Sacred Space

Space is a beautiful thing. Space is where the magic and the meaning happen. Without space, there would be no open field, no place to run and sing, no branch to climb and fit between. When we focus on the space in our lives, instead of the stuff and the to-dos, we not only make room to breathe, we also make room to receive – and to expect the unexpected.

Running my life without any consideration for creating sacred space was like constantly banging up against a brick wall. If I wanted to run (as I often did) I had nowhere to go except back up against the wall. Movement was impossible. Growth and expansion were nonexistent. My daily thoughts and tasks were like a cupboard full of tightly stacked plates – when I pulled one out, the entire pile came crashing down. There was no room for adjustment, and definitely no room for error.

Last Friday I attended a writing retreat near Madison, WI. By the time I arrived at the gravel driveway, the rain fell steadily and steam rose up from the green hills leading to the log cabin. I heard voices inside a small gazebo near the garden – people taking cover. I entered the home and noticed several people writing or reading, each engaged in their private task, within their own space. After getting the tour and looking around more, I realized there were “writing spaces” everywhere – some were actual desks with chairs, tucked in a corner with a lamp or nestled next to a bed in a room. But other spaces for writing were less obvious – a small table pulled up next to a comfortable chair, with a couple books and a place to set a cup of coffee. A meditation space beckoned, designated with a mat on the floor and a round cushion on top. A comfortable bed in the open loft invited one to rest or take a nap. These spaces encouraged reflection and thought, rather than work or even an end result. The writing that happened came as a result of participating within the space, in addition to the act of writing itself.

What if we mothered our children the same way?

Is there space in your home to be a mom? We create beautiful, photo-worthy spaces for baby. Nurseries with hand stenciled wallpaper, matching color palettes and carefully stacked shelves for toys. Then there is the running joke within the mom world about how we can only find peace by hiding in the bathroom – and sometimes, not even then. Where are we creating space in order to honor space? Where can we go to breathe and just be? Is it a candle we light when we get out of the shower? Is it a blanket and journal draped across a favorite chair? Adding ritual within a space helps to make it more sacred.

Failing to create space in our homes, in our daily routines, and in our own bodies, leaves us no room to reflect or handle change. We breathe space into our lungs so they can expand and then exhale the same air – the pause of the inhale facilitates the exhale’s release. When we hold space inside emotionally, we allow ourselves to recognize pain, sadness, joy, and intuition. If we try to get away from those feelings, by filling the space with work or shopping or another addiction, that’s when we hit the brick wall. Adding activities and stacking more plates won’t facilitate any exhaling release.

Be mindful of how you spend your time. A never-ending to-do list keeps us trapped in a cycle of “getting things done” – but what meaning do these tasks actually add to our lives? And if we eliminated some of them, what new and amazing tasks would we be opening ourselves up to? What if you had less laundry, less dishes, less toys? How would your life change if you added space instead of stuff?


Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire