Looking Beyond The Traditional ‘Healing Space’
I tried to create a traditional, candles-and-comfy-blankets healing space, but it just didn’t work for me. So here’s what I did instead:
When most people talk about creating a healing space, they’re talking about a room in their home – a beautiful altar adorned with candles and trinkets, while gentle music plays in the background.
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It sounded nice, so I tried it. But you know what? It just wasn’t for me.
I’m not the kind of girl who can light a candle or diffuse some essential oils to feel connected. A quiet room with the right sensory experience isn’t always what I need to tap into my deepest inner knowing.
In fact, at first I really struggled with the confining and ultra-calm vibes of a traditional healing space. Sometimes, it even made it harder to quiet my mind. And that frustrated me. I couldn’t get to that place the way I was “supposed to” in a healing space.
So, like many other moments in life, I decided to try it my own way. And I discovered something transformational:
I didn’t heal in just one place. It wasn’t even about a room or a decoration.
For me, healing was about finding the right environment that would spark my inner awareness and allow me to feel empowered while I worked through it.
What Is A Healing Environment?
After lots of trial and error, some by accident and some on purpose, I discovered that certain types of environments help me find moments of healing where I wouldn’t necessarily expect it. There are an infinite amount of places and spaces that can become a healing environment for you, and everyone is different.
The one thing it doesn’t have to be is someone else’s version of “a healing space.”
For me, a healing environments has a few key elements:
- It naturally calls me inward, often without my noticing.
- I can hear my thoughts more clearly.
- I can feel the messages my body is sending.
- I can see the patterns of my behaviors.
- I begin to know the next best step in my healing journey.
- It gives me the greatest access to the inner me.
My Healing Environments
For me, different healing environments serve me best at different times, depending on what I need in that moment.
My healing environments have also changed over time. Certain environments I relied on daily in the early stages of healing now are occasional or special visits, while I continue to discover new spaces and places to this day.
In the beginning of my grieving process, healing was sitting on the bank of the canal where my son, Drew, accidentally drowned. I would stare out at the water and just allow myself to feel him. I eventually took to the canvas and began painting, and that act sparked conversations between my inner self and I that could never be had with words.
Sometimes, healing meant walking in nature with nowhere to go, simply because I needed a reprieve from the triggers at home. On the bad days, I often found myself driving down a stretch of highway not listening to anything but my own thoughts.
Years later, I now find my church in the middle of a tennis game, or on the pages of a journal, or in the hands of God during meditation. Today, I can confidently say that sitting in silence can bring me peace and healing – if that’s what my mind, body and soul need at the time.
But it didn’t start out that way. I had to search for ways inward. I couldn’t just command myself to connect with my deepest knowing.
So I figured out other activities that calmed my body and allowed me to sort through the thoughts in my mind. Painting and tennis were getting me to the place meditation promised but never delivered.
So I developed as many inroads to myself as I could possibly find – and I never stop searching.
How To Create A Healing Environment
1. Brainstorm Ideas
The first thing I want you to do is re-imagine what a healing space could look like. Take it from a room to a physical space, an emotional activity, a spiritual environment – or any situation that makes it easy to feel like the real you.
Now, open a journal and make a list of possible healing environments or activities. Use these prompts to guide you:
- Where/how do you access your inner voice most easily, now and in the past?
- Where/how did you let go or blow off steam as a kid?
- Where/how did you play freely as a kid?
- What space or activity makes you feel most connected to yourself or others?
- When do you need a calm, still space like meditation?
- When do you need an active, engaging activity like a sport?
- When do you need a creative form of expression like art?
Here are different types of healing environments and activities to give you more ideas:
- Quiet, secluded spaces
- Meaningful places or locations
- Activities that serve as creative outlets
- Places that inspire your creativity
- Journeys on foot, by car, by train, etc.
- Journeys with no destination
- Natural spaces that inspire awe, like water or mountains
- Bustling spaces that actually inspire solitude
- Small spots of nature that are easily accessible
- High-up locations where you can see the horizon
- Faraway locations when you need to escape
- Nearby locations for daily healing
2. Identify Your Healing Environments
Hopefully that list helped you create an inspired collection of healing environments that will serve different purposes throughout your healing.
Next, review your list and see if you can categorize them based on your different needs. For example, you might create a category for when you need to be alone with your thoughts, as well as one for when you need to get out of your head. You might need activities that pump you up, as well as environments that naturally ground you.
Design your categories around the qualities you want to invite into your life, and make sure that you’ve written out a few environments that help you align your inner world with each quality. This is your cheat-sheet to find what you need when you need it. And it’s all based on what works for you.
3. Give Yourself Permission To Explore
For me, the key to all of this was giving myself the permission to see what works in my own life, without worrying about what healing looked like for other people.
And I never stopped exploring.
You have to give yourself the permission to play, experiment and discover without judgement. You have to be willing to try new things and experiment with different approaches. And it’s critical that you pay attention to the results.
What worked, and how? What didn’t work, and why?
When it’s working, you’ll notice an improvement in the quality of your thoughts, emotions and ability to express it all. You’ll have moments where you look around and realize: Holy smokes, this is getting easier. You’ll start to like who you show up as more often than not.
It’s the subtle changes in your thoughts, attitudes, conversations, responses and choices that light your way through this process.
That’s when you’ll start to feel the peace that comes with overcoming adversity – even when life is outside of your control.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of where or how, the goal of a healing environment is to simply give yourself the physical, emotional and spiritual space to check in with yourself and align your inner world with the future you want to create.
If you need to put tennis shoes on and hop on the treadmill, then do it.
If you need to get in the kitchen and feel the dough on your hands, do it.
If you need to garden with your hands in the cold dirt, go do it.
That’s your healing environment – and that’s all the permission you need.
Share With Us!
What types of spaces or activities spark healing for you?
Share with us! We would love to know!
Your story is so important.
The A.R.T. of Healing is a membership, resource and community for mothers who are moving through the pain of losing a child. Conversations and materials will focus on the three main shifts that occur once you’ve reached the point of acceptance.
When you have accepted that your reality is now different, and you’re ready to find hope and happiness again, then this membership will provide a creative framework for your healing journey – as well as the community to support you along the way.
It includes activities, journal prompts, meditations, rituals, affirmations, a 7-part video series of healing principles and exercises and more – all to support you as you transform from a life of loss to feeling spiritually whole and emotionally free.
Learn more here: melissahull.com/membership.