It is my hearts desire to grow strong enough in my self to not need a physical place to call “sanctuary”. That place of solitude is growing in my spirit every day but it is not big enough yet for me to disappear into.
In my travels in life I have had many sacred places and they still remain in my memory but the one most sacred is the one where I can find sanctuary NOW. For this moment that place is the front porch in the picture. (This link leads to my Facebook where there is a short video of my sanctuary in the rain.) It is far from perfect with it’s noise but today when the rain was falling, even amid the noise of the traffic, I was able to find silence and peace between the cars and the breaths.
What makes a place sacred?
Certainly not the lack of noise though that would be nice. Only the noises of nature around me would be good: a light rain falling on the broad leaves of summer growth, small songbirds and ground animals scurrying about, a gentle breeze in the pine and maple.
Water is also something which, for me, adds depth and calm. It could be the soft falling rain like today’s, the rush of a water fall, the small ripples on the shore of the beach, or the roaring of waves in a storm. All bring their own depth of meaning and stirring of the soul.
Paramount to sanctuary is a comfortable seat while I will admit walking offers it’s own special sense of sanctuary. Today it is my lovely old Muskoka chair with the bright green cushions. In days past it has been a rock along the shore of Lake Erie or a dock on the Severn River or Lake Couchiching. There were even times when the corner of my bed offered sanctuary or a big ugly chair in the noisy rotunda at college. Whatever the posture it needs to one which affords comfort and does not provoke pain.
In that perfect sanctuary within myself even pain would not be a hindrance to peace. That will take some discipline and a strong spirit I am sure.
Most often for me sanctuary also includes a pen and paper and when it is my journal in hand the physical place is of less importance than feeling of solitary. I have kept a journal for most of my adult life and it is a part of me. When I journal I can do it anywhere so long as no one is looking over my shoulder or there are no demands of my time. It is a place and a time I carve out of my day and it the most private part of my heart.
One of the tests for a physical place of sanctuary is that others find it a sanctuary as well. A friend of mine who was without a car wanted to visit her special place and asked if I would take her there. As we headed down the road it became apparent to me where we would end up so I said to her that she didn’t need to give me directions. I took her right to the spot because it was also a spot where I have found sanctuary. Strangely she also finds peace on my front porch.
As I think of my past and the places I have found this wonderful rest of my spirit they include a cottage called Jubilee, a place I worked called Fern Resort, the lake bank of my childhood home, my Grandmother’s kitchen, my Uncles hay mow, a farm lane, a snow covered ski run on a mountain in Quebec, that noisy rotunda at college, and the pier in Port Dover during a storm.
I have recently discovered Rilke. He has much to say about solitude and this is one of those things: “But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke,
May you find your sacred place today. Blessings.