Sacred Spaces

In the last couple of years I have made a conscious effort to find ways of connecting with myself, the heavens, and the universe around me, so that I might be more present in my life. Things got a little crazy there for a minute with all the giant life decisions I was making and the day to day responsibilities that were piling up. Like getting married, starting a family, building a home and the ups and downs of a career I’ve been building since I was eight years old.

As a child I had an easy, effortless connection with the heavens and an unwavering faith that I took for granted. I said my prayers every night without fail, attended church every Sunday and practiced what I believed with a sort of easy grace. In my early twenties I stopped attending church regularly and then completely, my prayers became by rote and then less and less frequent and by the time I was 35 my faith began to take a serious hit. I started feeling kinda alone in it all, well not alone exactly, more on my own. I had stopped asking for the guidance and direction I had always relied so heavily on and found myself rushing into decisions, big ones, without asking the still small voice inside of me if I was making the right choice. And often, I wasn’t. It’s usually when the shit hits the fan that we as humans lean back into our faith and our relationship with God and I am no exception to that rule. I had lost sight of my inner compass, my path and my peace of mind. I was an anxious, high strung, defensive ball of stress who I really didn’t like much.

The good news is that grace is always around us and I was able to recognize it when it came knocking in the form of a script based on the book “The Secret”. I talked a bit about how that simple story changed my thinking and reawakened my need for connection in my post Resetting the Compass, so I won’t repeat myself, though I will say that in the year and a half since I wrote that post my spiritual re-connection and awakening has only strengthened and the journey has been kinda exquisite.

My ways of connecting with and honoring the divine have evolved quite a bit since I was a kid and they continue to evolve as I believe they should. I haven’t found my way back to church just yet, though never say never, but I have come to believe that designating a sacred space in which to pray, think, listen and meditate is a very important part of maintaining a spiritual practice. If religion and spirituality isn’t really your thing I would still highly recommend creating a sacred space where you can go to fill yourself up with peace, stillness, and the quiet pursuit of whatever sets your soul on fire. Based on my life experience so far, I believe there isn’t one among us who doesn’t need time to themselves to draw inspiration, clarity and stillness from. For me, the lack of that time to myself put me in a constant state of stress. I’m a bit of an anxious person by nature with a mind that tends towards worry, fear and self doubt. If left unchecked these negative feelings would take over, dictating my day and leaving me drained, emotionally overwhelmed and often sick.

It became abundantly clear to me that I needed to find a way to instill peace and ease into my daily life. To take a moment or two to remember all I had to be grateful for and to silence the beast of negativity inside of me. Entering into whatever space in my home I have designated as sacred has helped me tremendously in my goal. Creating rituals in that space that please, delight and inspire me have not only made the journey uniquely my own but kinda fun and creative as well. I wanted to share with you the steps I’ve taken to fulfill this soul renewal and what I’ve learned, taken in, spit out, embraced and disregarded along the way to creating my own very unique, incredibly individual sacred space and ritual. I hope my journey brings you some measure of inspiration and a desire of your own to reconnect with your best self and what truly fulfills you. Whether you bring the heavens into that exploration or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you deserve to be utterly, truly, deliciously happy and fulfilled as much of the time as possible. Here’s how I manage to do that!

A sacred space can be anywhere you manage to find a bit of peace, quiet, comfort and beauty. I have a gorgeous turret room that we had been using as a bedroom for the nanny, but since at the moment we don’t need a nanny, I took the room over as my own. When I’m traveling and living in rental homes or hotels and don’t have the luxury of taking over an entire space, I’ve managed to carve out a tiny spot for myself in the corner of a bedroom. When the weather turns sunny and warm up here in Utah I utilize the effortless divine of nature and the outdoors. All I need to make the space feel sacred to me is a comfortable spot to sit, an altar of sorts (I’ll get to that in a minute) some scented candles, incense, a journal and pen, and a way to listen to some soothing music, my favorite spiritual guide or an audible book that inspires me.

The simplest way to find inspiration and divinity? Dive into nature.
I love that my Namasté mug reminds me everyday to honor the divine in myself and in those around me. I also love that I look like I'm surrounded by holy light in this pic!

