prayer

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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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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Five Minute Life Changer

Five Minute Life Changer

Need a Life Changer?

Do you ever feel stressed and over scheduled?  I certainly have in the past.  I felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.  Sometimes it was hard to focus or concentrate with so many things that needed my attention… family, work, sick relatives, drama, deadlines, on and it on it went. Then, a few years ago, a spiritual leader ask if I would be willing to give 5 minutes of my day to change my life. YES was my answer.  But it would take me years to implement this life changer.  Why?  I just didn’t make the time.  I hope you will learn from my mistake and carve out 5 minutes right now. Go ahead and put it on your calendar if that’s what you need to do.  We all have busy lives, but I am willing to bet that if you open up your calendar right now you could find five minutes to spare.

Let’s Get Started

So now you have five minutes set aside, what in the world could you do in five minutes that would change your life?  Pray!  Is that a doubtful look I see on your face?  Maybe you don’t believe that prayer could be a life changer or maybe you don’t think five minutes is enough.  All I can say is that you already put it on your calendar, so why not try it everyday for a week and see what happens?

When I finally made the commitment, it was tough, not only for me but for my family.  My kids were used to barging in on me no matter what I was doing.  So for me, with a little bit or trial and error, I decided my prayer time would be in the morning before anyone woke up.  I would get a cup of coffee and sit quietly sipping it.  Once I had woken up a bit, I would start my ritual.  The hardest part for me in the beginning was to avoid running through my to-do list for the day – this is N-O-T the time for that. If you are not accustomed to praying, please download my free resource, 5 steps to prayer,  to give you an easy format to follow.

Life Changing Results

What can you expect if you pray every day for five minutes?  For me, it truly was a life changer. It filled my day with a sense of peace.  Using those few minutes to reflect on what I was grateful for helped me to have perspective. Calling to mind people who were in need of extra care, comfort or healing took away some of the helplessness that I felt about their conditions. Speaking freely about my fears, burdens, blessings and desires allowed me to fully accept them and entrust them to a higher power.  Quiet simply, it strengthen and balanced me for the day.  It made everything easier and life more joyful.

What will it do for you?  There’s only one way to find out…

I’d love for you to comment on how adding 5 minutes of prayer to your routine has impacted your life.  Leave me a comment.

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

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

 

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