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Defining Your Sacred Space

by | Motivation

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 [amazon_link id=”0385418868″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Power Of Myth[/amazon_link]. 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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  1. fjr

    I have three such spaces, but they aren’t enclosed from others as yours is. If we think of the sacred space in four rather than three dimensions, with the fourth being time, these are spaces that at certain times are reliably mine. Different sorts of thinking fit in the different spaces. It doesn’t steal the magic of these spaces to see others sometimes in them reading their own books.
    My son is also a consummate thinker. He wanders all over the house, wherever people aren’t, for the purpose. He has his own room but thinks as a wanderer.
    Not needing an exclusive place of four walls but being able to use a space relaibly at some or many times is a great help to those who cannot make themselves a separate studio or study.

  2. Bob Holmes

    I love it Todd!
    To cut out a space that we see as sacred, is to take a stand for our best. It becomes the place where we practice our creative best…a space where we transform from amateur to pro. And it’s just the beginning of other such places, where we cross the thresholds of our genius.

  3. Saya

    I know what I am going to say sounds wired and funny. But I feel so creative when I am in a plan, train or bus (not car)- For some strange reason I think I am so disconnected with real world and specially in plan feel I am out of earth that makes me so creative.  (Hope to use space shuttle one day) 
    I still try to understand the underlying reasons for this feeling.After these trips my sketch book gets full of sketches and new ideas on the corner.

  4. Charlie Birch

    Mine is my meditation pillow and alter! I sit there for at least 20 minutes every morning and honor the day before rushing into it!!

  5. Leyla Torres

    Your post touched into something I realized as I became an adult. I needed a sacred place to play and let creativity happen.
    I’m a visual artist and a blogger working with origami as a medium at the moment. I have a home studio where I do my work -both paid and unpaid. In the studio I have a particular table which is the sacred spot within the sacred place. It is by a window that faces south. To have these places is crucial for my creative spirit.I couldn’t live without it. Even if I had to confine myself to a little corner of my home.

    In the past two years I have kept a visual journal by photographing what is happening on my table at different moments throughout the year.

    Here is a link to a blog post showing a 3-minute slide show of my ‘sacred place’.

    It is nice to have come across your website today for the first time!

  6. Drew Niemann

    Great article. In this day of over stimilation, this need can be forgotten.

    My space is actually my bicycle. Going on a good ride allows me clear my head of the “junk”. This activity also tends to act as active mediation for me.

    When I get back I’m focused and ready to accomplish meaningful things.

    The important aspect here is that the space is yours. It doesn’t matter where it may be.


  7. justme

    I just realized that I had such a place in my youth but have lost it! Perhaps that is why I don’t feel young anymore. I have time for all of the things that others want but had lost the time for me. Thank you for reminding me that I have to find that place again.


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