skip to Main Content

Where is your sacred place?

More than ever we need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration. When we’ve been through—or are going through—a time of upheaval, we need the permission to give ourselves the gift of stillness and sanctuary. To remember the sufficiency that is alive and well inside. When I see only scarcity, I miss the fact that every single one of us has been gifted with creativity, abundance, heart, love, passion, gentleness, helpfulness, caring, kindness, tenderness, restoration and a shoulder to lean on (for crying or for dancing, depending on the mood at the time). Stillness and sanctuary: This is the paradigm of sufficiency.

Invited to guest preach at another parish, Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor asked the priest, “What do you want me to talk about?”
“Come tell us what is saving your life now,” he told her.
Taylor writes, “I did not have to say correct things that were true for everyone. I did not have to use theological language that conformed to the historical teachings of the church. All I had to do was figure out what my life depended on. All I had to do was figure out how I stayed as close to that reality as I could, and then find some way to talk about it that helped my listeners figure out those same things for themselves.” (From An Altar in the World)

Joseph Campbell says that we must “have a room, or a certain hour (or so) a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be… if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
With plenty of disquieting news (yo-yoing between must-watch and fixation) this week, we need sacred places to ground us. But if I’m honest, I won’t deny that some weeks the world feels too heavy, the kind of heaviness that makes me want to just go sit in my garden (even if only in my mind), ignore the noise, pull a few weeds, open a bottle of wine, eat dark chocolate and listen to Otis Redding. I want avoid all conversations that presupposes the very worst.

Yes, I know that bad stuff happens. But I also know that it’s not about what can go wrong, it’s about where we choose to look, or see, or how we pay attention.
And more importantly, it is about recognizing that we get to say how the story ends.

I’m writing this on the airplane heading toward Englewood Beach (on Florida’s west coast on Manasota Key), where I return every May to spend a few days with some old friends. It’s a ritual. And yes, they are old, as in we’ve been friends a long time–over 35 years. And yes, they are old, as in they (like me) take an odd pleasure in getting their AARP discount at the movie theater. We’ll spend the days on Ed’s boat, swapping stories, talking about the way life is, and the way life should be if we were in charge. And how life is not easy for some of us–struggles and challenges with family, or jobs, or health, or the news, or marriages, or retirement and making ends meet, or expectations. Or all of the above. 

We don’t use our time making a Bucket List (or replay yesteryear’s regrets… well maybe a little), but instead, enjoy the days with its endowment of gifts, taking great delight in the little things.
When the sun dissolves on the horizon, and the water turns the color of spewed lava, my friend Ed blows a conch shell. It is his variation on a Benedictine Compline, a prayer to end the day. We raise our glasses and toast life and these moments of grace.
One night of our gathering a few years ago, on the boat we returned from dinner late, well after dark. This is a dicey affair (I had no idea). We were in the intracoastal-waterway, a stretch along the western coast of Florida from Sarasota to Long Boat Key to Manasota Key and Boca Grande, filled with islands and peninsulas, and vast mango groves, looking prehistoric, or like perfect hideaways for a Carl Hiaasen novel.
In places the water is shallow, only a foot or so above sand bars. So, traveling after dark is not just an adventure. It can be dangerous (on the shoals and all that, not to mention pirates, although retired Floridians in polyester shorts don’t provoke the requisite amount of terror and panic.)
Ed’s tone is clear, “Watch that red blinking light. Pay attention. We need to stay left of that. If we don’t, we’re on a sand bar.” In other words, this is a trip that requires watchfulness.

Yes… to navigate any difficult water in our lives, we need markers.
“Everyone needs a sacred place,” Joseph Campbell reminds us.
A place of stillness and sanctuary and sufficiency.
Here’s the deal: This is a non-negotiable.
Where is your sacred place?
We do not go there merely to fulfill an obligation.
We do not go there just to be a good person.
We do not go there to impress people we know.
We go there because if we don’t go, we lose a part of our soul.
That night we paid attention to the red light.
And we made it to the harbor safely. Here’s what I learned: One light at a time.
I hope the same for you.

I enjoyed a good weekend at Siena Retreat Center (Racine, WI). Our topic; Creating Spaces for Self-Care. We shared stories, conversations and laughter. And a delightful surprise heart-replenishment for me, on my walk through the woodland down to the edge of Lake Michigan, the hillside blanketed with a choir of blooming Trillium. A flower that channels peace and rebirth. My Oh My…

I’m looking forward to a few days of napping and reading and combing the beach for shark’s teeth. Also hoping tonight to catch a glimpse of the spectacular supermoon (also a blood moon—thanks to a lunar eclipse).

Quote for your week…
Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Joseph Campbell


Today’s Photo Credit:  “Terry, thank you for sharing light to lighten our darken souls. Light on the mountain in Waynesville, NC.”  Sandy Jamieson… Thank you Sandy… Keep sending your photos… send to
Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365)
August 12 – 14 — Mary and Joseph Center, Rancho Palos Verdes
CA, Soul Gardening: Sacrament of the Present Moment.

NEW Book – Stand Still: finding balance when the world turns upside down
NEW Audio SM… Enjoy — Relentless tenderness
Join us every Wednesday… Audio Sabbath Moment

Letters that do my heart good…
–Hi, Terry, Thanks you for showing us Irv & Dottie & their 3 “kids”. Always love hearing about them. Thanks you for SM everyday that lifts my heart no matter what is going on in my life. God bless you, Sue
–Oh my, that rousing Springsteen version of “This Little Light of Mine” should be an anthem for every Monday morning! And, I’m retired! Ha. I’ve been following you for quite some time and so enjoy your Sabbath Moments. Thank you! Anna Olympia WA
–I don’t know why I never thought to find you on FB? I rely and watch for your emails. Another source to be included in your daily Wisdom. I’m savoring your new book. A chapter each morning. You have a gift, and a heck of a sense of humor and a joy in your heart. Thanks Terry for being the vessel of these present moments. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my wash is hanging. Blessings! Donna 


Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Joseph Campbell

I Kiss My Angel
When No One Is Looking,
I want to kiss my angel,
I thank her for bringing me love,
and an open heart,
and my sweet farm,
and my friends,
And a wonderful dog,
to walk with me,
I thank her for not teaching me to hate,
and live in fear,
or turn my heart to stone.
and for my words,
and for my pictures,
I thank her for cracking open my heart,
I swallow pride and regret,
and chew on hope and connection,
She took some of my selves and
sent them off to walk in the deep woods,
and find their peaceful place.
When no one is looking,
I lift my hand to my heart,
and blow her a kiss,
she showers me with apple blossoms in return.
Jon Katz (from his blog bedlamfarm)

Be Still and Know
There lives deep within each human heart
a poet and a maker of music.
And if you are still and listen you can hear
the music of this human life, YOUR life.
For the maker of all life and love bids you,
bids you to come.
Come and play the music, hear the poetry,
be still and know!
(c) Sandy Ozanich

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top