gratitude

Sacred Space

Sacred Space

Several people have asked me about creating a sacred space. This is such a wonderful topic as we explore nurturing and growing gratitude.  A sacred space is simply a place to explore spirituality and grow closer to the Divine. There is no right or wrong way to create a place of your own that you can call sacred. I will offer you three broad categories for creating a sacred space: dedicated, mobile and interior.

Dedicated Sacred Space

A dedicated space could be a whole room, an altar, a prayer or meditation garden.  This would be a place where you can go and be totally relaxed and undisturbed.  A place you yearn to go time and time again.

If you are fortunate enough to have a whole room, then consider decorating it with your favorite things and in your favorite colors.  Some items that you might find helpful to have are candles, sacred texts, comfortable seating and a clock.  If you enjoy listening to guided meditation or prayers, be sure to include a way to listen to that within your room.  There are no right or wrong things to have in the room, but consider things that bring you joy or fill you with gratitude.  If you live with other people, you might find it helpful to have a “Do Not Disturb” sign that you can hang on the door.

An altar often conjures up visions of candles , crucifixes or statues, but by definition it is a table used as a focal point for spiritual rituals. A friend has created a lovely altar on a side board in her living room.  She initially started in with a beautiful linen that she acquired on a trip to Turkey.  As she traveled, she continued to add items that caught her eye.  She sits in front of her altar, recalling the memories that these items gift her with.  This ritual brings her great joy and relaxation and helps her to prepare for her spiritual practices.

If you have a special place outside, like a meditation garden, you may not need anything at all but time.  You could consider the possibility of incorporating a mobile sacred space into your outdoor haven.

Mobile Sacred Space

I have a mobile sacred space that is contained on a small box tray.  On my tray are a votive candle, lighter, devotional book, rosary, pen, journal, lip balm, tissues and a picture of a chair.  The picture reminds me to save a place for God.  This tray gives me so many options.  I can bring it to whatever  place in the house that I feel like sitting in, because sometimes I want to be by a sunny window and sometimes I want a darker more somber location.  Of course, this tray lends itself very easily to going outdoors.  And when I travel, it’s easy to slip all the items into an overnight bag and take them with me.

Your mobile space can be anything that is portable.  I have heard of people using a makeup bag, backpack or basket, so be creative!  The types of things that you can include are totally up to you.  Some questions to consider when filling your mobile space are: What helps me to relax before I begin meditation?  What helps me to focus during prayer?  Is there something that I might need that should be included so that I won’t be distracted?  Have fun and remember that you can remove or add items at any time.

Interior Sacred Space

None of the items or spaces listed above is really necessary for exploring spirituality, but as humans sometimes we need physical things to help us prepare our mind and body to connect with the sacred.  The most important sacred space is the one that you create in your heart; an interior space.  It needs to have enough room for you to invite whatever you hold sacred into your life and deeply into your heart.  A place that is safe and sacred and has room to grow.

Wishing you all abundant blessings on your spiritual journey.

 

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Gratitude: Find, Nurture, GrowFree Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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Nurturing Gratitude

Nurturing Gratitude

I invite you to join me in exploring ways to nurture gratitude.  The process of caring for and encouraging the development of gratitude could take many forms. Previously, we discussed how to find gratitude, especially in noticing things we are thankful for and making a list of these things. Reviewing those lists could be one way of nurturing the gratitude that you have already noticed in your life. A way to go a bit deeper is to utilize prayer and meditation to nurture gratitude.

Prayer & Meditation

It might be helpful to actually define what I mean when I use the terms prayer and meditation.  In this instance, it is defined as setting aside time, when you will be uninterrupted and can fully focus on your intention in the presence of the Divine.  In this case, your intention is to notice and nurture gratitude in your life.  Giving some special care and attention to the moments in your life that you are thankful for so that they may become more abundant.

Sacred Text

One thing that I enjoy bringing into my prayer or meditation sessions is sacred texts.  Examples of these could be your gratitude list, a favorite poem or scripture. I have compiled several scripture passages that involve gratitude or thanks giving.  Sometimes it is helpful to read how others express their gratitude in order to expand our own definitions. I invite you to look them over and see if one of them stands out to you.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a Latin term that means divine reading. It is a way of reading scriptures, poems or any sacred text, where you gradually let go of your own agenda and open yourself to what God has to say to you.

