing our business, our sacred space became a place where we could replenish ourselves.
Where To Set Up A Sacred Space
First, choose a place in your home that is out of the path of traffic. This area should be a retreat.
You can reserve a corner of your bedroom, your home office, or even a finished basement. In a pinch, you can carve out a nook in a large closet.
If you have the space, an entire spare room could be a sacred space where you also practice yoga or exercise.
A sacred space (or multiple spaces) can be incorporated throughout your home as well. We had one set up in a bay window off our dining room, as well as in a corner of our large family room.
A corner of the backyard, in a garden, or on a patio or deck is an excellent place, too.
A sacred space can also be mobile. A few, meaningful items can be carried in a purse and placed on the dashboard of a car for 10 minutes during a lunch break.
As we are currently traveling long-term, our altar is mobile, and we set it up wherever we can, depending on where we are staying.
What To Place In Your Sacred Space
What you use to set up your sacred space or altar is entirely up to you.
Religious or spiritual symbols and tools are typical.
Davy and I incorporated candles, stones and crystals, driftwood, and other finds from the outdoors. We also incorporated artwork that we did as a family – including a chalice that our son made out of clay.
Our altar changed with the seasons, too. We displayed colorful fall leaves and acorns in the fall, while also swapping out our candles for fall colors.
During the Halloween/Samhain season, we placed photos of our departed loved ones on our altar.
In the winter, pine cones and evergreen sprigs replaced the leaves and acorns, as did seasonally colored (and scented) candles.
We like to incorporate elements of nature that celebrate the cycles of the seasons in our sacred space.
Your Sacred Space As A Focal Point For Mindfulness & Self-Care Rituals
In our home, our sacred space became entrenched in a daily ritual where we reconnected as a family, and as a couple.
The altar we set up on the bay window in our dining room was incorporated into our dinnertime routine. As the days drew darker after the fall equinox, Davy lit candles before dinner. Our son got a kick out of blowing them out after dinner, coming up with whimsical wishes each night for pet dragons or visits from favorite superheroes.
At the end of the day, after our son went to bed, Davy and I retreated to our sacred space in the downstairs family room. We lit candles and sipped coffee or tea. We each shared five things that we were grateful for that day. We did a short, guided meditation, or incorporated crystals, tarot or oracle cards into our ritual.
Davy and I used this time to be mindful, reflect on our day, and reconnect with each other – not as parents or business partners, but as a couple.
We would also sit at our sacred space in the morning when we do our morning routine of stretching, meditation, writing in our journal, and reading from a motivational book.
Whether you use your altar for 5 minutes per day, or one hour per day, I promise that carving out a space – just for you – to be quiet, still, and reconnect to yourself and nature, will change your life.