When I was a little Catholic school girl, I purchased ‘holy cards’ featuring beloved saints from the church gift store and arranged them on a shelf in my bedroom next to my rosary beads, crucifixes and a mini-bible.
That bible was so damn cute. I never did get around to reading it, though. I just couldn’t get past the Old Testament.
I also remember buying a receptacle in which to house holy water. I took it to the priest to be blessed. It amazed me that the water was more special because of that and I wanted it ‘on tap’ in my bedroom for whenever I had a burning desire to bless myself, my dolls or my cat.
Twenty five years later, a lot more of has passed under the bridge (not all of it holy).
I have found myself on a path of discovery which is less informed by a particular religion than the insights provided to me by my own experiences and interactions.
Hosting my online retreat has brought me into close examination of the practices and tools which I have gathered in my spiritual basket and though they are varied, I have noticed that I am leaning toward bringing the ‘sacred’ back into my daily life.
Aside from my Catholic upbringing which was really more about going to school and church and blindly taking the sacraments so I could get a new dress or pair of shoes for the occasion, I was never really guided to discover the sacredness of every day life.
It is something I am only just discovering at 34 years of age and so I need a little help to bring it into my awareness.
The altar at my local yoga studio, Jala Blu
I’ve mentioned that I have started bringing more ritual into my life, though being allergic to routine, my rituals are constantly changing depending on how I feel on the day.
I do find that designing a space for my morning meditation and devotion helps. Not only that, it is really fun for a nomad who doesn’t own a lot of stuff to create a little spiritual haven wherever I go.
It is certainly a little more difficult in a crack-den motel than, say, a spacious log cabin, so I am not always successful in creating my sacred space, but I do try.
My beloved cushion that I picked up in Rajasthan, India has survived my many culls of possessions due to this fact.
It is bright and colorful and reminds me of a wonderful day when our rickshaw broke down and we decided to go shopping! I stuff it with my Nepalese blanket and my shawl from Chiapas, Mexico, to provide comfort to my derriere while I breathe and connect with my inner self.
I’ve also begun creating altars, though today they look a little different than my childhood one.
Rarely are they fancy, in fact they are often hastily constructed from items I deem of value that day. Almost always they consist of incense, a candle, a crystal and my recovery chips.
Reminders of what is important to me; light, clarity, authentic expression and well… I just love incense because I think if God had a smell she would smell like that.
Sometimes I’ll chuck on some Krishna Das and chant along to really up the ante. He sings ancient Sanskrit chants to modern music which are believed to evoke the Divine in their uttering.
Essential oils create fragrances which feed the soul and make connecting with the sacred more of a sensory experience.
No more boring hymns, scary confessions or penance for me.
I’m taking out the mundane, the restrictive and the rigid and bringin’ sacred back in a way which translates Divinity, love, abundance, fun, femininity and creativity into a language my soul understands.
I also love to burn shit.
Sage, letters, ideas and old resentments all get put into the fire and their ashes returned to the Earth.
It’s a powerful ritual that I once would have scoffed at, but now appreciate because I know how much intention matters.
I love that when I open myself up to the sacred, I am constantly met with more ways to connect. The other day a friend happened to send me a link to a Labyrinth locator, and though I had never heard of walking them as a spiritual practice, two days later I found myself at the center of one, seeking clarity about an issue I’d had.
It was in the next town behind the local cafe and I had no doubt walked past it numerous times without noticing. You’d think I’d be used to serendipitous stuff like that by now, but it still blows me away.
I also get really excited when I find a book on a dusty shelf in the back of a thrift store which I believe has been placed there by the universe, just for me.
I think what I love most about this journey is re-discovering a child-like wonder about the world.
Believing in miracles again and having fun with it. I try not to take it too seriously, but I have a rising devotion to the sacred which makes me feel centered and whole more than any other aspect of my life.
It is the perfect accompaniment to a life spent writing about myself on the internet and the ongoing neurosis associated with that.
Though I am often distracted by the desire for success, security and validation, I know that life is really just one sacred moment after another and it contains far more richness and magic when I am awake enough to experience them.
That is why: