Seeking Sanctuary…

‘Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul.’     

~ Christopher Forrest McDowell

I believe strongly in the sanctity of location.

That there are places or points on this earth where the spirit of the Divine resides unrestrained.  Where brilliance and peace and hope are present and waiting to touch and fill up any wandering souls.  Where a blessed wonder is accessible to all who pause a moment there.

Most of said places that I have encountered are natural spaces…

An apse-like alcove built of lavender stone and boulder where sunlight dappled through the trees and water’s laughter kept company; a shoreline where self was transported into the endless expanse of the sky and encompassing revelry of the thundering waves; a valley stippled with the vivid confetti of alpine flowers springing from the immaculate snow, just the opening act of a gala unfurling…

But I am fortunate to have also tumbled onto constructed spaces that have, either consciously or not, welcomed the Sacred and now offer refuge and safety to the weary soul…

An ancient cathedral in the Breton countryside where filtered sunbeams caressed the quiet hopes and apprehensions of those who’d left them there; the rock-cut tombs of a long-forsaken Byzantine city carved in celebration and honor of their much-loved inhabitants; a jungle-swathed Mayan temple wrapped in the celestial embrace of morning mist and mystical myth…

It is harder for me to find those spaces now, today, in my newly dressed metropolism…  And yet my need for this sort of refuge becomes more apparent and presses in on me.

My mountain-raised self is becoming more and more confined and crippled by the concrete and steel which now encase my days.  (I am remembering this feeling from my last city-spell…  Then, it sent me running for isolation, but that is not a tangible option right now.)

And so I am seeking the sacrosanct in urban edifices…  In which modern places (in a rather young, progressive western city) might someone have remembered to invite and leave room for the Sacred?  the Divine?

Where might I find the contemporary spaces which can replenish and sustain my dehydrated spirit?  Those filled with the grace, joy and tranquility upon which my real life is dependent?

Where do you find yours?


I previously posted this on a blog I was writing about a year ago. I stopped writing it for various reasons, though I may go back to it at some point in time… However, I find myself experiencing the same longing for Sacred Space again. ~ Perhaps it is the time of year.


8 thoughts on “Seeking Sanctuary…

  1. I often look for sacred spaces in early-morning diners where people who often do hard things try to kick-start their day (with a cup of coffee) and look for a word of encouragement (“You have a great day!)

  2. I find it in the tiny places: a garden, a brief chance encounter with someone. The perfection of a rose, the pure joyous yellow of a dandelion . . .the sort of thing you have to quiet your mind to even notice.
    And in churches and chapels, after services end, the crowds leave, and the stillness returns.

  3. I am like you and seem to find it most easily in nature. Some of my favorite places include the ocean, rivers, lakes, mountains, the Grand Canyon, and the Redwood Forest. Obviously I cannot travel to all these in one day or on a regular basis! Instead I look for local parks with quiet “secret” alcoves, gardens with benches by little ponds. I also love to visit shrines and grottos. has a listing of several such places where I have found I truly feel renewed.

    • What a wonderful link! Thank you for suggesting it! (and I express my jealousy as, though I have made it to many different countries and other continents, I have yet to made it to either of those National Parks! )

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