Ok, about that altar. So three years ago or so I was on a plane headed to LA from Utah by myself and a lovely woman across the aisle leaned over and handed me a beautiful blue iridescent stone on a leather rope and said it was a labradorite crystal. She said she felt I needed it more than she did. I’ve always been a comfortable flyer but after a bad private plane experience that scared the absolute shit out of me I’ve been uneasy in the air ever since. This kind stranger sensed my fear and gave me a gift that has made a tremendous impact on my life. Not only did the crystal ease my tension and fear on that flight but it performed the same miracle on countless others. When I went through a particularly stressful period a few years ago I had an instinct to wear the labradorite every day until the feeling of anxiety passed. Again it worked. I don’t pretend to totally understand the nature of it’s energy or how it worked, I just know that it did. Before this beautiful stone came into my life I had never thought much about healing crystals, in fact I’d never thought about them at all, but the sense of peace and ease that washed over me when I held it sparked an interest that has become a sort of devotion. Now I have tons of gorgeous energetic healing crystals that I use to adorn my altar, and I even place them in beautiful grids around my home, or whatever space I’m in, to not only catch the eye but to bring about the positive, loving, supportive energy I desire. Creating lovely, positively charged crystal grids has become kind of a thing for me and they are the base of whatever altar I’m creating.

While I was working in Los Angeles last year I set about trying to find a way to make myself a portable altar. I was living in one rental house for just a couple of months and then moving the whole family to another for the remainder of our time there. I needed an altar that I could easily move and fit into a small space if necessary. I found a small, low to the ground wooden table at a vintage shop and snatched it right up. I still use that small wooden table at home in Utah. It’s the perfect height and just big enough for my crystal grid of choice, a candle, a statue of the Virgin Mary and one of a Hindu Goddess. I’m kind of eclectic with my spirituality and am interested in and moved by all different kinds of connection to the divine. I’m of the “many paths up the mountain”  kind of mind.

For me an altar is any spot devoted to treasures that mean something to you. Like the crystals in my case, or pictures of loved ones, statues of saints or prophets or gods and goddesses. Flowers in vases or petals scattered around. Candles, incense or scented oils. Mementos you’ve collected over the years that hold some positive significance for you. The possibilities go on and on. I first decided I needed a kind of altar when the desire to sit quietly and either pray or meditate somewhere that felt sacred to me arose. I truly love my little altar. Every time I pass by it during my day I’m reminded of that feeling of peace, grace and gratitude that I work to foster and expand within myself. It has a quiet way of calling my attention back to the blessed and away from the negative.

Feeling some positive crystal vibes with the kids.
I love getting them involved and teaching them to honor the sacred around them and in them.
Focusing on the mesmerizing way the incense smoke pools and flows off the charcoal disk is a great way to begin a meditation.

Now for the ritual. Once I have an altar set up that moves me I devote about 20 minutes at least 4 days a week to my sacred practice. I’m still honing in on exactly what feels right to me but so far mornings are best. I start with making myself a cup of coffee or tea taking it to my sacred space, sitting with my journal and writing out a full page of all that I’m grateful for. I include everything from my children’s health and happiness to my perfect cup of coffee (that is if I’ve nailed it that day!) At the bottom of the page I write out my intention for the day. It always includes how I want to think, feel and behave. You know, like happy, good humored, patient, kind. Once or twice a week I’ll include bigger picture intentions for things like my career, my writing, my mothering. Once I’ve done my gratefuls and intentions I move to a comfy floor pillow in front of my altar and light some incense. I really love blending up my own loose powders to burn on a charcoal disk. I use a lot of cleansing sage. If you didn’t know me and happened to walk into the house after my ritual you’d probably think I was up to something very different! After I light the incense I pray. Usually out loud. I’m not sure why, but I’ve found that getting the prayer out of my head and into the air around me makes it feel more potent. I’m also able to stay more focused on the actual prayer instead of getting lost in my drifting mind. If I’m short on time I end the ritual after the prayer. If I have a minute more I sometimes throw in a meditation. Especially if I’m feeling high strung and overwhelmed. And that’s it. That’s my sacred ritual in my sacred space.

It’s really pretty simple but for me it has been life changing. It has helped me to become a much better version of myself. I am more often than not the mother I want to be. The wife I want to be. The friend, sister, daughter I want to be. I experience an intensity of support, love, guidance and enlightenment that I had long forgotten the feel of in the hustle of my life. I can more easily bring about a sense of peace and ease even when I am no where near my altar or in my sacred space. The ritual has encouraged a sort of healthy habit of positivity. The sitting in gratitude, love and grace on a regular basis has created a pathway of positivity in my mind that I can fall back on again and again when I need to.

