Recently, I was lamenting the sorry state of my sacred space. In days of yore, I did not have a sacred space nor did I know that such a thing existed. But ever since I began practicing yoga, teachers have been emphasizing the importance of having a special place of your own where you can go to meditate and enjoy some solitude. It seems like a simple idea, but creating and maintaining a sacred space in a house shared with family can be a challenge.
For a while, I had a very nice sacred space in my living room-- a small, lovely table, with pictures, flowers, and special stones, a Buddha, a Ganesh, the usual stuff. But then the “kids” came home from college, and I decided to move my space up to the attic.
In the attic, I created a perfect space. I had a cool table I picked up at a yard sale; I covered it with a cotton print from India, put all the usual suspects out (Buddha, Ganesh, stones, pix, and added a candle)….
But before long the “boys” (now young men) decided the attic was a great place to lift weights. They were respectful of my sacred space, and didn’t disturb any of my little sacred reminders, but somehow meditating up there on a sweaty rug, surrounded by (for me, un-liftable) weights wasn’t exactly inspiring. I suppose one should be able to meditate anywhere, anytime (airports and grocery store lines, I’ve heard, are good places to challenge one’s meditative skills) but I was rather attached to the idea of a place away from distraction.
And so, I moved my “sacred” space (now becoming not-so-sacred) back downstairs. (My bedroom is not in the running as my husband has his music practice space there.)
Things went sacredly-swimmingly for week or so, when another son came home with his goldfish, and asked if I could move my sacred table to accommodate his pet. Having an affinity for the fish (the subject of several past blogs), I agreed. This meant moving my sacred space table into a corner nearby which is rather hard to reach. The result, unfortunately, was that though I could see my beloved reminders, I rarely sat with them. I still managed to meditate, squeezed in a little room with all my books, computer, and papers, but this meditative atmosphere left much to be desired. Space yes, but hardly sacred.
Recently, passing by my dusty sacred altar in the unreachable corner, I noticed that my Christmas Cactus was blooming close to my little Buddha, almost tapping him on the shoulder, which reminded me that it’s time to seriously revisit this sacred space concept. The blooming Buddha seemed to be calling to me, reminding me that I need to own this space, to claim my little corner of the universe again.
If you live alone, this probably isn’t an issue for you. But for those of us who live with others (especially, perhaps, moms) it may be easy to forget that our space, time, and solitude are just as important as anyone’s. The single bloom on my neglected Christmas Cactus freshened my perspective on this: Whatever it takes, claim your sacred space and don’t let anything, anyone, or any fish (no matter how lovable) stop you.