inspiration, instinctive meditation, journaling, meditation, mindfulness

Creating Sanctuary in a Busy World

I saw a sign while out walking the other day: “Access to Sanctuary”, showing a route for those who have challenges navigating stairs.

And it got me to thinking about personal sanctuary. How so many people have difficulty in finding sanctuary for and within themselves. A place to find respite from the every day world, or to relax and do something enjoyable, or to be in blissful silence for a few minutes

We have roommates, live with extended family, are care givers for children or aging parents. Some of us live in situations that are unsafe, where letting down our guard for an instant could bring on harm of some sort. We might be working multiple jobs in order to just survive. We might feel we need a lot of resources (time and money) to experience sanctuary as we see it. There may be attachment to outcome, if one sees an activity as needing to make something, versus the act of making for the pleasure of it.

All of these can seem like insurmountable obstacles to sanctuary. I feel there are small ways we can create sanctuary for ourselves that take very little in the way of time or material resources.

If you can’t create a corner of a room, that when you go there, people know it’s your “you” time, maybe there’s somewhere you can go. I know people who go to their car to sit for a moment of peace, or a few extra minutes in the bathroom. If that’s not an option, maybe you can walk around the block, or have say a hat, that when you put it on, others where you live know it’s your private time. Sanctuary can be created by listening to or creating music, scribbling on paper, journaling. Anything that gives you an opportunity to simply BE for a few minutes.

Or get your whole household involved. Agree to set a time aside that’s quiet, non-device time. Set a timer if need be. It doesn’t have to be something you do together.

If you work where you have a desk, and are allowed to have personal items, put up a picture of a favourite place, or have a rock or shell from a walk handy that you can pick up and hold. If you can, on your work breaks, get outside for a few minutes. When I worked in a retail setting, I often used my time in the freight elevator to find a peace moment. If you’re allowed to listen to music, do it!

And if none of those are options, there is always the breath. Slower, deeper breathing can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system- the relaxation response. Over time, I’ve taught myself to find a focused calmness in one breath. OK. Sometimes it takes a few on days I’m wound up. It happens! Give it a try. Breath in your natural rhythm and simply notice your breath. What is the texture of it, the sound? Are you breathing slowly and deeply, or fast and shallow? Where in your body do you feel it? Try breathing in slowly, hold for a few counts, exhale, hold for a few counts. Does that feel different to you?

One of my favourite things as a kid was blowing bubbles, which now that I think of it, is breath made visible. I just might have to make a bubble wand and blow bubbles soon!

I hope that this has given you some ideas how to find sanctuary for yourself. Try putting it in your schedule if you’re too busy. Two minutes. Everyday. Just for you.

2 thoughts on “Creating Sanctuary in a Busy World”

  1. Something I’ve noticed is that the word “sanctuary” is getting closer and closer to being completely wiped out of popular vernacular. It’s like everything in society is set up to be focused on the external world, escapism and so on when dealing with stress, fears, anxieties and other very human problems.

    Instead, cultivating that inner sanctuary like what you’ve described here is the solution that you can bring with you anywhere you go.

    Like

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    The phrase “sacred space” is used a lot now, and is much the same idea. It’s lovely to think one can cultivate a practice to always take with you.

    Like

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