How do you make your every day sacred?
This is a question I’ve been sitting with recently. How do we create a sacred energy in our everyday lives? How do we fill the spaces between the doing with an energy of stillness and presence? How do we stay present with ourselves in what we’re doing rather than spend all our time distracted by thoughts of the past or the future? How can we be all where we are?
This past week, I took some time to slow down and be with myself, to set my intentions for the new year and breathe before the pace starts to pick up again. I got to Thursday, and I felt a little weird about it – the week hadn’t felt the way I’d wanted it to. Sure, I did a bit of work, a few little pieces scattered here and there, but that wasn’t what was bothering me. In speaking with a dear friend of mine, I realized what it was: there was a lack of sacred energy in my days, a lack of intentionality with how I was spending my time and what I was doing.
Even when we go with the flow, there are different ways to go about it. We can find things to do to fill the time, or we can pause when we don’t know what to do next and just listen. One comes from the mind, the other comes from the heart. Neither is right or wrong, per say, logic is useful, and so is intuition. Together, they are incredibly powerful when we choose how we use them. The trouble comes when one dominates the other in its lower expression – this is something we see a lot of today.
We live in a world that is dominated by the ways of the mind: thinking, doing, achieving, keeping busy. It’s a very masculine way of being, demanding that we work all the time. The mind has grown to be out of balance with the heart, and while this has allowed us to make great progress in a short amount of time, it won’t be sustainable in the long term.
This past year, the earth has begun teaching us a lesson. She is a very feminine energy, the energy of the earth, and she intrinsically understands the idea of cycles. You don’t have to look far to see this wisdom at work: nearly every corner of the earth has seasons. Every piece of nature exists in rhythms of flow and pause, inhale and exhale, expansion and contraction and release.
Nature doesn’t analyze whether or not it’s a good moment to move into winter or melt in spring, it simply does. It allows the flow of life to guide the path and timing of it all. And sometimes these cycles call for periods of flood or draught or fire. These are simply Nature’s ways of beginning again.
When we live from the mind, we overcomplicate things. It’s simple, really. There is a structure to hold space for the cycles of flow – this is the basic order of life. The masculine structure holds space for the feminine flow, and the two work together in a constant dance of balancing.
Balance is a practice. I spent many years as a hand balancer, and I remember when I first started learning to stand on my hands, my corrections were clumsy and overdone. I would wobble and fall in a big way that wasn’t always elegant. In fact, I’m certain a lot of the time it was downright ugly, this art of learning how to balance. I thought if I worked harder, I could better manipulate gravity, balance more successfully. It doesn’t work that way, however.
Many times I learned that the harder I worked at a skill, the more I got in my head about it, the less it would work and the more frustrated I became. Then, one day when I was utterly exhausted and didn’t have the energy to fight anymore, the skill would miraculously work. I was holding a free handstand or balancing on one arm.
In time, I learned the art of balance is about listening more than anything else.
It’s not something you can force, it’s something you must be patient with and hold space for as it unfolds. Balance always finds its way, but when we think about it too much, we prolong the struggle. The art of balance not something you can understand by way of logic alone – that’s why it’s an art, and not a science.
I think of these last few hundred years on the planet and I think of all the power struggles we’ve had, among ourselves and with the earth itself. We thought the stronger we became, the more we could manipulate the environment around us to suit our desires without regard for what the consequences might be. In doing so, we pulled our relationship with nature way out of balance, creating these unsustainable wobbles as we fought to find our ground.
This decade will be about regaining our balance. There will be the fatigue that comes from a series of crises we’re not quite equipped to solve on our own, and eventually the exhaustion will wear us down I’m sure. In that moment, nature will be there to hold us, to tap us on the shoulder and remind us the solutions have been there all along. We don’t have to fight; we can work together, and good things can happen so much more quickly than we ever thought.
The energy of balance is sacred. By inviting more balance into our everyday lives, we begin to assist in the rebalancing of power on the planet as a whole.
Something I am learning about myself is that I prefer to live in my body rather than solely in my mind. There is something freeing, something much more wholesome about living an embodied life. For me, this is part of what it means to live a life that is sacred: dropping into my heart more often and living with my whole being rather than limiting myself to my mind.
The sacred can be so, so simple, it’s almost laughable how much we’ve overcomplicated it over the years. When I find myself caught up in cycles of doing with not enough room to breathe, I’ve been developing this practice of consciously slowing down. Doing one thing. at. a. time.