If you only have time for one sacred act a day, or even a week, or even this month, just start with a journal of gratitude. I swear on everything that’s holy it will change how you see your day, the people in it and even yourself. It may only be slight at first but trust me even a slight shift in perspective can make a monumental change in attitude. I’m living proof of that! And if you only have room for one sacred thing just start with a candle on the windowsill and maybe, just cause they’re so pretty, throw in a crystal for good measure!

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36 Comments

  • Mon

    Wow! I loved what I just read.
    You think about everything .. is nice to contact with yourself but at the same time it is very hard… I hope you always have good energy and your family too!

    August 25, 2017 at 10:13 am Reply
  • mary

    katie – (yes, i know you from way back school days. my kids went to school with you!) – this is a lovely post. i admire your sincerity and your strength in making yourself so vulnerable by sharing these thoughts. just want to say thanks!

    August 25, 2017 at 11:15 am Reply
  • Hasan Kart

    True peace is in the nature. I think that for a long time. That’s why I support you. To be honest. Religion did not add anything to me. But nature gave us everything.

    August 25, 2017 at 11:54 am Reply
  • Barb

    I get it, mostly. My “altar,” as you call it, is the floor by my bed near the window. One might think I am hiding, but it is solitude I am looking for when I go there (daily) keeping my journal for nine years now. I refer to it as my war room (then I saw the movie which I highly recommend). While I don’t use crystals and I don’t like the smell of incense, I have the New International Life Application Study Bible and, I get the same result of peace. I love how you write. I love how open you are about life issues and concerns. I love how you find humor in your faults. I think you have found that self-acceptance that everyone craves (even without them realizing it yet). You should write a book (or books). You could write about anything and make it funny and real. With your name attached to it, I can’t imagine it would not be a best seller.

    August 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm Reply
  • Natasha R

    Being in nature truly is my sacred space. I live in Scotland and adore going to Aviemore. The sense of peace and stillness in that mountainous air is unrivalled for melting away my anxieties. We usually go mid-September when it’s much less busy and do lots of lovely woodland walks.

    August 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm Reply
  • Laura Frick

    Thank you for sharing something so personal and sacred to you. It has encouraged me to start that daily journal that I have been putting off. May I also encourage you to revisit the faith of your youth? The truth in the holy scriptures of The Bible have also brought me encouragement. Blessings!

    August 25, 2017 at 1:53 pm Reply
  • Leslie

    I look forward to your posts as they tend to open up new ideas for me. My reality at the moment is a struggle as I am entering the caregiver role more significantly with elderly parents. I know that I need to find a way to keep centered as I navigate this part of my journey and will look at the ideas you shared. I agree with the poster above, might you take on writing a book at some point? I think you have a lot to share and there are many of us who would gain from your insights and experience. Have a wonderful day.

    August 25, 2017 at 1:57 pm Reply
  • Justine A.

    All of this resonates so much with me. Lately, I have started using an 8 X 11″ hardbound artist sketchbook. Even though it has white drawing paper without lines, I still write things I’m grateful for in it. I intersperse my writing with occasional sketches or doodles in whatever drawing media I feel like using – usually colored pencils. I also burn relaxing-scented PartyLite candles in a metal & glass fragrant oil warmer (warmed up by an unscented tealight below it). I have some sacred rocks, but not crystals; I will look into them. And I just put a copy of the book “The Secret” on my coffee room table to re-read it. Thank you for inspiring me.

    August 25, 2017 at 5:05 pm Reply
  • Jillian

    Awesome post, thank you for sharing this. I have followed this same path of light for many years and you are wonderful to be open with your spirit for all of your readers. I can think of nothing more important for everyone to hear who breathes.

    August 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm Reply
  • Amie

    Lol. My friend practices Reiki. I’m Christian, but still recognize there is so much we don’t have the ability to fully comprehend. I’ve always been drawn to amethyst. When we moved into my new place(and also at the old), we “sage bombed” the place. It was definitely very smoky. And I haven’t used anything recreational ever. We also use nag champa after to add positive energy. I really enjoy reading your posts. And I love your windows w the colored diamonds.

