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}

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