“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
I love that this quote is unapologetically dramatic because having a creative life is a grand soap opera. Acting in it requires combining the mindset of a drill sergeant with the free spirit of a kid in a sandbox. There is battle, suffering, getting knocked down in the deepest failure pits and sometimes sweet flying success, all while the dirty laundry piles up. Trying to ignore this drama is like ignoring a screaming two year old: difficult and dangerous. So I’m working on finding rituals and systems to help me (and hopefully you) celebrate and play with our insane creative toddlers. I’m certain there will be a accidents and tantrums (for all of us), but we will get to play in the sandbox too. And damn if those kiddos don’t think of the coolest things to do with the little plastic rakes.
Recharging your creative life with the tiny sacred
Have you ever noticed how much care and feeding our electronic devices require? We have to charge them, clean them, update them, not drop them in the toilet...the list goes on and on. The little tyrants are constantly demanding our attention. What if we tended to our creative or spiritual lives as incessantly as our damn phones? What if we charged them as faithfully?
"Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again."
At first I thought Uncle Joe meant my local pub because that’s where I keep ending up, but upon deeper reading it seems that he is referring to finding something within ourselves. He was convinced that if you could “learn to recognize your own depth” good things would happen. Campbell suggests we do this through the use of “sacred space” — a space for uninterrupted reflection and unrushed creative work. Campbell believed that every single person should have access to sacred spaces which act like incubators for the creative force that is within all of us.
Sacred spaces can be BIG or small. The only rule is no economics or practicality allowed.
I’m a heathen who loves churches. When I’m walking around a city and a pigeon poops on my head and a homeless person screams in my face, I like to have a place to go to that’s peaceful, quiet and poop free. I like that you can sit there for free without ordering a drink and no one bothers you. Not even God, unless you ask. I like to think about all the people who’ve been there before me staring up at the stained glass windows with problems big and small and exactly the same as mine.
Of course a sacred space doesn’t have to be a church. It can be a forest, Zen garden, memorial or anything else that does not include a Starbucks. It can even be a little box covered in pom poms.
This is my creative incubator/charger. I can’t fit my physical body inside and it doesn’t have a choir or a rock garden, but it holds a tiny bit of space for what’s most important to me in the world: creativity. When I’m feeling low on magic maker juice I put something that I use to create or wear when I create and let it charge overnight. When I’m having a conundrum I write it down, put it in the incubator, and sleep peacefully knowing it’s getting charged with creative solution powers (most of which is in the rainbow pom poms).
You can’t always get to a majestic sacred space, but you can make you own tiny sacred place that’s all your own. It holds your energy, care, and belief that stepping outside the hustle and bustle to ponder the magnificent or just take a breath is super important.
Here’s how I think you make something personally sacred:
- Make it with your hands (or feet if you like a challenge)
- Imbue it with a higher purpose that matters to you
- Give it a job to do and your attention and love
Doing all those things creates a relationship with your sacred charger that gives it power. Your charger will use this force to provide the protection, space and care that your creative and spiritual explorations need. You can put your most delicate baby chick parts in your handmade incubator and know they will be safe. It’s fun and exciting to check in on them, feed them with your time and devotion and watch them grow. Its also great to have a physical manifestation of what matters most to you that you can see and enjoy.
How to make your sacred charger/incubator:
- Find a box or container that you like. Something you’ve had for a while without any clear purpose works or find something new.
- Think about the value you want to imbue it with. My box was about creativity and honoring the creative practice. Journaling or meditating about what’s important to you or out of balance in your life can be helpful here.
- Decorate your box however you like (rainbow pom poms are encouraged but not required).
- Use your box to “charge” items with the quality you imbued the box with. I recommend overnight but even a few minutes helps.
- When you’re struggling with your quality, write down your question or concern and put it in the charger and leave it there overnight. Don’t worry--you can charge and problem solve at the same time. This box knows how to multi-task.
So plug in your glue gun and get going. Your mini temple of sacred space awaits you!