    August 26, 2017 at 1:41 am Reply
  • Glenda

    I’m so pleased to read this blog entry; I enjoy all of your posts, but this one warmed me especially. Not only are you a fellow Utahn, but this entry touches on so many things I’ve been exploring for the past couple of years: crystals and other rocks, crystal grids (I’m a big fan of Hibiscus Moon and Ashley Leavy!), sacred space/altar, meditation, gratefulness journal. I carry a small pouch of favorite crystals every day, and I have a salt lamp in each room (that’s the “candle on my windowsill”). Thank you for your openness and sharing.

    August 27, 2017 at 8:34 am Reply
  • Ashton

    Love this!! Thanks so much for sharing! I tend to easily stress aswell and I notice my thoughts and feelings tend to go downhill fast when I slack off on my relationship with God and when I don’t make time for myself. And I think especially as a wife, mother, and friend our roles and responsibilities take a lot out of us and we definitely need time to ourselves to recharge! What a great reminder! And I love your idea for setting aside a designated space for that. Blessings to you and your family!

    August 29, 2017 at 7:28 pm Reply
  • Melissa

    Thank you so much for this post! It truly is inspiring and might be exactly what I’ve been missing/needing. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so generous. You’ve shared details of something very personal and it is greatly appreciated. I now feel that I have a place to start on my quest for a better me. Many thanks!

    August 29, 2017 at 9:11 pm Reply
  • Tricia

    Always an inspiration, thank you ♡☆

    August 30, 2017 at 2:14 am Reply
  • Liz Siber

    Loved this one…thank you.

    August 30, 2017 at 2:28 am Reply
  • Kayleen

    I think your amazing and I am totally going to create an altar. This is so great! Especially for people who feel alone or don’t want to take meds for anxiety or depression. Thanks for sharing!

    August 30, 2017 at 3:40 am Reply
  • Aislynn

    Thank you for sharing such a personal aspect of yourself. I’ve been struggling with creating a sacred spot in my home but now my mind is overflowing with inspiration! Since having my first child 8 month ago, my sacred yoga/ meditation room-turned-nursery has left me feeling quite unanchored and more prone to anxiety since I have yet to figure out a new space. You’ve enlightened me in that my space doesn’t have to be large or elaborate, just a little alter is suitable. I just found your Instagram this evening and am now hooked on your blog 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences! Namaste!

    August 30, 2017 at 4:28 am Reply
  • Jacque

    Love this. As a fellow Utahn I can relate to a lot of this. Thanks for sharing

    August 30, 2017 at 5:39 am Reply
  • Cate

    Loved this. Thank you.

    August 30, 2017 at 6:36 am Reply
  • Alanna D.

    I’m not one to comment much on blog posts but found I really needed this today. It’s the beginning of another school year, life is flying by + the kids are getting so big so fast. Between working full time, coaching sports + often overcommitting myself I forget to stop + center myself. You can only go a million miles an hour for so long before it takes it toll mentally + physically. Thanks for this Katie. It has been a long time, my friend. Hope you + your beautiful family are well.

    August 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm Reply
  • Lena

    I’m at one of the lowest points of my life, i wwnt to bed and couldn’t sleep and something made me go online and i saw this right when i needed it. I have been feeling lost and anxious and feel like i have forgotten me, i used to feel so intouch before but lost that part of me to inspire me to continue the good soul in me. Thank you for the gentle reminder that it’s ok and all you have to do is go back to a place of peace and try and recentre yourself. I really needed this as right about now my soul is crushed. God bless you. X

    August 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm Reply
  • Bella Cirovic

    I *love*the crystals you share in this grid. So soothing with colors based in the root / sacral / crown chakras. Lately, I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep so I created a “sleep altar” on my bedside table. On it I keep crystals and oils that promote a calm mind and spirit, perfect for sitting next to before bed. Loving your blog! Bella @ http://www.shetoldstories.com

    August 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm Reply
  • Joanna Berrett

    Such a beautiful reminder of what matters most. I relate so deeply to some of your experiences with trying to juggle our responsibilities and also take care of ourselves. Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspiring post.

    August 30, 2017 at 11:19 pm Reply
  • Chelsea

    The fact that you can be so open with who you are, without apology, speaks to me. I am also high anxiety and tend to tilt toward the negative. I have been going through some health things that have forced me to choose to give up or start a path of acceptance and learning to be grateful for the things I do have. I have started yoga and meditation, but I will be starting a journal of gratitude and I will be designating a sacred space soon. Thank you for opening a door into your mind and spirit. I agree with the lady above that thinks you should write a book on this subject.

