Back in October, I posted what has now become one of the most popular posts on FabYOUlous Life. That post was called The Joys of Masturdating and was all about the benefits found in spending time alone (you can read that post here). When I wrote that post, I immediately wrote another one that I meant to use as a follow up. However; other things surfaced and different posts took precedence. Now however; as I look back through my old drafts, I realize that the information from that original follow-up post is good and worth sharing.
The funny thing is–my living situation has completely changed since October. Back when this post was originally written, I had two young adult sons living in my house which meant that space in our home was at a premium. That all changed in February when my boys found a townhouse across town that they now share with a few of their friends. I’ve decided to leave my post the way that it was originally written however; because the entire premise of the post is about the importance of finding a sacred space of one’s own–even when space is limited. Yes–I now have two extra bedrooms which means that my office and guest bedroom no longer have to share the same room, but even if extra space is not currently a possibility for you, you can still create a special place that is all your own and doing so can make such an incredible difference in your life.
Here’s my original post…
We all need a place that we can call our own—a place where we can escape from the cares and stresses of the day and let our souls unwind and find delight. A sacred sanctuary of your own doesn’t have to cost a lot of money nor does it require a multitude of material possessions; all it takes is a bit of creativity, imagination and inspiration to create a space that resonates with your deepest values, reminds you of your hopes and dreams and inspires you to reach for them. With a little intentionality, your chosen place truly can become, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “a sacred space where you can find yourself again and again.”
Ideally, your entire home would be this place, but I’ll confess, for me that just isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong—I love the feeling of coming home at the end of a long work day or after a tiring business trip; and it thrills my heart to know that my home offers a place of refuge to my family and is filled with love and laughter on most days. However; my personal, sacred space isn’t my home, it’s the upstairs guest bedroom in my home. You see, as much I love my home, I share it with three other people…all of whom happen to be large males. My husband and college aged sons are the absolute loves of my life but they prefer Xboxes and weight sets to throw pillows and succulent centerpieces. In short, there is a serious overdose of testosterone at my house. We even have (I’m dead serious here) a Nerf basketball hoop duct taped to the wall in our family room.
So, because my home more closely resembles a frat house than a serene retreat; I have taken it upon myself to commandeer our upstairs guest bedroom and make it my own. Yes—there is still a bed for when we have overnight visitors, but there is also my computer desk, bookshelves, and storage containers for my knitting yarn. My bookshelves are filled with books that I love and that bless my spirit. My desk has on it, seashells from a family trip to Florida’s Sanibel Island, a decoupage art piece made by my sweet-sister-in law and an empty Coke can that says “Superstar” on the side that my hubby gave to me after I was honored as one of twelve “Colorado Women of Vision”. The walls of the room are covered with framed photos from a family trip to Hawaii, my vision board and a cute (but cheesy) poster that my youngest son bought for me (at a thrift store). These things hold absolutely no intrinsic value for anyone else on the planet and yet to me, they are priceless.
In addition to the objects that mean so much to me, I also have an aromatherapy diffuser in my sanctuary room so that I can fill the air with uplifting scents and a little space heater so that I never have to feel chilly despite the fact that my men like to keep the thermostat in our house set ridiculously low. There is nothing particularly beautiful or special about my sanctuary room and yet whenever I step foot into it, I immediately feel more centered, grounded and alive. It is where I do most of my writing, blogging, reading and dreaming. It is where I am surrounded by reminders of good times with the people that I love most in this world and it is a place where I can just sink in, relax and refocus on everything that is truly important in my life.
I feel very fortunate to have an entire room that I can call my own (unless we have overnight guests, in which case the room reverts back to being the guest room) but I realize that not everyone has that luxury. Remember though—your space doesn’t have to be large, it just has to be yours. A favorite chair in the corner of a quiet room can work just as well.
Since this is your personal space, you are the one who gets to decide where it is and what it contains. There is however; one suggestion that I think is very important and that is to find a place where you are able to be alone. Even if you can’t really find a place that is separate from your general living areas, try to find a quiet corner that won’t constantly have people traipsing through your space while you are in it. Beyond this, there are no hard and fast rules as to what your space should look like—the important consideration is what the space feels like when you are in it.
Also, because this is your space; you get to decide how to make it special. Here are a few suggestions that you might want to incorporate in order to create a space that supports love, warmth, security, peace, joy and mindfulness…
Simple Strategies for Creating an In-Home Sanctuary
- If your space is a part of a larger living area that is commonly used by others; you might want to invest in a pretty, decorative screen that you can put in place when you are in your sacred space. Explain to your family or roommates that you are not trying to keep them out, but that you are instead, trying to create a distraction-free zone where you can focus on your goals and emotional well-being and that in order to do this effectively, you need to be able to enjoy some solitude.
