Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creating Sacred Spaces In Unlikely Places

My old chair with all my stuff at arm's reach. 
I have been space-obsessed as of late. It's not the lack of space, but really creating an environment that is conducive to studying, creating, and simply lounging. I found myself moving from room to room, looking for a location to basically be mine. I thought that I created my space when I set up my sewing studio, but after a year of having it, I was still yearning for a quiet corner of my own.

The other side of my room with desk.
I have temporary use of the spare guest room that's been converted to my office. At some point, I'm going to give this to my husband. It's a smallish room, with lovely natural light in every corner. Guests have slept well here, even on an inflatable mattress. It's tucked away at the back of the house, and shares an entry with my laundry room. I've kept half the room empty so we could allow for a guest bed.

But this past Monday, I asked my son to drag down this giant sofa chair that I've had wasting away in the bedroom into my office. It fits perfectly with its matching ottoman against the other window in the room.

I've created a new sitting corner that's within arm's reach of my study materials, craft books, and even my knitting. I drink tea here, meditate, take cat naps, and even watch Netflix, and it's only been a couple of days!

What I see outside my two office windows.
It's just a chair you say...but to me it's really something more. It's been my sacred space all along, but just didn't see it.  One beloved chair; one empty corner; the perfect ingredients for solitude.  What is surprising is how unexpected this was for me. I felt like I had a small self-discovery journey inside my home.

Looking back now...I don't think I arrived at my sacred space overnight. I've been walking around my back yard the last few weeks and rekindled some old love there. I rediscovered many places that could also serve as sacred spaces.

As I moved through my backyard, I kept thinking, wouldn't this be a wonderful place for a bench? I could create some cushions for it, and even decorate a small table here. I began to see areas that I mostly thought were unusable, beautiful again. Here are just some examples:

Then I took this idea further, and began noticing spaces beyond my home. I live across from a small park, and beyond that, another neighborhood that I didn't pay much attention to but decided to explore. Here is a sacred space that someone created in front of their home for strangers to rest. We don't have sidewalks here, so this area was literally the very front of their yard.  I thought it was a mindful and generous gift. I was grateful to have found it.

Our heart and spirit speaks to us in subtle ways, at least mine did. I think I'm trying to convey a bigger message...that sacred spaces can be found anywhere. Many years ago, I read a book recommended by a friend called Creating Sacred Space by Karen Kingston. There's only been a handful of books that have changed my life, and this was one of them. It taught me to purge my belongings and learn to let go of more than just old clothes and shoes. Kingston's message was about clearing out old emotions disguised as our clutter, so we can clear ourselves of its burdens.  Its undercurrent modeled after the Tao. It would be many years later when I would read and study The Tao De Ching, only to hear the message again...have nothing, have everything...empty so we have space to fill. 

Thinking about Kingston's book reminds me that it's about time to start clearing out things I don't use or cannot recycle, and giving it away to others who can. Where's your sacred space? I know many people around the world have them. Once the kids move out, I'll have opportunities to create more (smile). Happy space hunting!

PS: Karen Kingston has her own blog if you're interested in learning more about her HERE. Her book is also available on Amazon.

My latest favorite tea time snack: organic chocolate hazelnut spread with milk tea. 
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