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Creating Your Sanctuary

Creating Your Sanctuary

My first thought when approached with the subject of Creating Your Sanctuary was “easy peasy, I’m a designer at McCready Interiors, I do that for clients and customers every day”. I ask many questions to find what they want their environment to reflect, then select styles and fabrics or leathers that will be successful in creating that feeling.

A sanctuary is a place of refuge, a place of safety, a place to retreat, it should reflect whatever brings you a sense of peace and tranquility.

In reflecting and researching for my blog, I considered that my personal sanctuary actually changes quite often. My home is obviously a sanctuary where I retreat at the end of the day, but I soon realized I have many opportunities for a sanctuary; a walk in the woods, my gardens, a yoga class, even a visit to the home of my best friend since high school to enjoy the hot tub and catch up.

Your sanctuary may be the beach, an exercise class, a girls night out, or a space in your home you can make your own. It could be those moments when you have the opportunity for “no boys (or kids) allowed”, a big comfy reading chair or a place you can have quiet time to reflect, meditate, or just slow down to recharge.

As women, many of our lives are centered around taking care of others;  we are nurturers, caregivers, helpmates. We tend to do for others before taking care of ourselves. When we give our all to everyone else, there is little left for ourselves.  The importance of self-care is critical to our well-being. We must take the time to regard ourselves highly enough to carve out time and space to enjoy a sanctuary of our own.

Creating your sanctuary is simply making a space that gives you the opportunity to surround yourself with an area to take a breath and unwind.

If you are able to start with a blank slate space, select a wall color that reflects calm to you. Select pieces that avoid clutter and chaos, keep the space simple. This is an area you want to be able to completely relax in.

Carefully edit what you place in your sacred space, less is usually more when you are looking for a place for quiet or meditation. If nature brings you calm and joy, place greenery or nature-inspired artwork there. Position your comfy reading chair facing a window so you can enjoy the view. If the beach is your sanctum, use colors that reflect the sand, sea, and sky. Surround yourself with beauty and an atmosphere of calm. Turn off the TV and turn on your favorite music if you don’t want silence. I have many Pandora stations I can select from to enhance whatever mood or feeling I want to focus on. I choose Motown if I want to escape and maybe dance a little (when no one is watching), Glenn Miller if I’m feeling nostalgic, Eric Clapton or the Beatles for a variety of reasons, and slow smooth jazz or classical choices to for a quieter environment.

Candles whether real or the real-looking battery powered styles can set the mood with soft lighting. Many of us have essential oils and diffusers to provide soothing scents to help create the perfect environment.

When we make time to devote to ourselves and nurture ourselves, we become our better selves. A sacred space is a perfect place to let our best selves shine through. Creating a sanctuary isn’t difficult. Just remember to keep it reflective of who you are and what kind of energy you want it to invoke.

Intention For Life

Intention For Life

Ok, so I’ve never written a blog post before.  My first reaction is to behave as if I am publishing all of the world’s research on intention from the beginning of time.  Of course, the achiever in me wants an A++!  I determined that before I began I should formally define “blog”, identify its structure, learn tips on how to write a successful post, and read every blog ever written.  Whew! But, I refrained. If this is for MY community, it needs to come from my thoughts, my experiences, and my heart.  These are things I have discovered through my own journey of healing and personal growth.  I collectively credit all of my mentors near and far.

In the Beginning

It started several years ago when the experience of my second marriage had turned me into someone who was not…ME!  My daily monologue was, “I am not this person.” I was in complete despair.  I was physically ill and in so much emotional pain that I was sure I was going to die.  I was in crisis. Survival mode kicked in and I realized the only way to survive was to “do my work.”  I began studying, journaling, crying, praying, studying, journaling, and crying.  I spent months filling notebooks with things I wanted, steps that needed to be taken, the ways I wanted my next decisions to improve my situation and the well-being of my family members.  I was setting intentions for my LIFE! I want…I need…I will…I must…I can no longer accept…I must let go of…the vision I have for myself is… how I want to feel is…who I want to be is…how I show up for my kids and my team will be… This process ultimately helped me get unstuck and back to my normal.

Moving On

So, I’ve been out of crisis mode for quite some time now and I have come to know that intention is a true gift.  I no longer set my intentions out of desperation. It is an ongoing practice that guides me and moves me forward to where I want to be.  The beauty is that we can set intentions for whatever we want no matter where we are in our lives: Intention for growth, abundance, healing, personal development, nurturing relationships, creating moments rather than going through the motions, for understanding, for how you want to show up today, or who you want to be in the world.

Between my upbringing and our culture, I used to be “goal” driven. Go go go, get get get, push push push, more- better- best!  Understanding what “intention” means has allowed me to shift my perspective on achievement – moving me from a “self” mentality to “serve” mentality.  “Goals,” as I understood them before the mindfulness movement, are often sought outwardly, creating a sense of pressure within us and disappointment or punishment if we fail to reach them. For me, intention equals freedom – a knowing as opposed to uncertainty.  I literally feel my physiology change when I say each word in my mind.   When focusing on intention I feel a huge expansion bringing me to center.  It feels vast and limitless. It helps me reconnect with that which is bigger than myself.  It gives me confidence knowing “I’ve got this.” It helps me focus less on expectation and how others perceive me.  It has changed how I view myself, the world, humanity and beyond. I feel a little, girlish giggle on the inside knowing it’s all mine.  Like I have a secret no one knows. I can have it right now, in any way I want to…to nurture it, hold it, and appreciate it. It is faith instead of worry.  Unlike a goal we set outside of ourselves, there is peace in intention.

Go Inward

True intention will come from the body not what you force out with your thinking mind. Stop, close your eyes, take a breath, and feel what comes up. Write down what comes to you.  This could be tiny clues that will keep emerging that will guide you later or huge “aha moments.”

Set your intention, let it go, and trust that the universe will listen.  Revisit your notes periodically as a reminder of where you want to go and who you want to become.  I like to do a Sunday review. For me, it is a good day for reflection and renewal. I have used pop up reminders on my phone with power words or phrases during particularly difficult times.

Find what works for you.  Be open. Put it out there, stay focused, be consistent, hold it in your heart, and be prepared to receive your gifts in unexpected ways.