Creating a Personal Sanctuary


Sanctuary”: a place of refuge or safety.

I’ve thought a lot about this word during the past few months.

I’ve been feeling exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted. I’m usually pretty resilient and resourceful. But now it seemed that everywhere I turned there was uncertainty.  I know friends and family who thrive in times like these and I envy their natural buoyancy. I’m not of this breed. My ideal environment is predictable, orderly, and secure. And right now that ideal isn’t easily sustained.

That’s when I started to think seriously about the word “sanctuary”. I began to feel that this was exactly what I needed. I ordered and read beautiful books on the subject. I listened to TedTalks. I scoured the internet for information.  And I did learn a lot from all of these. They educated me on how to create quiet physical spaces in which I could place objects that would calm me and inspire a peaceful state of mind – things like a candle, a soft pillow, a framed photo of a loved one or meaningful setting, a rosary or other meditation mala, a trinket to evoke a particularly joyous memory.  Maybe a white noise machine.  (Just listing this collection, I really do feel a sense of peace.)

Yes, a physical sanctuary definitely would help. I’m an early riser so in this beautiful spring/summer weather, I often retreat to a favorite spot in my tiny little garden to journal soon after the sun rises.  Here, as a new day begins, surrounded by nature, by birds’ song, by the sunshine dappled upon the trees, I write my thoughts, my feelings, my prayers and my gratitude . It’s a blessing to start my day this way.

But the more I thought about the word, the more I felt that a sanctuary was this and so much more. In my mind, a sanctuary can be (and in my case, is) much more than a visible, physical refuge.

For me, and hopefully for you, too, the family is a sanctuary. The most significant times in my life – joyous or not so much – are ocurred when I’m in the presence of my husband, children, grandchildren, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews. I am blessed with a large family and always, when I’m with any or all of them, there, those moments with them are my refuge, my sanctuary.

I feel the same about my friends around whom I always feel loved, accepted and secure.  My piano, my gardening, reading and writing, knitting – all are virtual sanctuaries where I feel safe and distracted from that ever-intrusive noise and chaos. Even my dog, Maggie, lifts me up and gives me a sense of well-being.

And, as I was thinking about all this, I realized that there are certain constants in my life that I feel will never change…no matter what may shift in the world around me. Here’s my list…

Ten Things I’m Ever Sure Of

Family love is deepest, widest, and forever.

Life is always worth the risk.

Sitting on a park bench in midday is never wrong.

I can never love too much.

Self-care is critical…never selfish.

It’s never too late to say I’m sorry and truly mean it.

Enjoying the journey, and those we meet along the way, is more important than arriving.

Just as day will always follows night, there will be smiles to follow tears.

Laughter really is good medicine.

I am so richly blessed!

What do you do, where do you go to find peace in our crazy world?  What beliefs do you hold that you know will never change? Please share your thoughts with the rest of us.