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March 5, 2015

Make a sacred place

“Your sacred place is where you find yourself

again and again” – Joseph Campbell

Many of my blog posts have focused on spending time in prayer, meditation, deep thought, or reading affirmations, intentions and goals. Just as a lawyer sits at a desk to create an argument and an artist sits at an easel to create beauty, you must find a place in which you are comfortable and able to focus on the task at hand, which is reaching the highest version of yourself. As Joseph Campbell, one of the greatest mythologists of all times, states, you must find a place to which you find yourself returning “again and again.”

A sacred space for me, since moving into my grandparents’ former home, is a wide chair in our living room. I inherited this chair from my grandmother, making it all the more special. I can remember snuggling up close to my grandmother in this chair as a young girl, and later relaxing in it as I told Ma about the “burdens of life” as a teen. In short, this chair holds memories within its fabric.

I have a table that sits just next to my chair, and this is where I house my TTTL (Treasures to a Terrific Life) journal, a bible, whatever book I am currently reading, a very special candle my parents brought from the Holy Land, a statue of Mary which I inherited from my grandfather, a St. Teresa plaque, and a rosary; yes, it’s a pretty full table. Together, this comfortable and memory-filled chair alongside a practical table topped with my tools for self-betterment, these two pieces of furniture have become my “sacred space.”

Though all of the items placed on this table are of great importance, perhaps the most valuable is the rosary from my mother. After my grandmother’s passing, I watched, and sadly participated in, the fight for “memorable” items. It has been a fear of mine that my siblings, eight in all, will go through the same terrible process following the death of my parents. This fear gave birth to an idea: my mom has always, ever since I can remember, gone to church each and every morning to say the rosary; what better way to stay connected to her than through a rosary that she has used in prayer. I asked my mom if she would switch rosaries every six months, setting the one she had used aside to give to one of us. Over the course of the following five years, I explained, she would have enough rosaries to bequeath to each of her children and her husband. She agreed, and she gave me the second rosary, giving the first to my father, her husband of 50 years.

Not only does each rosary hold the standard beads found on all rosaries, but she also adds special religious medals, and, more importantly, her daily prayers that always include each of her children. It is my hope that when God calls my mother to join Him, my siblings and I won’t fight over the China that was used or a painting that hung in their room, but that we will all hold our rosaries, knowing there is no better way in which to remember our mother. This rosary that I have placed on my table holds so much powerful energy; my mother used it each day for six months to pray in thanksgiving to Mary and in hope for a better day and future. If my house were to catch fire, I am certain this would be the first thing I would grab as I rushed out the door.

So, this space, which may go unnoticed to visitors, has become the place in which I begin my day. Before anyone gets up, I sit in this space to say my prayer, read my journal, and spend ten minutes in silent meditation. It centers me for the rest of the day. I have noticed the truth about how quickly a habit forms; if I choose sleep over my sacred space on a Saturday and Sunday morning, I notice that on Monday I am desperate to get back in my blue chair; it’s as if I have lost my center by not returning to it each day.

This space that has evolved into my sacred space is not limited to my quite mornings. I often return to this place “again and again” throughout my day if I am feeling stress or anxiety. Because I sit in this chair each morning to establish peace and positivity, when I return to it throughout the day it fills me with those much needed, somewhat depleted, emotions – it allows me to re-center myself and, as a result, calm myself.

 Actionable suggestion:

Create a space in your home to which you can and will return daily; a place that provides both physical and emotional comfort – this will be your sacred space. Research shows that our bodies and minds adjust to certain spaces and take on feelings about that place. A bed is for sleeping, a dinner table for eating, and a desk for working. Often if people mix these up – watch TV in their bed or work at their dinner table – it muddies the water, in a way, diminishing the purpose and effectiveness of that spot. If we keep these spaces for their designated purpose, our mind automatically goes to that mentality when we sit down. Similarly, your spirit will recognize your sacred space as a place in which you can be still and retreat inside yourself to recharge your battery. Though it may take a few weeks, after it becomes a habit to return “again and again,” you will find that it is a space in which you can find retreat and where you can come to re-center yourself.