Emotional & Mental Health for Widows

Creating a Sacred Space Outdoors

Jen Johnson

I’d like to share my story of recently creating a sacred outdoor space in my home. When Carolyn came to visit the LA Chapter and me in December, we had a morning of downtime so started walking through my home and talked about changes I could make that would make it feel more like “my” space.

A few things I already knew needed to be addressed but others, such as my outdoor spaces, were eye opening for me. Since moving from Seattle to L.A. a year and a half ago, I haven’t had the opportunity and little vision to create the space I longed for. My current home is half the size of my previous home, laid out very differently, and has a completely different feel so I have struggled with how to place furniture and artwork.

The outdoor spaces were the very last item on my priority list. I had a couple of chairs and the fire pit in the front patio and a rug and chair in the interior courtyard. Neither were a space I felt relaxed in so never used them. Carolyn shifted the items from the front into the courtyard and left the front patio clean and empty which created a clean sight line through my front windows to the foliage and a welcoming and comfortable space in the courtyard.

A simple change of shifting items that shifted my mindset. I have spent more hours in my courtyard with the fire pit on in the evenings in the last few months than in the entire year prior to that. That is the point of creating sacred spaces: those spaces create a new mindset and that is what we are doing in widowhood. We are creating new mindsets that help us to grow and create new lives of fulfillment and joy.

My favorite piece of creating new spaces is finding elements to include that instantly make me feel more alive. What’s ironic is that I feel most alive outside so why my outdoor spaces were last on my priority list is beyond me. Being outside is one of the top reasons I moved from the rainy PNW (Pacific Northwest) to sunny CA! The elements that bring me the most joy and inspiration are the sun, sand, and water.

On days when I write, I immediately go to a local restaurant or coffee shop with a patio where I can sit for hours. On days when I need to recharge, re-center, become grounded, and get back in touch with my soul & spirit, I head straight for the beach. I have done a great job in incorporating the colors of the beach and ocean into my home with décor that includes jars filled with sand, etc. but I am now working on bringing more of that into the beautiful outdoor space Carolyn put together.

It’s sometimes difficult to envision how to create a new space or rearrange the space you have but there are a couple of ways you can begin. When I remodeled my previous home I had a general idea of what I wanted but then went straight to Pinterest and Houzz.com to further spark ideas within me. In this house I have relied more on my exactly what I spoke of above; focusing on what fuels me and fills me with joy.

Listening to your inner spirit/intuition will also help guide you to the kind of energy you feel best with. You can collect items from around your home, place them together and you may realize an overall “theme” that you hadn’t seen before. You will instantly realize how these items make you feel whether it’s a high vibration or low vibration. Simply put, focus on what you LOVE and what you wish for more of in this new life. The more of those things you surround yourself with, the more you will feel yourself moving forward.

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Knowing there are women who have not only survived what I was going through, but were also thriving and moving forward in their lives.
— MSC Wister® (Widow + Sister)