Blessing Spaces with Intention

A few months ago, I decided that I would gather some herbs from our existing house to use as a ritual for our new home.

My intention is to create smudging sticks to clear the space of our new home and bring in energies of our current home. I collected sage for wisdom, lavender for purity and peace, and thyme for the freedom and time to enjoy our new home.

I planted these herbs several years ago, and have watched them come back season after season.  They are like old friends to me.

These were all picked when they were blossoming in the spring and early summer.

Here are three smudging sticks for our home blessing to come. They don’t look like much yet, but it’s the intention that counts.

Now, I am searching for a good blessing to use in this process.

John O’Donohue wrote a wonderful book of blessings called To Bless the Space Between Us which has many wonderful blessings.

I love what John O’Donohue had to say about home:

Home is where the heart is.  It stands for the sure center where individual life is shaped and from where it journeys forthWhat it ultimately intends is that each of its individuals would develop the capacity to be at home in themselves. This is something that is usually overlooked, but it is a vital requirement in the creativity and integrity of individual personality. It has to do with the essence of a person, their sense of their own inner ground.  When a person is at home in his life, he always has a clear instinct about the shape of outer situations; even in the midst of confusion he can discern the traces of a path forward.  When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise.  In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.

Saying Goodbye to Sacred Space

We planted this pine tree when my oldest son Alex was a toddler, and the tree was shorter than he was. Now, the tree seems about 20 feet tall. A green friend that we’ll miss when we move.

We now have the closing date for our new house, and assuming all goes well, we will be living in our new home in early September.

The choice to move was a difficult one.

For a long while, I had the idea that my kids would only live in one home during their childhoods and I didn’t want to let go of this place.

There came a point earlier this year when I realized that a move was necessary for our family. Then a period of searching for a new sacred space, making an offer and waiting ensued.

Right now, we’re at the stage of remembering the great memories we had in this house.  My oldest son Alex and I have lived in this location for almost 14 years, and my youngest son has lived here all ten years of his life.  My kids are feeling this change more keenly than me because this is their first real move from home.

Fortunately, we’re only moving a few blocks over from here to a nicer house that will also accommodate my mother’s needs when she visits us.  We were blessed to find it.

I’ve always appreciated the sacredness of space, so I’ve been working on creating some rituals for a few months so that we can say goodbye to a space that was sacred to us for many years, and prepare this house for new owners who I hope will love this place as much as we did.

Tomorrow, I’ll share one of those ways of honoring this space and bringing the love into our new home.

Daily contemplation:

Do you have any rituals or ways you say goodbye to a space or place that has meant a great deal to you in your life?

Misty In-Between Times

A misty day (August 2012)

The weather has been helping us appreciate the space around our home today.  Some welcome rain finally returned the greenness to our yard and brought a misty feel to our day.

The weather perfectly reflected an in-between time before my kids return to school last week.  The last week of summer vacation for my boys always feel bittersweet.

We’re also in an in-between time preparing to move to a new home very soon.  And of course, the Olympics have ended.

So for this rainy summer vacation day, we decided to have a movie marathon, and had a great time.

Daily Contemplation:

What do you do with your rainy days or in-between times?

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What Makes a Space Sacred?

On our recent summer vacation, I was surprised at the national park which was the favorite of the ones we visited.  I had expected that the Shenandoah National Park and Smoky Mountains would wow me with their beauty and gorgeous views.  And they did.

However, my favorite experience was in Mammoth Cave, which I had just thrown in to the trip on the drive home to add another destination to our national park passport book.

It wasn’t just the mammoth caves that impressed me, it was the feeling of sacred space around the caves and the whole park, which felt missing, particularly in the Smoky Mountains where there are so many tourist traps.

Mammoth_Cave_National_Park (Kentucky)
Mammoth_Cave_National_Park (Kentucky) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of my partiality to the caves may have been the refreshing coolness of that dark space in contrast to the hot and humid exterior.

The other thing that brought me to awe is that human beings have been visiting the world’s largest cave for thousands of years.  If I’m remembering correctly, scientists who have researched the caves have evidence of humans living in the caves five thousand years ago.

The darkness is what we picked up with most of our camera shots inside Mammoth Cave.

The Park Ranger showed us how we could experience the whole 390 miles by turning off the lights.

I have to admit to feeling very uncomfortable with the pitch black darkness.

My kids were thrilled to see a single bat fly through the cave while we were there.

I wonder what ancient humans thought of the cave.  There seems to be some evidence that it might have been considered a sacred space as well as a place for shelter.

Daily Contemplation:

Moving beyond your own personal space today, if you had to choose the most deeply sacred places and spaces in the world, which would they be for you?

Do you feel we’re doing enough to care for and preserve these sacred spaces?

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Creating Sacred Space

Grove of Trees
Grove of Trees (Photo credit: coldacid)

Interior Design is a much more intimate journey than fashion.  While clothing can influence an attitude, it is an external layer, with the purpose of showing ourselves to others.  A home is our intimate space where things are not necessarily seen by others or perfect but it is where we create our art, we go inward, we build our nest and family values, refresh our souls and spirits.

Rachel Ashwell

As we continue to explore the theme of the Enchanted Oasis, I’d like to move into the topic of how we create sacred space in our lives.

If we look back a hundred, two hundred years ago, the ability to create or even visit an enchanted oasis was available to only a chosen few.  Human awareness and conscience has grown so that more and more of us want the human family across the globe to not only see an oasis in the distance, but to live in one.

In the last 100 years, we’ve also seen that the earth is an enchanted oasis among the stars.  In all of the universe, we can see that there are other possible locations for life, but there are also vast distances that do not have the life we experience here.  We now know see more clearly that we need to cherish our oasis in the cosmos.

We are moving into a time when we must work with the earth’s ecosystems and seasons and cycles.  At the same time, ideally we could elevate the livelihoods of all people.

Some say we cannot move into a time of greater prosperity with the same approach that has helped us to bring great prosperity to the western world, otherwise global ecosystems will collapse.  Some say ecosystems everywhere have already passed their capacity.

It seems to me that the wisest among us are calling for a new vision of creating sacred spaces working with nature.