The basic format is to read your sacred text 3 times:
1. Read (Lectio): The first time listen to the passage in a general way, simply enjoying the presence of God’s Word. Try not to analyze the scripture, instead allow it to wash over you.
2. Meditate/Reflect (Meditatio): During the second reading, listen for the word or phrase that stands out to you. Perhaps jot it down in your journal.
3. Pray (Oratio & Contemplatio): The final time, listen for what the Spirit might be wanting to say to you through the word or phrase in step 2. What personal message does God have for you today in this sacred text? Focus on only the word or phrase that stood out to you.

My guideline for Lectio Divina explains the practice in more detail and walks you through a sample session.  I recommend setting aside at least 10 minutes for this type of devotion.

Join the Journey

Gratitude: Find, Nurture, GrowIf you would like to receive my newsletter and be the first to know about new spiritual resources, then click here to Join the Journey.  Also, I have set up a Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

 

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Heart of Gratitude

Heart of Gratitude

Do you struggle with gratitude?  I like to think of myself as a grateful person, but sometimes it is challenging.  I’ve come to realize that recognizing the things I am grateful for is more than just a nice thing to do – it can be a life saver!  During November, the Still Sacred blog will offer various resources, such as creating a gratitude list, to support you in making this a month for finding, nurturing and growing in gratitude.

A few years ago, I was given the assignment to write down 3 things that I was grateful for every day.  I was not too enthusiastic about this challenge.  I didn’t see the point… wasn’t it enough to simply call to mind those things that I was thankful for and meditate on them?  Wasn’t it a bit of overkill to write down these three things each and every day for a month?  What follows is my journey with making a gratitude list and the profound impact it had on my life.

My Gratitude List Adventure

In the beginning, I agonized over what to put on the  list.  Was being grateful that I had woken up really good enough to make the list?  Was it too vain to put down that my hair looked great that morning?  What about not getting stopped at a red light all the way to work?  I decided that whatever 3 things came into my mind at the end of the day, well, those were the things that I would right down.  Nothing was too small or insignificant or silly.  I was surprised that some days  it was excruciating to find those three things. Other days the pen seemed to scroll line after line of things that filled me with gratitude – I wrote 10 things one day! At the end of the month, I had filled several pages in my journal and was relieved to have finished the assignment.  I turned the page and went on to other activities, almost forgetting about the list.

It wasn’t until I found myself in the midst of a very difficult situation that I would returned to those pages in my journal.  My daughter was in the midst of some serious health concerns.  I was struggling to keep a positive attitude and present the optimistic, parental influence that she needed during that time.  That’s when I remembered my gratitude list.  I pulled it out – sometimes several times a day – and read over the list that I had begrudgingly made months early.  It was immensely helpful.  Although some of the things on the list didn’t apply to my current situation, reading the list made me smile.  Simply reading the list filled me with joy and was extremely comforting.  It allowed me to find gratitude in a time in my life when I wasn’t able to see the things that I should be thankful for.  It alleviated some of the pain in a difficult situation and gave me hope that things were not as bleak as they seemed.  That list gave me strength to persevere. In short, it was a life saver.

Finding Gratitude

I hope that my experience shows the power of finding and documenting gratitude. I invite you to write down a few things you are grateful for each day for a month.  The list is only for you, so don’t worry about what you put on it. Then tuck it away in a safe place, you never know when you might need a little pick me up.

More Gratitude Resources

In researching this topic, I stumbled upon another excellent article at “Why You Need Gratitude in Your Life Right Now” by Laura Dee ( The Mindful Mom Blographer).  Laura offers some great resources on the benefits of gratitude along with a challenge. Starting in November, she will be hosting a 30-day gratitude challenge which will include a free, printable gratitude worksheet that follows along with an online community of people who are also taking the challenge. If you are looking for some guidance, support, community and accountability, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Sign up here.   I invite you to join me in finding more gratitude with Laura’s challenge.

If you would like to receive my newsletter and be the first to know about new spiritual resources, then click here to Join the Journey.

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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