Creating a Sanctuary

© Sandee Nebel

Everyone needs a corner, a room, or a space of their own where they can sit quietly and focus inwards. Our nervous systems are not able to be fully restored or refreshed if we are constantly moving. Only when we balance joyful movement with stillness, can we find a state of homeostasis inside us. And when we have stability in our nervous system, we have it in other areas of life, such as spiritual and professional.

Your personal sanctuary may have several functions, including enrichment, rejuvenation, and restoration. You may achieve these states through a variety of activities:

What do you need in your sanctuary space? That is a personal decision, and it may take some time and experimentation to build the space that works for you. It also may change over time, as you grow and evolve in your journey of personal discovery.

Here are some elements to consider as you create your space:

  • Lighting – Go for comfort, clarity, and coziness, yet bright enough to read or study. As I age, and from living in a brightly lit region all these years, I prefer brightness here. Ideally, you would have an option to dim the lights for meditation.
  • Seating – Again, seek comfort, but with lots of support. Use props like we do in restorative yoga—pillows, bolsters, foot stools—to create the ideal seat for your body.
  • Color – Color has some incredible healing properties, but it can also bring out negative emotions. That makes it worth consulting a color expert to discuss your unique color needs. Do you want color to be a salve for your pain? Do you need motivation? Inspiration?
  • Clutter – While some people THRIVE in what may look like chaos to someone else, if your clutter makes you anxious or edgy, it may be time to deal with it. When I was consolidating offices (moving two offices into my home), I hired an organizer to help. There are a lot of self-help programs and resources to help with this, too.
  • Tools – What do you want to do in your space? Make sure whatever you need is close at hand (e.g., a notebook and special pens for journaling, your musical instrument(s), art supplies, inspirational books, yoga mat and props).
  • Privacy – As a basic tenet of a private counseling practice, I have explored a variety of privacy measures, including sound machines, fountains, carpeting, curtains and wall hangings. Even plants can help absorb sound, and have other benefits as well.

Where is your sanctuary? How can you make it an even more soothing space? If you don’t have one yet, what is one simple way to get you started?