The concept of sanctuary isn't new. Turn on your TV and there are plenty of renovation programs showing you how to get a home that looks beautiful.
But is this what sanctuary is?
Is a beautiful home enough for you to tick the box that says "I've got a sanctuary now?", so you can move on with other parts of your life?
I've asked a lot of women what sanctuary means to them and most, if not all, of them talk about their home.
That their home is their sanctuary - if only the bedroom/office/linen press/everything wasn't such a mess.
That their home is their sanctuary - if only their kids or partner would help with the household chores some more.
That their home is their sanctuary - if they could only have five minutes of peace and quiet to themselves.
I find these responses endlessly fascinating. Why? Because everyone I've spoken to can tell me why their home isn't their sanctuary but rarely can they put their finger on why it is.
They know they have a home to live in, that it may not be the most modern of display homes, but it is a home with heart and love and connection.
And that's what this concept of sanctuary ultimately comes down to.
But let me throw another spanner in the works, another concept for you to think about that may (or may not) make you feel a little uncomfortable.
How would you feel if you could bring sanctuary into not just your home, but into your body and life as well?
Do you see that as a reality, or a pipe dream?
I've been working with this concept for some time now and have come to realise that sanctuary isn't outside of you - it's inside you. It's infused into every single cell in your body. You just need to take the time to notice it.
If you look at your external reality - your home, the places you spend a lot of your time, your workplace, the people you live with or see on a daily basis - can you see a correlation with what's going on inside you?
If you have chaos outside your body chances are you're seeing chaos inside your body.
If you have no balance outside your body chances are there's little balance inside your body.
If there's chaos outside your home, in all sorts of areas of your life, chances are you're seeing chaos inside your home.
This doesn't equal sanctuary. In fact, all it equals is chaos. And that to me sounds pretty difficult to live with.
What you need to do is work toward minimising chaos in the areas you can control, in the areas where you have some say, so that the chaos can be watered down by the sanctuary you create.
This past weekend I ran a workshop on all of this and more. The ladies who came were incredible. The way they shared their experiences openly and honestly, supporting and encouraging the other ladies to work through their blocks, their pain, to help them move closer to sanctuary and what it means to them with grace and compassion was so lovely to witness.
So what did I share at my workshop that will help you bring more sanctuary into your life?
The first thing you need to do is discover what sanctuary means to you in your home.
Yes you can use those renovation shows or other external sanctuary creating images you see around you to help form the concept for you, but what I'd like you to do is to go in. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualise what sanctuary means to you. See the items from your childhood, from the time you first left home, that are in your life now, that bring you sanctuary. These sanctuary creating items are there, I know they are. You just need to go looking for them.
While you're visualising what sanctuary looks like to you on a practical/external basis, take time to connect with the feelings that rise up for you. Do you feel happy? Do tears prick your eyes because of the emotions attached to the item? Are you excited, uplifted, overjoyed, melancholy, reflective? Really connect with this feeling of sanctuary because this is want I you to tap back into time and again when you're building your own sanctuary.
The second thing you need to do is discover what sanctuary means to you in your body.
This is where you need to analyse everything you put in and do with your body as well as the thoughts that go around and around in your head. We all have that little voice in our head that talks to us each day. Sometimes it's kind, sometimes it's the meanest person we know. Take time to sit with that voice and coax it toward the positive. Coax it toward bringing into your body what you need, so that sanctuary can truly live within you.
The third and final thing you need to do is discover what sanctuary means to you in your life.
When I did this part of the workshop last weekend the energy in the room became heavy and challenging. Why? Because there is so much in our life that we don't want to look at. The relationship that's failing, the job we don't like, the in-laws who simply don't get us, the passion that's deeply hidden because our parents said it would never make us any money. The way to move forward and bring sanctuary into your life is, of course, to focus on bringing sanctuary into your home and body first. And then hopefully you will see the change in yourself and work toward making the change you so desperately want in your life.
I truly believe that your home is your safe space. It is where your soul lives and where you can nurture, cocoon, nourish yourself each and every day, to bring sanctuary in to your external space. This in turn brings sanctuary into your body and your mind, on a deep level.
And this is when change can truly occur.
When sanctuary starts to infuse itself into all areas of your life, into every nook and cranny, then you will be moving toward living your most purposeful life.
I know this is possible because I've been there, at the depths of despair and overwhelm, exhaustion and lacking in self-worth. I couldn't see a way out until a little voice said "It's OK, be gentle, it's time to move forward". And that's what I did, with the help of sanctuary.
This one thing alone - focusing on sanctuary, noticing where it was in all aspects of my life and bringing more of it into my day - has made a huge difference to my life, my body, my home, and how I see the world.
If you know it's time for a change, start with sanctuary. You won't be disappointed.
Trust in your inner wisdom, take time to listen to what sanctuary means to it, and together you will move mountains.
Helen Joy Butler is an Intuitive Professional Organiser, Elemental Space Clearer® and Author.
Helen believes that you can have a home that cocoons and nurtures you, where you can connect with yourself on a heart and soul level, and reenergise and reconnect with who you are at their core.
Helen helps her clients live a balanced life in a busy world by bringing more joy, space and connection into their lives. You can connect with Helen at her website.