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Creating Sanctuary


We, as a collective are living in some very unpredictable, chaotic times. Between the pandemic (and the myriad of challenges within that) and our unstable political system, it is easy to feel destabilized and overwhelmed within ourselves.

I think these times call for each of us to be very intentional with our self-care. It is important to find moments to find inner calm so we can be responsive (and not reactive) to our individual needs, our families, friends, our clients, and our community. It is important to find a place of sanctuary. Sanctuary is defined as “a place of refuge or safety”.

With all the fear and worry in the collective field these days, wouldn’t it be nice to experience a sense of refuge and safety? We can if we create it.

What is your sanctuary?

There are many ways to experience sanctuary. One is to intentionally create sanctuary. Another is to open to the little moments of sanctuary.

When you are feeling a sense of overwhelm or anxiety you could intentionally give yourself some time to create your refuge and settle your nervous system. There are many ways to do this. There is a practice called “hugging til you are relaxed” that David Schnarch discusses in his book called The Passionate Marriage. Basically, two people hold each other in a loving embrace until both nervous systems are settled. If you don’t have a partner or a dog (my dog Roscoe loved this!), you can still do this for yourself with your blankie and pillow. Just wrap yourself up and hold yourself in a big hug or stack pillows around yourself so it feels like a hug.

What else? You could take a walk or sit out in nature. You might listen to or dance to a favorite piece of music. Some people find meditation a sanctuary by helping them to find the quietude within.

Setting the intention for creating sanctuary for yourself is really giving yourself a loving gift. The way you might hold a frightened or overwhelmed child gifting yourself this time creates a place of refuge and safety. All is well. Everything is going to be ok. I love you.

Another way to experience Sanctuary is what I call “sips of sanctuary” where you experience the sweet little moments of sanctuary – such as the birds singing, or the sound of your children laughing (when they are getting along), or something cute your cat does.

Little sips throughout the day can fill you up. They also can really perk up your feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain – little squirts of dopamine! One thing about these sips though… you have to be open to noticing them. Sometimes, it can be so easy to miss the little things. When we are worried about being late, or how many things there are to get done or who didn’t pick up their mess in the house, etc. But if we slow down just a bit, open and look, listen, feel we can experience these little moments that can vitalize us. We can drink them into our cells.

I will share a few of my sips of sanctuary…

I am touched deeply every morning as the mamma and her 2 fawns walk through the yard.

We have these quirky blue jays tapping on the rain gutter reminding us to put out those dang peanuts. I could be annoyed by them, but they are so clever and cunning. And their blue feathers!

The first few sips of my English Breakfast tea with the right amount of milk. The whole cup is usually good but the first few sips … ahhh… so good!

There is a young boy in my neighborhood – we have never met but when I drive by on my way to work, he smiles and waves. My heart warms.

I will gently ask again? What is your sanctuary? What little sips are you noticing? Or that you could make a point to notice.

Every little sip can make life feel oh so much richer. And like a refuge. A miraculous sanctuary.

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