I've been thinking a lot about sacred space lately; how we create it, how we adorn it, what we do within it, and who we choose to invite into it. The topic is certainly relevant to my life right now in multiple ways. I moved residence in the last year, and am still in the process of expanding our Ferndale shop, creating a new space there for classes, events, healing work, and meditation. I'm also talking almost daily with my sister Vanessa, who has done the same thing at the Wyandotte shop, and with Jacki Smith, from Coventry Creations, who recently completed an overhaul of her business offices. With each of these projects, the mundane concerns usually associated with such things (the packing, the leases, getting the utilities in order, etc.) seemed to take a back seat to questions of a deeper nature. For instance, what colors will create the most soothing, harmonious energy for the people who will be visiting/working/living within the spaces? What "stuff" is worthy of staying, and what should go? How can we ensure that the energy of the space will reflect our intentions for it?
So it was a refreshing break from focusing on all of that to be invited into someone else's home for the first time recently, and get to take a look at how he has addressed the issue of creating sacred space. I was greeted at the front door, and asked if I'd like a tour, which I of course did (I am notoriously curious about other people's homes - I suspect it's because I grew up looking for hours at my mom's Architectural Digest magazines). He showed me around the gardens, which were wild and rambly, and overgrown in some places, sparse in others....in other words, they were perfectly imperfect. The clematis growing on his pergola are struggling, but the honeysuckle was blooming. The lily of the valley was tumbling over the border into the lawn, and the basil was desperately seeking sunlight (if he doesn't move them they won't last the month). The St. Francis statue, a tribute to his late mother, reminded me of the one on my porch, and which I almost to my darling first husband's new girlfriend, until he, the DFH, kindly returned it to me.
Inside, there was a perfectly organized office (my dream!), spartan furnishings, two pet rabbits (they have their own room, and before you ask, no, it didn't smell bad at all, surprisingly. The accessories were minimal, and each one had a special significance: his late mother's favorite teapot, a vase from a trip to Turkey, a tapestry from a different journey....everything had a story, and as he relayed them each to me, I got a deeper insight into who he truly is. It was lovely. There was no IKEA-ization going on here; his surroundings were no attempt to say anything specific to visitors, instead his home serves as an actual reflection of who he truly is. The difference seems small at first, but it's huge. If each of us could stop trying so hard to use our homes and cars and clothes to telegraph a message to everyone else, and could instead just be who we are, surround ourselves with the things that are dear to us, how much closer would we be to real union with one another?
In the end, sacred space is not about candles and crystals and incense (although for some of us, that is definitely a part of it). It is instead about being who we are, keeping what we love, discarding (responsibly) what no longer serves us, celebrating the things and the memories that brought us each to this particular place in our lives. And on that note, it's time to go clean my office. :)