    August 30, 2017 at 11:28 pm Reply
  • lomasluv

    This piece spoke directly to me.I have been in search of the perfect altar for the spaces i have.I have been on Pinterest to get some ideas.I know what i want ,but i want to see other ideas. I also have crystals.I carry my favorite ones with me wherever i go.I also sleep with them nearby.They soothe and keep me grounded and able to think clearly.Your mornings sound much like mine! I love incense and candles,and i do a full house sage clearing when the energy starts to get negative.

    August 31, 2017 at 1:17 am Reply
  • lomasluv

    Also,thanks for the resources you posted at the end.I am going through them all!!

    August 31, 2017 at 1:21 am Reply
  • Prachi

    Great post, have you checked out the five minute journal. I like their daily prompts. Easy enough to recreate in a journal. Mental floss as they call it. I have been trying to find a place to create an altar in my house… Too caught up in what my parents had in our house growing up.(it was a hindu one) But your is much simpler. I am inspired to start simple.

    August 31, 2017 at 1:45 am Reply
  • Lea Love

    I am so happy that you wrote about sacred space. Blessed be! The photos are so beautiful and I just love E2 and E3. Pure wow. You have amazed me. Way to go lady.

    September 2, 2017 at 1:55 am Reply
  • K

    Im glad someone of your stature has taken the time to reach out to the people like this. It’s thoughtful and courageous. Your words feel authentic which tells me you truly are tuning into the divine… speaking universally from a place of pure inspiration. It’s touching those who need it. Gracefully i might add. Be well

    September 2, 2017 at 3:32 am Reply
  • Susan Jarvie

    Your writing inspires me. Thank you for sharing your journey and your rituals. I feel peaceful just reading your account, and I know that feeling will grow as I also develop my own ritual.

    September 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm Reply
  • John

    Katherine,

    Much like you, I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a child during a time of family turmoil. Once I turned 18, I stepped away from the Church. Even though I stepped away from the Church, I knew how important those values were, and how true they are. After exploring many different faiths, when before all I had known before was Mormonism, I returned back to the place that I started. Like many people, I have struggled with some aspects of our church, the policies, the complicated history, the people and so forth. However, since I have returned, I have rediscovered that wonderful spiritual connection I had as a child. I have been welcomed with open arms and on my own terms. I think that you and your family would greatly benefit from re-engaging with your childhood faith. You might find that it has something important to offer.

    Much love,

    John

    September 7, 2017 at 7:52 am Reply
  • Lost girl

    You know, I’ve been thinking about my life for a very long time. I’m not someone who’s in the right career, not am I satisfied with the decisions I’ve been making and for the first time in a while I feel like this is something that might help my life get back on track. I’ve recently moved away with my boyfriend and things have escalated into a really bad path. I haven’t been connected to god since I was a little girl but somehow I feel like something really bad has been accompanying me for the past couple of years, call it a bad energy, a dark aura, basically something that’s been turning me into this anxious, terrified and mean version of me. It was by chance that I actually found your blog, I saw a picture of you with your baby and I thought “wow, she looks so happy and blessed” and boom, I found this amazing life changing post. It made me want to go out and buy a journal, it made me believe that eventually I can turn my life around, that maybe I can try and find myself a new path that will take me to this happy, positive and fulfilling place. Thank you for sharing all these personal thoughts with me. For making me feel like there’s still a chance for me to reconnect to god and to a better side of me. I feel hope for the first time in two years.

    October 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm Reply
    • Katherine Heigl

      This comment means so very very much to me! Thank you! Writing this post, sharing something so personal was a difficult decision for me but I am so grateful I got brave and went for it if only to have made a difference to one person who like me has struggled with fear, anxiety and negativity. Hold on to that hope girl, start with small changes that spark your joy and record those moments of happy in some way so you can remember they exist! Xoxo, KT

      October 7, 2017 at 7:53 pm Reply
  • Helen H. Lynn

    You may really enjoy the book “The Elelphants in my Backyard” by Rajiv Surendra. For some reason this entry made me think of him, his spiritual journey and the way he wrights. I have always felt closest to God with my horses, or in a peaceful stable. I often find myself thinking about how the stable, its smells and textures, were the first sensations Jesus had as well. I find that comforting.

    October 7, 2017 at 7:06 pm Reply
    • Katherine Heigl

      Thank you for this lovely comment and for the recommendation! I will for sure check the book out!

      October 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm Reply
  • Jacueline

    Thank you.

    October 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm Reply
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