When you want to build a habit or protect something important to you, you need to make it sacred.
The word sacred generally has a religious connotation, and rightfully so as that is the origin of the word. When you read past the first few definitions of sacred, you reach more secular descriptions. Here is what it says for “sacred” on dictionary.com:
devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to secular or profane) (sacred music; sacred books).
reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object (a morning hour sacred to study).
regarded with reverence (the sacred memory of a dead hero).
secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right (sacred oaths; sacred rights).
properly immune from violence, interference, etc., as a person or office.
Something sacred is something regarded with great respect and reverence. Another description is “the sacred entails things which are non-negotiable, as well as suggesting rules that make the thing itself sacred through separating it from other things of continuous negotiation” (Francis, 2015).
When you make something sacred, you don’t go back and forth. It’s protected, it’s important, and it’s treated with care. Anything can be held sacred; people, objects (a piece of jewelry or a coffee mug), places (nature, sanctuary, bedroom), practices (exercise, meditation, morning tea), time, or moments (when your kid or dog snuggles with you).
If you deeply respect something, you protect it. That’s true of your time and space too. If you believe your time and availability are sacred, they are protected. You won’t allow yourself to be available during that time.
What are things in your life that bring you joy, fulfillment, connection and energy. These are the things in our lives that should be sacred. These are the practices and things that we need to protect.
What does it take to make something sacred?
Well, all it really takes is deciding that it’s sacred, but that’s a little easier said than done. Here are some things you can do to help establish something as sacred in your life.
Protection: when something is sacred, it’s protected. That’s all that happens in that time or space. If you want to establish a place or practice as sacred, you need to commit to doing only that in the time or place you designate. For example, if you want to make an afternoon walk with your dog sacred, walking your dog is all you do at that time. You don’t schedule or take phone calls. You don’t make your shopping list.
Special item: when something is sacred, it sometimes has a dedicated thing that goes with it. This helps you look forward to it, and creates a stronger association between that thing and the sacred practice. For example, a special mug for morning coffee, a dedicated notebook, a yoga mat you look forward to using, a favorite trail in the woods.
Communication: when something is sacred, you tell others that it’s sacred, and tell them what you need. For example, if you want drinking your morning coffee to be a sacred practice, you need to tell others that they aren’t allowed to bother you until you finish that cup of coffee. If you want a special yoga class to be a sacred practice, you need to coordinate with others so you can protect your ability to go to that class.
Francis, M. (2015, January 22). Why the "Sacred" Is a Better Resource Than "Religion" for Understanding Terrorism. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546553.2014.976625.
Sacred. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sacred?s=t.
Somerville, M. (2018, April 9). To be human, we need sacred things. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/to-be-human-we-need-sacred-things/article4179371/.