September 5, 2014

5 Ways to Create Sacred Space Anywhere (for Healing Artists & Teachers). ~ Chris Maddox

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

There is great advice out there to help you create sacred space with environmental shifts:

Feng Shui considerations, sage, crystals, lighting, energy clearing, etc. These things are powerful.

However, this post has nothing to do with those things.


Sometimes you won’t have sage on hand. Sometimes instead of candles there will be florescent lighting; instead of prayerful hearts there will be mad resistance. There is not always time or resources to create some of your favorite set-up rituals.

The suggestions below require nothing outside of yourself. Sacred space can be created no matter what the external circumstances.

It starts with the tools we already have inside.

Here are five things you can do, internally, to create a sacred space for your group:

1. Align with your definition of sacred space.

This one is really about authenticity.

American mythologist, writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell, described it well, “sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”

For the Circles, Retreats & Trainings I lead, my definition is: a place where we can let out guard down, lovingly explore our inner depths and find our clarity, inner wisdom and courage.

What does a sacred space mean to you? Your idea of sacred space is informed by who you are and what you have to offer. Dancing with this question, “what does sacred space mean to me,” will help you to create the perfect container for you and your group.

2. Be Radically Accepting of what is.

Can you soften into the wisdom that this is all quite perfect?

There’s a leak in the ceiling? Perfect. Two people showed for your class? Perfect. You forgot your notes? Perfect.

Einstein said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Choosing option B will help you dive into the heart of every moment you have with your students.

When you drop your illusions of control, suddenly the space that you are creating is full of possibility and mystery. Invite it in.

Assume everything is perfect and it will be.

3. Remember: Sacred Space, like everything else, is Co-Created.

On a practical level, when working with two or more people, the verbal acknowledgement of each individual’s contribution to the collective space works wonders.

I am empowered and responsible to show up fully to a class or meeting when the leader tells me: You are here for a reason, your presence is changing this space we are in together, how you are showing up matters.

The collective understanding of Co-Creating makes for some potent space and work because everyone is asked to be present and awake in every way.

4. Leave your judgment at the door.

There is nothing more poisonous to a space than judgment.

When I was 19, my teacher, Fay Simpson, introduced me to the idea of Sacred Space. In her work in the theater, “Non-Judgmental Mind” is essential to creating. I remember in class, when someone was presenting, she made sure those of us in the audience had uncrossed our arms and that we were all open, and actively seeking a connection to what was being performed.

This was a different experience than what many of us had been doing: sitting back, arms crossed, waiting to be impressed.

You can use this idea of non-judgment as a personal intention.

Watch your own judgments carefully. Watch your own tendency to metaphorically cross your arms. You are a human being; judgments will arise. See them and soften. Others can feel this inner shift, consciously or unconsciously.

Keep coming back to your heart.

Which leads me to the final tip…

5. Come from the heart.

Near the beginning of every WILD Woman Moon Circle, each circle leader says something like this:

Allow the mind, the part of self which perceives and makes sense of things, to drop into the heart center. Feel that the mind is infused with the energy of the heart. In this way, we can see, listen, speak and understand from a place of compassion and love.

If you take two to five breaths before your offering or class to center your own mind in the heart, the space around you will change dramatically.

It’s like dropping a love bomb into the space.

A room full of compassion is the most sacred space.

Your potency as a healing artist and teacher will rise with the quality of the container you are able to create with your group. All of these suggestions call upon something inside you.

Take them wherever your path of service leads you.


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          Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman

          Photo:  Flickr

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