As above, so below
– traditionally attributed to the Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus
My first impression, after the initial shock of the recent burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in France, was that of Quasimodo, in the 1939 film version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, proclaiming “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” as he displayed his precious Esmeralda in his arms while standing on a cathedral balcony. He had just swung down to rescue the gypsy girl from being hanged as a witch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_p8khzyK-E).
Sanctuary! I feel that we all should be proclaiming this sacred place for ourselves as we rescue and protect that wild and soulful gypsy-like part of ourselves from the crazy, chaotic war of worlds that rages at us from all sides. This kernel of self is delicate, precious and needs to be cherished – or else it will fold in upon itself, shrivel and, if not die, go to a place so hidden that we may not be able to recover if we aren’t careful. This is the core of being that keeps us human so that we may respond to life with love, creativity and compassion.
What is a sanctuary? I found several definitions: a sacred place, such as a church, temple, or mosque; the condition of being protected or comforted; immunity to arrest; a place of refuge or asylum. I see it as a space within our homes which we can claim and proclaim that this is a holy space where we can breathe, meditate, contemplate, review, dream, create, vision and envision with that scared self that needs attention, but which we so often neglect.
Your sanctuary can be as simple as a chair in a quiet corner of your home – away from any form of interrupting media. Turn your phone off, too. This could be a bedroom, the basement, a closet, a hallway. Be creative as you look for that quiet space which exists somewhere in your home. How about an extra chair in the bathroom? Even the ritual of bath-taking can create sanctuary. Mine is a comfy chair, ottoman and small table in a corner of the living room.
If you can, outfit your spot with soulful comforts: a candle, pictures, crystals, a plant, a journal to write down thoughts. If space won’t allow, a place to sit is enough.
My outdoor sanctuary is the swing shown in the above photo. I have a city yard, but I make the best of it.
Be a little selfish with time to visit your sanctuary. If you have to make a date with yourself to parcel out that fifteen or twenty minutes with sacred self, that’s what you commit to do.
Your sanctuary is where you pull down bits and pieces of heaven into your own sacred self and make it your own. It’s your divine inspiration. Your heavenly breath.
Be bold and brave in claiming your sanctuary. Maybe, like Quasimodo, it’s time for you to go on a rescue mission.