Our Space: On Creating (A Personal) Sanctuary

 An Installment in Our Series on Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life

Do you have a favorite spot at home, a room or a nook or some other space that’s your own personal sanctuary? Is there a place where you can do your work, think your thoughts, explore your creative side, indulge in silence?

How about just a comfortable, uncluttered place to read a book?

Or is your situation more like that of one woman I know. She has to fight for just a spot to sit among the dog toys and action figures and last week’s mail and the lawn mower owner’s manual. He gets the TV, the kids get (all) the floor space AND the kitchen table, there are no extra rooms and the only space she can find of her own is when she locks the bathroom door.

Sometimes, even that doesn’t work.

Your home is, in many ways, a symbol, a physical manifestation on the outside of how you feel on the inside. It’s an outward representation of what you value, believe, want, and need. If there’s no space for your wants and needs in your own home, how can you claim space for your wants, needs (and dreams) in your life?

If you live with others, and every inch of space is taken up with tools and toys, with clutter and chaos, where is there room for the things that interest you? That please and inspire you?

If you live alone, but have not consciously created space that soothes your soul, then how are you feeding your Spirit in the rest of your life?

Most of us are so busy just getting through the day that this never even registers. We’re too busy figuring something out for dinner, keeping up with laundry, managing demanding careers and getting to soccer games to even THINK about this…. To even notice how the space in our home serves US. Or not.

But this matters. More than you think. :)

Try this.

Do a walk-through with new eyes.

Take a few moments to wander around the house. Imagine that you’re seeing it for the first time. Wander in to each room, and pause at the door for a moment. Look around. Notice what’s on the walls and floors, and how the furniture is arranged. Notice the windows, and the light. What do you love in this room? And what doesn’t quite fit?

Most importantly, how do you feel when you’re in that space? Notice how you feel in your body, in your spirit, in each room. Is there something there that makes you smile? Something that pleases your eye just to see it? Is there something that smells good, looks good, feels good to touch? Is there something in that room that draws you in, invites you to kick your shoes off for a second and Be?

If it’s your third grader’s bedroom, well, probably not. If it’s the living room with a week’s worth of newspaper and four pairs of shoes all over the floor, probably not. If you’re in a house full of testosterone and every square inch is crowded with tools and sports equipment, well, it may not quite be what you’d like to see. Not that women don’t love tools and sports equipment too, of course.

But a softer touch here and there is nice. :)

What do you see? What did you discover?

If you find a space that is just right for You – well, that’s lovely. But if not, then I encourage you to do something about that. Creating a nurturing, protected (meaning, it stays the way YOU want it to stay), space in your home for yourself is one of the foundations for Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life.

Now Do This.

Start somewhere small. The bigger the problem, the smaller the start. Pay close attention to each of your senses; find ways to stimulate, nurture, be inspired through touch, taste, fragrance, sound. What’s pleasing to have around you?

Choose a space. A drawer. A table top. A space by your bed. A corner of the counter. A nook. Clean off just one 10” square of your desk or clean out 3 drawers of the 5 drawer chest. Pick one room in your house that you love and that would make you the happiest and start there. Set a chair by your favorite window, and work on the space just around that chair.

Pick ONE spot and start there.

Clean it. Decorate it. Make it yours.

I’ve seen examples of women who turned a tiny closet under the stairs into a beautiful, tucked-away writing space. I knew another one who created a small altar with treasures on a bench next to her bed. Another claimed the sunporch for her self and turned the family loose with the den.

A friend of mine with a house full of rambunctious kids and rooms bursting with legos always managed to keep the living room, just one room, spotless, organized, neat, soothing. A colleague of mine who had sons, but no daughters, made it a point to fill her house with feminine art, intentionally balancing the masculine energy in her home with some feminine energy of her own.

If you’re overwhelmed, consider hiring a decorator, or even better, a professional organizer to help you figure it all out. Karen Sprinkle, of Organize It, is one of my favorites. SHE never gets overwhelmed. :)

The Point Is This.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to look like something out of a magazine.

It just has to be Yours, and pleasing to you.

One of the best ways to start Building a Life is to nurture your spirit in your own home.

So, pick a spot and stake your claim. Take a picture of the way it looks now. Transform it. Then post a picture of your new space here or on Facebook, so I can celebrate with you.

Tell me how it FEELS to be there.

And Enjoy!

Photo Credits: by Wicker Paradise on Flickr


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