NOC Studio artists are being encouraged to create a ‘sacred space’ for their practice.
In setting goals for singing, one of my suggestions to the singers in the studio was to begin to create a sacred space for their own practice sessions. It might include a whole room full of reminders of something that inspires you, or a small nook where you can have your keyboard and supplies needed to rehearse uninterrupted. It could be under a stairwell, in your garage, in your library, in a church near-by where you could seek permission to practice and you carry in your supplies each time.
How would you create your own sacred space?
Why would you create a sacred space?
Do some research. In our goal setting for the year, many of you have begun to think about creating a sanctuary for your practice. In creating your own sacred space for your practice of singing, what might you bring to that space to honor your work? How would you create a space that “is devoted to the part of you that whispers, calls and yearns for the sacred, for boundaries, for privacy, for consistency? It is such a simple yet powerful act: your space that acts as an invitation to the universe to support you. What would that be like for you? How can you honor your work?
“It can be as small as a window ledge or as big as a whole room.” This is a quote from Rebecca Campbell who has written quite a bit on the topic including her book devoted to the topic in “Rise, Sister, Rise”. It might be difficult to practice your singing on a window ledge, but we do get her point.
Decide what “sacred” means to you. The Huffington Post had some suggestions for creating a sacred space. You can get started creating a sacred space by following a few easy steps they suggested: Do you need a space for yoga, meditation or spiritual connection? Dedicate a spot in your home that can become sacred. Create your own altar. Surround yourself with inspirational icons. Create a ritual for that space.
A late Middle English definition of sacred is “a consecration of space” and from the French word sacrer, from Latin sacrare, all meaning something toward the word ‘holy’. The Old English word hālig is an adjective meaning “whole” and used to mean “uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, or complete”.
Sacred can also be defined as ‘devoted to or dedicated to a deity of some religions purpose, or to be a space deserving awe and respect’. Sacred can also be defined as an adjective used to describe a person or thing worthy of worship or declared holy. It usually appears in a religious context, but an object or place set aside for a particular purpose can also be sacred. As you utilize and develop this space, it becomes deeper in context.
Ideas for your sacred space. Once you have decided that you wish to create this for yourself, how do you steward it? How do you maintain your privacy around it? As always, I suggest that you dream about it and journal about it. Do a survey of your home/apartment. Is there a space you already use that might become more ‘whole, free from injury, complete’’?
Your sacred space should make you feel calm just by walking into it. How might you accomplish that? Is it a place where you have room to practice yoga or meditate? How would you create a home meditation space where you can then practice your singing?
One of the reasons we practice yoga and meditate is to calm our bodies and minds so we can breathe mindfully, become clear-headed, and gain a sense of mastery in our lives. If your meditation space is disordered and full of distractions, you’re unlikely to achieve these things. This is why it is a helpful habit for singers to cultivate before a vocal practice session. Clearly your own sacred space is your own private sanctuary. What is meaningful to you may differ from another, of course.
Being mindful. It seems that the key to creating a home meditation/ practice space is to create a space where the busy, busy, buzzing just stops. When we stop and bring our mind back to our body, we can pay full attention to all that is happening in the present moment. We call this ‘mindfulness.’ If meditation is not your thing, you might try a body scan in a relaxed state, starting with your toes and working all the way up to the crown of your head. You might play a CD that would give you a guided meditation. Whatever brings you to being ‘here’ is helpful. ‘Being mindful’ means to be ‘here’, fully present, and fully alive, according to William Ferro, in his article. For Singers , this is doubly true because the singer needs to be in the body to sing, and the mind must quiet down for focus.
Creating Your Space. Decorate it carefully and simply, paying attention to details that will help you relax, feel safe, and focus. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
How can you create a comfortable place to sit?
Is there a chair or cushion or something like it where you can sit for up to 20 minutes comfortably? You may need both for your singing, although standing is important for body mapping and release.
And more questions:
How can you regulate the temperature? As much as you’re able, try to choose a room that won’t make you shiver or swelter.
How can you keep an area more or less clutter-free? If the room looks like something out of Hoarders, your mind is apt to remain as cluttered as your environment. Think sparse and well-ordered when decorating this room or area.
How can you maintain your privacy in your space? This is an issue with small children, precocious pets, and nosy neighbors! An issue of privacy is going to require getting your ‘team’ on board with you.
Is there room for you to feel comfortable? for a yoga mat? Or for you to easily lie down on the floor? Is there room to stand?
Does the room have a focal point where you can set up a small altar and display items that will help chill you out?
Do you think this sacred space has to be ‘religious’.? That is not the case at all. It is a place for your kind of sacred. Maybe it involves an inspiring picture of good ol’ Elvis. Who knows? You are uniquely you.
Do you question your own ability to be creative and a bit ‘selfish’ about your space? Well,just don’t! Go for it! In creating your own individual sacred space, be creative and design a simple, beautiful one. You may want some kind of altar that is sacred to you. Perhaps a work of art you love, shells from the ocean, a sculpture that brings you piece. You might want a quote that is meaningful to you.
What is something that expresses YOU? Your altar is something that expresses what’s sacred to you; it should also reflect the tranquil inner state you’re seeking.
What do you need? Inventory what you need as singer for your space. Depending on your taste and background, you may want to decorate it with any of the following particular to singers: Your music. Your metronome. Your recorder. Your pencil. A mirror. Your journal. Your resource books. Your current goals written out clearly where you can see them. A life time goal you are working toward. You timer for your session, so that your session may be broken down into small goals. All of this ‘gathering’ keeps you from running around looking for what you need and it is in one space.
Before you sing, can you spend a few minutes quieting down and stopping the thoughts and worries? Just stop. Sit and breathe. Follow your out breath. Light a candle. (Don’t forget to blow it out, when you are done! Other things that might be meaningful to you could be: Fresh-cut flowers, Statuary of leaders or teachers, composers who inspire you. A Tibetan Bell, a singing bowl, or similar “Zen-friendly” items. Candles(avoid scented candles for singers). Incense (although, again, you must be careful not to irritate your throat.) Essential oils. Prayer flags. A small fountain. Words that inspire you. Art or photography that helps you enter a reflective state. Crystals, talismans, or rune stone.
Enjoy creating your sacred space. Make it entirely yours. Let it deeply feed you and allow it to bring you peace of mind. Keep it simple, but allow it to evolve over time, as you will. Your practice will flourish, and you’ll be a more peaceful and tranquil person. Believe or not, your practice as a singer will flourish. I have experienced it as a performing artist and have marked the great progress a focused singer can make in creating a great space for practice.
NOC STUDIO ARTISTS! Share your pictures with me. I encourage you all to send me pictures of your sacred spaces. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing, with permission, several of the NOC Studio Artist’s spaces. Please email them to me: LINK HERE)
Or you can post them yourself on our Facebook page – just make sure to use the #NOCSacredSpace hashtag – apparently that will help us to collect them all in one place. LINK TO FACE BOOK PAGE
It is a wonderful world, and we all have the right to our place in it.