In between decorating for Christmas, making our guest room ready for out-of-town visitors, and writing my end-of-term paper for my grad school class, I’ve been reading Home: a Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski. Such a great book — very thought-provoking.
I came across the German word Stimmung, which translates roughly as “mood” or “atmosphere”.
The author talks about how certain rooms in certain homes have this quality of Stimmung, that they “capture the character” of the people that inhabit these places. He referred to it as a “mirror for the soul.” Fabulous.
That phrase, “mirror of the soul,” really struck me.
Do you know why? Because those are the very words I use to describe what a sanctuary space is – a mirror for the soul.
So how do we do that? How do we create that space for ourselves that is a mirror of our soul, that captures our very essence?
It’s not hard, and here’s a thumbnail sketch of what that looks like.
The Super-Quick Guide to Sanctuary
First, we fill our space with meaning.
This means to fill it with things that are meaningful to us.
We fill our sanctuary space with symbols of what we love, symbols of our values, and symbols of our deepest dreams and aspirations. These are the artifacts of our humanity.
These things serve to remind us of who we really are inside.
Secondly, bring in some Mother Nature
We need to incorporate some symbol or aspect or view of the natural world into that space.
Why? Not just for beauty. This is grounding, and reminds us of our place as beings that belong in nature and are connected to the natural world.
Third, spend time in that space!
Quiet time, listening-to-music time, reading time, painting time, even dog-petting time.
As long as the time can be of a quality where the environment you’ve created can speak to you, can seep into your soul — that is sanctuary time.
Watching the news or a movie? There’s no sanctuary rule book, but this isn’t ideal. The goal of time in your sanctuary is to try quiet your mind and internal dialogue so that you can really hear the soft voice of your being. So that you can reconnect with your higher self.
Reading, listening to music, meditating, praying, any creative or intellectual pursuits — these are more in line with the purpose of sanctuary.
Fourth: The Sanctuary Effect
What happens next is what I call the sanctuary effect — this is when the environment becomes an emotional and spiritual support system for you.
This is when our environment starts to speak to us, and offers its support to our lives and dreams. We become surrounded by a support system for our fundamental ideals and our deepest, most noble aspirations.
This is when your sanctuary becomes a mirror, a physical manifestation of everything that is beautiful within you.
That is the sanctuary effect, and it is deeply powerful.
Next, go a little deeper!
The thumbnail sketch I’ve given here can get you started in the right direction, but there’s so much more to creating sanctuary than I can cover here.
That’s why I’m putting together the next Seven Days to Sanctuary workshop.
I’ll be walking through my process for creating sanctuary — with lots of room for you to expand, tweak, and edit the process to make it your own.
Something as uniquely personal as a sanctuary space can be a real challenge to make “out of the box” — you will want to refine your sanctuary space and tailor your sanctuary practice in a way that makes sense for your values and your dreams.
In the workshop we will talk about:
- Setting the intentions for the sanctuary space
- My recommended sanctuary tools
- The optimal layout
- Sanctuary rituals that aid in our transformation
- Best practices for making the most of your sanctuary
I’ll be leaving lots of time for questions and conversation.
If you want to join us, drop your details here, and I’ll send you a join link as we get closer to the event.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Until then, I hope you are surrounded by the love of those close to you this holiday season.