Part of my self-care journey has revolved around “unplugging”. I spend a lot of time playing on my iPad, talking on my iPhone, working on my laptop, viewing the television. I bet you do too. So there, right in front of me, is my reason for creating a sanctuary, that quiet retreat where I can unwind, relax, reflect.
When I conjure up a mental image of my perfect sanctuary, I see a space that exudes quiet, subdued minimalism. In a perfect life, my sanctuary would be painted in soft gray tones with white furniture, dark woods, and a few plants. The space would be lit by filtered sunlight during the day and candle light at night. There would be soothing music playing and essential oils scenting the air.
I see myself snuggled up in a comfortable chair with sparking water bubbling in a glass on the table next to me. I am writing in my soft, leather-bound journal with my favorite fountain pen. I am wearing comfortable clothes and the expression on my face says that I am at peace. Aaahhh. Can you picture it with me?
Well, that is a lovely daydream! Let’s talk about reality. The first challenge that comes to mind is that most people I know don’t have the money or the space to create a dedicated sanctuary for themselves. Another challenge is that families are busy, noisy, and demanding. How does a sanctuary moment even fit into a busy day of work and/or parenting? My thinking is that “sanctuary” is as much a state of mind as it is an actual place.
The purpose of a sanctuary is to have a quiet moment to unwind. Solitude can be found in so many different places and at so many different times. Peace of mind is behind a closed door in the bathtub with some bubbles. It can be found in a ten minute walk with the dog. It can be a few moments of precious time rocking a baby before nap time. Sanctuary can be five minutes curled up in a comfortable chair in a corner of the living room once the children are settled in bed for the night. A friend of mine uses her time in the car driving twenty minutes each way to and from work to unwind and clear her mind. I have a male friend who escapes to the garage to putter about with woodworking tools; this is his quiet time.
My sanctuary is a big, comfortable lounge chair in the corner of my bedroom. I have a small table next to the chair with my journal, a pen, and a coaster for my water glass. Is it spectacular? No. It is simple and small, but it serves the purpose.
I believe all of us need time in our day when we can be authentic, reflective, prayerful, calm, and at peace. Do you have a sanctuary in your life? If not, think about tucking one away somewhere in your busy life.