Carving out Sacred Space to Slow DownMay 04, 2023
Living on the hamster wheel of burn-out?
In today’s modern world, it can feel like we are always on, always doing, always going, and always having to achieve more, do more. I’m not sure about you but my mind has been conditioned to use every single moment in a productive way - I viewed everything as something to be improved or ‘hacked; sleep - has to be perfect or I’m doomed, food - needs to be nutrious all of the time or I won’t be the healthiest I can be, training - I have to lift more every single session.
It can be exhausting.
I was exhausted. I was living constantly in the ‘yang’, the ‘Masculine’, the ‘doing’ energy. I would only stop when I was forced too (eg. I burnt-out, got sick, got injured or went into a collapse state).
That was until I realised I needed more rest, more nourishment and more ‘Feminine’ in my life.
The Masculine & The Feminine - a story of two energies
Everything in life contains polarities and opposites. It’s this constant dance, the constant cycle from one to the next that allows life to exist. We see it in how our sun rises and sets, in the moon cycle, the seasons of the year, our menstrual cycles, our energy, in life and death.
We might have different words for these two energies and here is how we may think of them:
Yin & Yang
Feminine & Masculine
Parasympathetic & Sympathetic Nervous Systems
Resting & Doing
Receiving & Achieving
Night & Day
Winter & Summer
One isn’t better than the other. There is a time and place for both energies, but, unfortunately in this day and age, we live in a time where the Masculine is put above the Feminine. We are expected to perform the same, day-in-day-out, quarter-in-quarter-out, ignoring our need to slow down, to rest, to connect face-to-face and to simply be.
This patriarchal way of being is based on a man’s hormonal cycle - which is a 24 hour-based testosterone cycle- whereas someone who is born female has a rise and fall of hormones over a 21-36 day cycle (sometimes even longer). Each phase of our cycles (and that of the moon cycles and seasonal cycles) has a different energy - some more Feminine and some more Masculine.
What energy do you live in?
As I mentioned above, oftentimes we are living too much in one energy or we swing wildly from one to the other - moving from hyper-productivity to complete exhaustion, for example.
The challenge is to gentle sway or dance between the two energies, allowing us to adjust course to stay balanced and grounded - almost like a tightrope walker making small adjustments to stay on course.
One of the reasons I love cycles so much, is that I love the analogy of cycling through each energy as we move through the moon cycle, our menstrual cycle, the seasons of the year and throughout our lives. Energy isn’t linear but circular, connected and never ending.
Carving out Sacred Space for yourself
I truly believe that feel more grounded, more balanced and more in-tune with our true selves, it’s important we carve out ‘sacred space’ for ourselves.
For some of us, this may look like creating an altar space and meditating, for others it may be going for a dip in the sea and a solo coffee with their book.
Think of them as ‘mini’ or ‘major’ pauses - where you allow yourself to just be, with no agenda of ‘hacking’ or ‘improving’ or ‘achieving’.
Here are some of my favourite restorative activities, feel free to add your own:
Cacao Ceremonies - solo or in a group facilitated by someone else
Journalling and oracle cards
Walks in nature
Reading my book on the couch
Going to bed early
Having a bath
I’d love to hear what your ideas are in the comments below. I know some of my friends go to art classes or do macrame or knitting.
When can it be nice to carve out Sacred Space?
You can carve out time for yourself to slow down whenever you need. Some of the times that I like to do it are:
First few days of my period
Few days before my period
Celtic Cross Calendar Dates, Equinoxes & Solstices
Any big milestone (eg. first period, birthday, returning of period after breastfeeding, last period before you start TTC, when you enter Menopause, wedding, promotion, moving house etc.)
The 1% Rule
I first heard of the 1 % rule from The Red School in the book Wild Power by Alexandra Pope & Sjane Hugo-Wurlitzer. I then came across it again in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.
It’s a lovely approach and one that I often refer to as ‘finding the mini-moments’. We don’t all have the luxury of 2 hours to spend in a cacao ceremony nor do we all work for ourselves/have flexible working hours. Some of us have small ones or dependants. But that doesn’t mean that self-care isn’t available to you, it just might need to be microdosed throughout your day, week, year.
If taking the evening off or blocking off 1 hour for yourself feels too much, then start with the mini-moments:
Savour that first sip of tea/coffee in the morning
Get up a few mins earlier to move a bit slower and have time for a proper breakfast sitting down
Instead of watching Netflix, go have a bath with nice oils
Focus on take 3 deep belly breaths and slowly exhaling them out
Instead of working through your lunch break, can you get outside for a quick walk around the blocl
Can you do 20mins of a mobility video online if you can’t make a full yoga class
Creating Sacred Space
All you need is something significant to you - a candle, a crystal, a small statue or simply the cacao that you are working with.
Don’t over think it. There is no ‘perfect altar’. It is YOUR sacred space so make it personal to you.
Would you like some support?
Creating the habit of cyclical self-care and carving out sacred space for yourself can feel overwhelming - where do I start? How do I do it? Where do I find the things.
Well, this is where I can come in to support you.
I offer a number of different services that can help guide you to building a habit of cyclical self-care.
Here are just some of the ways we could work together to help you feel more grounded in yourself:
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