Defining Your Sacred Space


We have a play set in our backyard for the kids. It’s one of those “kind of like a fort, kind of like a swing set” sort of fabrications that are only possible in the ‘burbs. The kids used to spend hours on it, but lately it’s been sitting dormant. Our oldest son, however, seems to have recently re-discovered it. We’ll find him sitting out there for a half-hour at a time just swinging mildly back and forth, twisting himself into knots on the swing and spinning himself loose again.

The other day my wife asked him why he spends so much time on the swing. He thought for a moment, then replied, “It’s a place where I can think. I think well on the swing.” (Ahhh…he’s his father’s son.)

Several years ago we were planning an addition to our home, and there was a perfect little corner spot behind the new garage for a home office. I remember making the case for it by stating that “I need a place in which to do my life’s work.”

My life’s work. My sacred space. Mine.

We built the space, and I’ve since used it as a private sanctuary. I equipped it with a desk, a small and comfortable sofa, shelves of books, and a lot of whiteboard space. It looks out onto a nature preserve. I do the majority of my writing and thinking there.

I’m reading the powerful collection of interviews of Joseph Campbell called The Power Of Myth. In one section, Campbell makes the case for having such a sacred space in your life:

[A sacred place] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

He continues…

Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Get a phonograph and put on the music that you really love, even if it’s corny music that nobody else respects.

I love this description of the sacred space as a “bliss station”, or a physical place where your only job is to pursue the things that evoke your sense of wonder and prod you toward the unexplored. I think this is what I was getting at when I said “…to do my life’s work.” My life’s work certainly has nothing to do with building a business. It’s much more than that. It’s more permanent. It’s the space I occupy in the lives of others I live to serve and love, including family and friends.

So…where is your sacred space? Where is your “bliss station”? Do you have one? If so, where?

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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