What do I mean by sacred space? In this article I don't mean the type of sacred space you might create before a ceremony, yoga practice or meditation; I mean acknowledging that your down time is important enough to have its own sacred space. Sometimes just picking up a book to take a break isn't enough, your mind is still chattering away and certainly not absorbing the words on the page. Scanning through Facebook rarely gives the mind the switch-off it so needs and in fact is more likely to lead to emotions being stimulated. Sometimes we need to go further and create a sacred space for rest and relaxation.
Doing this allows us to consciously and with strong intent step away from the tasks, duties and expectations of our day. It emphasises our decision to take some valuable - in fact vital time for ourselves. It solidifies the intention to do so and over time, with repetition, the mind will come to accept that when you move into that space, you are not to be disturbed. It is well known that conditioning in this way can really help. For example, if you decide to practise meditation every day and begin by lighting a candle or some incense, this signals to your brain that it is about to be asked to turn down a notch, to quieten and sink into a meditative state. The more you do this, the more conditioned your brain becomes and the easier it is to slip into this state. The same is true of stepping into your sacred space, signalling to your mind that now is the time for it to give you a break.
So what if we use this for less lofty forms of relaxation than Zen meditation, such as taking half an hour to read that book you're enjoying but only seem to read a page of at night before falling asleep, or having a coffee in silence, or painting your nails, or writing in your journal. I believe by setting a pattern of doing this in your sacred space, thus conditioning the mind, you will be able to get into a relaxed state faster, wasting less time trying to still your mind and enjoying more pure and healing relaxation.
How can you create a sacred space? This is YOUR space, honouring your time, your healing, your relaxation, so make it however you would like. Perhaps light a candle, burn some incense, make a cup of tea or coffee, put a special throw or cushion on the chair you want to sit on, put on music that soothes, turn the lights down, change your clothes, or at least take off your shoes. Play around with it and see what works for you. Try to find out what helps you step out of your everyday, chattering, worrying, demanding mind and into a place of peace and rest. If practical, keep it sacred by reserving this space or signal for life-affirming, relaxing activities (or non-activities).
Everyday actions can be rituals. I see the sacred in everything: from the uninterrupted time I allow for my coffee outside in the morning, to brushing my teeth at night. You are unique, sacred and magical and your body and mind deserve to have rituals and sacred spaces all of their own.