Sharing Sacred Spaces ~ continued

{photo: Lara Osis}

In front of these candles and my little Buddha is a place of sanctuary for me. I created this sacred space at a time of chaos and confusion in my life – with the resolute determination to have this one space be clear and calm and reserved for quiet inner practice. Though I forget it too easily, I am reminded when I am drawn to light these candles and sit still with this light and silence, to breathe (the most basic human activity) and to meditate (a more refined human activity).

Though I talk a lot, I also listen; and to listen with awareness and an open heart has always brought me closer to God, to myself and to others. Being in silence is a way to clear what I may have inadvertently picked up, process what I have stirred up within me and remind myself to offer to others what I have received through my heart.

To me, to feel the presence of that which is sacred is to feel blessed and alive.

{photo: Lara Osis}

Advertisements

Sanctuary

{photo: Ariel Milinsky}

{photo: Ariel Milinsky}

In today’s world, we create sanctuary by going inward, to the sacred ‘ground of being’. ” 

– Dr. Beth Hedva {Embodied Awareness Manual, p. 169}

The concept of sanctuary is an ancient one and was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and Israel. In Medieval Europe outlaws and criminals (even murderers and thieves) could seek asylum and find sanctuary if they made it to sacred ground (i.e. a Church) before dark. Safe within the sanctuary of the church, criminals could get some rest, reflect on deeds done, repent and/or seek forgiveness, and know that no one would come up and cut their throat in the night. – Dr. Beth Hedva {Embodied Awareness Manual, p. 169}

This waterfall became my place of sanctuary when I was 12 years old.   We moved out of Detroit to a home on a dirt road located in what is now considered part of the ‘Metro Detroit’ area.

It was 1968. . . a year after the 1967 Detroit ‘race’ riots (fueled by blazing socio-economic disparities), which left the city in ashes.  That same summer I was opening psychically, socially-politically and philosophically.  I found my first book on palmistry in my grandfather’s library; and, was given a deck of Tarot cards by my oldest sister.  I began to look within for ‘answers.’

The crashing sounds of the rushing water drown out the  intensity of my world-weary teenage angst and family life –giving me wordless perspective on life’s irreconcilable mysteries. (Including the paradox of moving to a ‘white’ suburb where being ‘Jewish’ was as much a minority as being ‘white’ was during my first year of Jr. High School at an inner city school in 1968–the year Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr were assassinated.)

Hopping the guard rails and edging my way down the steep hillside, I always found a secure perch by the waterfall. The peace and power of the place returned me to myself.  Musing on the mysteries of my life and our world, while sitting in solitude by those cascading waters, created sanctuary for me, filling all my senses with new perspectives arising from the scent of summer turning into autumn.  Colorful dragonflies dart and dance with each other and me.  Insects, oblivious to the coming changes, continue to buzz about singing their summer songs.  The beauty of  green leaves with filtered sunlight shining through, ….all this brings me home to myself even now, as it did then.

***

Drumheller is a place of sanctuary for me here in Alberta

{photo: Yvonne Milinsky}

as is my own backyard. . .

{photo: Beth Hedva}

Sharing Sacred Spaces

{photo: Carmen Kergan}

This is my favourite chair… also known as my sacred place. I have many sacred spaces, my yoga mat, my yoga studio, the Bodhi Tree, my bathtub and this chair at home… I like to have candles lit when I meditate at home. I also have my crystals in a bag and will choose one when I need something special to reflect upon. I have a journal nearby too, to jot down any insights I may have, or any questions that arise. I tend to drift off to sleep easily in this chair; it is very comfy and my wool blanket is warm and cozy for our chillier days in Calgary! It’s a place where I can relax and just “be”…

***

{photo: Jeanne Lefevre}

This is my sacred space. The serenity and peacefulness of water and the soft, gentle light of candles takes me to a place of clarity and connectedness. Oh, so in the moment.

***

The Snake River in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho is my special place. In August, 2000 I took a two week journey alone into the mountains. During that journey, I had a major Realization regarding my small, yet unique place in the Universal web of life. I felt the connection to all life, including my own small part. I “saw” the web of life. I heard the sounds of nature and life all around me, and I felt the elements surrounding and supporting me. I danced into a new awareness and felt truly alive. It was a moving experience, one which I will never forget. {Bonnie J. Sullivan}

***

{photo: Peggy Lynch}

One of my sacred spaces is my shower. Everyday, well almost everyday I visit. Here I am naked and vulnerable. The water is visceral. I breathe deeply I feel cleansed clear and my problems swirl into the drain. We are made of water. When I allow water to envelope the outside of my body I am one with something much larger. Life. I emerge refreshed. The best thing about this space is when I travel there is always a similar space. A shower.

***

{photo: Martina Jaeckel}

One of my favourite places is Moraine Lake (or Valley of the Ten Peaks) in Banff NP, preferably in the very early morning hours at sunrise (this is when I took this picture in 2006).

{photo: Martina Jaeckel}

It’s a quiet, serene, magical and sacred place. Every time I visit, even during the day with lots of tourists around, I am in awe with the beauty of this place. It brings me back into myself, into appreciation of nature and stillness and “just being”. I always take deep breaths there; the air is fresh and has an earthy, herbal scent to it. I always leave with a sense of “it is good to breathe, it is good to be here”. That’s the essence.

***

{photo: Sylvia Barnowski}

For me a sacred space is a “space within” and simply lighting a candle brings the shift – it helps me to bring attention from the outside and busyness to THIS MOMENT. There are many other things that help me to stop and access that space within and to connect with myself and something beyond. Noticing beauty in nature, in people, or ordinary objects is another way to enter the sacred space.

I keep a statue of Buddha close to the entrance of my home. I find it beautiful and it also has a symbolic meaning – it points to “something beyond”, something unlabelled. So, every time I pass this statue I am reminded about the spiritual dimension of my life. I like to surround the statue with fresh flowers to add even more beauty and more meaning. Usually my daughter assists me with the task of choosing the vase for different flowers and sometimes she makes her own arrangements. She usually puts the flowers under the Buddha’s nose which I find both – hilarious and very thoughtful at the same time.

The sacred place, the place where my soul feels at home is the FOREST, with its smell, hidden lives, majestic stillness and magic. Walking barefoot in the forest connects me to the Sacred in ways beyond description.

{photo: Sylvia Barnowski}