How to invite the sacred into your everyday life
Here are a few of the ways I’ve been inviting the energy of the sacred into my everyday life. Remember that what is sacred to one person may not be to another, so I encourage you to explore for yourself and find out what resonates with you.
Boundaries for technology
For many years now, I’ve slept with my phone outside the bedroom, and think it’s quite honestly life changing. Having your phone in the bedroom changes the vibration of the space, and as the phone is something you likely associate with work, it disrupts your ability to fully surrender into rest.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, you may be tempted to check your phone, and the blue light can prevent you from falling back asleep for as long as twenty minutes after you put it back down again. When I can’t sleep, I made it a rule for myself a long time ago that I would not look at my phone. I pick up a book and read, write in my journal, move my body to the point of fatigue (that one is kind of a last resort and it doesn’t work for everyone) or visualize and focus on my breath – but once I’m in bed, I will not look at a screen. That is a firm boundary I have set for myself.
This applies first thing in the morning, too. When you begin your day without your phone, there is so much more peace. I don’t look at my phone for the first two hours of my day, which gives me space and time to connect with myself so that I am grounded when I do step out into the world. You start your day responding rather than reacting to what someone else may want you to do, and this allows you to be much more effective in your work overall. Small things ripple.
Yes, I know, most of us need an alarm to wake us up in the morning – and that is what a good old fashioned alarm clock is for. There are so many amazing, innovative options out there now, I highly encourage you to check them out. It is a worthwhile investment.
Routines + rituals
My mornings are sacred. First thing when I wake up, I role out my mat and do a few sun salutations before getting ready for the day. Then immediately after I eat breakfast, I sit in silent meditation for fifteen to twenty minutes to cleanse my energy and connect with myself.
I know that meditation (and rituals or routines, for that matter) can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. You can keep it short and sweet to begin with – take five minutes to consciously drink your tea in the morning and, as it’s steeping, simply stand and focus on your breath. Write a few affirmations in a journal or list three things you’re grateful for. Again, here the intentionality is key. It’s not about adding another thing to your to-do list, it’s about how the moment makes you feel. Be every bit where you are when you are performing these rituals. Being present with yourself grows easier in time.
Do one thing at a time
Brush your teeth. Cook dinner. Stand on the bus during your morning commute and look out the window. Smile at people as you’re walking. Notice the colours and textures of the world around you. Eat a meal and savour the flavours. Do one thing. at. a. time.
This is especially important if you find yourself rushing. If there’s one thing I’ve found in life that drives my mother crazy, it’s that you generally don’t get things done any faster if you’re rushing than if you move at a normal pace. You just feel more stressed and anxious because the energy of rushing is frenetic and multiplies easily once it starts.
I don’t have enough time is an addictive story, a narrative many of us have playing on repeat. When I find myself in this energy, I pause and return to the present, reminding myself that everything that needs to get done will get done and I will remember everything I need to remember. I usually work with a mantra for a few moments and take some deep breaths. Then I begin again, one thing at a time. I’ve found it’s a much more sustainable way to be.
Take time to breathe
When you have that pocket of ten minutes while the pasta cooks for dinner and you don’t know what to do with yourself, what do you do? Most of us pick up our phones to scroll on social media or answer a few emails we didn’t get to yet that day – I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.
Instead of just finding anything to fill the time, try being intentional about it. Use that time to sit in stillness and meditate or listen to your favourite song. Read a few pages from a book or go lie down on the floor – that’s one of my favourite ways to ground my energy and recharge.
The point is, it doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t need to do it for long, but these simple things can invite a little more sacred energy, presence and joy into your life. It’s a gift you give yourself when you choose how you use your time.
Allow the spaces of your life to be sacred
Life is precious, even if we forget it a lot of the time. When you embed sacred moments into your day, you begin to be more aware of the present moment – you form stronger memories and appreciate the simple things we so often miss when we’re rushing from one thing to the next.
There is no one right way to do this, no one right way to live life. But when you choose to prioritize the things that are important to you, you begin to live more intentionally. It is deeply rewarding to honour the language of the heart.
How will you invite the sacred into your life today?
If you’re looking for more grounding words and mantras to accompany you on your path, you may enjoy my first full-length collection, Kitchen Table Talks: Simple Reminders + Thoughts on Life. You can find out more about the book here.