Sanctuary and Sacred Spaces by Tona Restine

According to the dictionary, sanctuary means “a sacred or holy place.” I love the idea that there are sacred places of holiness in this chaotic world, don’t you? We are so busy and life often (despite our best intentions) simply presses in and we forget about the peaceful loveliness of sanctity.

I am not speaking of sanctity in the religious sense necessarily, although that is likely where one’s mind will take them when pondering this concept. We tend to view the word as a noun. A place that is holy. Indulge me for a moment and consider it as an adjective – a word used to describe a noun… “the beauty and sanctuary of our home nourishes us…” interesting, right? That is the way I have chosen to look at this word. My friend Debbie Tallman offered me the term, ‘sacred space’ and I REALLY love that!

I would go so far as to say our souls long for sanctuary and sacred spaces where we can disconnect in order to re-connect. How can we indulge this longing in the midst of busy days; days that are already too jam packed with obligations, commitments and time constraints?

I believe it isn’t enough to disconnect only when we are on an annual vacation or for an hour each week at church. I do not make that statement lightly. I have always been a highly-driven person and relaxation doesn’t come easily to me… in fact if I may be brutally honest here, I confess to you that I am guilty of needing to move heaven and earth at times to simply schedule in the idea of relaxing! So, in pursuit of this imperative, grand ideal I have implemented a few things in my own life that I urge you to consider implementing into your own daily practice.

  • I’ve set aside a space in my home that is ONLY for prayer, mediation and positive thought. It is nothing elaborate, just a simple white chair in the corner of our bedroom. There is a small table and lamp next to it, a candle, journal, devotional book and pen. A sweet, cozy spot where my soul can rest.
  • In our yard, I’ve created a similar space…again, nothing elaborate whatsoever. A large flat rock on the far side of our property with a small concrete angel perched upon it. A reminder in stone to slow down, pause and with devoted intention count my blessings.

Anyone can create these sacred spaces…the physical space is inconsequential. The intention and attention given to the ‘concept’ of the space is what is transformational.

Many of you know I was diagnosed with Lymphoma last summer. Part of my healing journey has been to learn to process stressful situations differently. To change my thoughts in ANY given situation so that those thoughts do not impact my feelings negatively and lead me to personally destructive actions. Like you, I am a work in progress, but as my awareness increases so does my intention along these lines. Toward this end, I began a habit of consciously releasing whatever stress I may be carrying BEFORE driving into my driveway. There are about three turns within my neighborhood before I reach the sanctuary of 5010 (our code word for home). With each turn I intentionally breathe and release whatever negative or frenzied thoughts, anger or stress I am feeling. If I haven’t released it by the time I reach my driveway I circle around again and repeat the exercise.

I am wholly committed to ushering a spirit of sanctuary and rest into our home. It will not magically happen. I MUST be purposeful about it. I love pulling into my driveway now. The life we imagine is WELL within our reach. We simply must make it so and that begins with repeated doses of daily, purposeful intention.



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