- Make sure that your space is well lit (preferably with natural light from a window) so that you won’t have to squint while reading, journaling, knitting…whatever it is that you plan to do in your space. If possible, select a space that has natural sunlight from a window with a nice outdoor view.
- Only allow items into your space that hold a sacred value to you. Don’t allow your space to become cluttered with too many knick-knacks. I love the sea shells on my desk because they remind me of good times spent with my family and of the future dreams that I have of owning a beautiful home on the beach. Maybe you love music and therefore want a guitar in your space or an artist’s pad to encourage your creativity. Whatever has special meaning to you, make a place for it in your sanctuary.
- Create a sense of coziness and comfort. My personal space has a fluffy comforter that I can wrap up in if I’m cold (or if I’m just needing to feel cozy since I also have my space heater) and some soft, comfy pillows. I have a friend who keeps a pair of fluffy slippers under the chair in her space so that she can slip them on when she enters into her sanctuary. If you like candles, they can add a cozy ambience and comforting fragrance to your area as well (just be sure that you always extinguish them before leaving). Whatever makes you feel comfortable and supported should be included in your sacred space.
- Decide upon a soundtrack for your sanctuary. I love music but I have found that when I am in my sanctuary, some music is too distracting for me. Since I do a lot of writing, reading and meditating while I am in my sanctuary, I prefer to listen to soothing music that has no distracting lyrics so that I am not tempted to sing along. I have some wonderful Native American flute music as well as some hauntingly beautiful instrumental music that I play (via my iPhone) while I am in my space. I have other friends though who insist upon complete silence when they are in their sanctuaries and others still who have miniature water features in their spaces because they like the sound of gurgling water. Again, this is your space so only you can know for sure what kind of sound ambience you want to create.
- Consider adding a touch of nature to your space by bringing in a potted plant or two. Plants are great for helping to keep the air in your space clean because of their ability to remove toxins from the air. Additionally, plants also create a sense of calm and of connection with nature. I am particularly enamored with tabletop succulent centerpieces (learn how to make your own here) but any kind of plant that appeals to you can be used. If you’re not a fan of potted plants, you can receive many of the same benefits by bringing in a bouquet of beautiful, fresh cut flowers.
- The use of color can do a lot to enhance the vibe of your space. How do you plan to use your sanctuary? If you plan to use it as a place where you can partake in quiet, contemplative activities, you might do best by choosing a soft, calming neutral color palette for your space. On the other hand, if you want to use your space for more lively pursuits; an energizing mix of bright, playful colors might be what you want to opt for. Even if you can’t paint the walls of your space, you can add pops of your desired colors by adding pillows, rugs, accent pieces etc. in your chosen color scheme.
- One of my greatest desires in life is to inspire women to live their most FabYOUlous lives possible. In order to do this, I, myself, need to remain inspired. One strategy that I employ to boost my own individual levels of inspiration is to include items that I find to be personally inspiring in my sanctuary space. I’ve already mentioned the sea shells that remind me of my goal of one day owning a beach home, but I also have a small framed print of an inspirational quote that speaks to me and my vision board. Looking at these items never ceases to fill my tank and boost my levels of commitment and inspiration. Be sure to find items that do the same for you and include them in your sanctuary space.
- Often, when I am in my sanctuary space, I come up with fantastic, creative ideas. Unfortunately, I have also lost some great ideas because I wasn’t prepared to record my ideas when they came to me. This usually happens to me because I’m reading or meditating (or some other mentally engaging activity) and don’t want to take the time to run grab a pen and notepad to record my thoughts. Don’t let this happen to you! Because our sanctuary spaces are places where we are able to relax and let go of the stresses of the day, they are also places where creativity is uninhibited and therefore free to run wild. Make sure that you are prepared to capture the thoughts and ideas that come to you during your sanctuary time by having a small notebook and pen available, or, if you’re more on the techie side, make sure that you have your smart phone handy so that you can record a voice reminder for yourself.
By creating your sanctuary, your way, you will design a space that calls to you and draws you in. You will come to crave time in your sanctuary and be abundantly blessed by the hours and minutes that you spend there. Spend some time over the next week creating your sacred space and remember…it doesn’t have to be fancy to be FabYOUlous.