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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Creating Sacred Spaces

by Seattle Jon (bio)

I've been thinking a lot about where my downtime went. I rarely feel like I have nothing productive to do and I miss that feeling. From experience I know that being passively engaged, or disengaged altogether, is when my mind wanders best and I can churn big questions uninterrupted.

Interruption-free space is sacred, leading some to call these moments of disengagement sacred spaces. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction.

Why do we give up our sacred space so easily? The need to be connected is, in fact, very basic in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Our need for a sense of belonging comes right after physical safety. We thrive on friendship, family, and the constant affirmation of our existence and relevance. Our self-esteem is largely a product of our interactions with others.

It is now possible to always feel loved and cared for, thanks to the efficiency of comment walls on Facebook and seamless connection with everyone we've ever known. Our confidence and self-esteem can quickly be reassured by checking the number of followers we have on Twitter or the number of "likes" garnered by Instagram photographs and blog posts (please "like" this post, I'll feel better about myself).

So what's the solution? How do we reclaim our sacred spaces? Here are four potential solutions for consideration:

1. Rituals for unplugging
What if you made the Sabbath about more than just refraining from work, but also about unplugging? The notion of a day every week reserved for reflection sounds pretty good in today's increasingly hectic world.

2. Controlling the connection
We probably all know households that control "TV time," otherwise, it would consume every waking moment. Now, every waking moment is "connected time" – why not control connection as well?

3. More naps
I've heard that there is no better mental escape from our tech-charged world than the act of meditation. I prefer the old-fashioned way of meditating – the nap.

4. Think about nothing
I find myself turning off the radio or podcast more often to just look out the window during my 30 minute commute. When I do this I notice my brain starts working in more creative ways. I grasp ideas from unexpected places. Thinking about nothing oftentimes leads to thinking about something … creatively.

I'm sure the list could go on and on. What other solutions would you suggest?

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