Sacred space

My brother is an avid practitioner of the Japanese Martial Art, Aikido.

The space his club use for training is a somewhat draughty hall, with green rubber mats on the floor and a black and white photo of the art-form's founder, Morihei Ueshiba, hung on the wall.

It might not look like much to the casual observer, but this hall is most definitely a sacred space. It's called a 'dojo', which literally translates into 'place of the way'.

Upon entering, students will remove their shoes and perform a short bow. This bow is a mark of respect for the training environment, the sensei, and for the other students.

I have to admit, whenever I take a class there, I feel self-conscious performing the bow and yet I really love the fact that it is the custom, and the reasons why.

Meanwhile, my new art studio is finally up and running. It's been a long time since I've had a dedicated space for my work, and I feel so lucky and excited to have it. To me, it's also a sacred space that deserves to be honoured.

I'm not sure if I'll go so far as to bow every time I enter... but then again, maybe I will!