I believe in sacred spaces. These are the places you happen upon and for a reason that is not known to you, (and will never be known to you), feel like home.
As a kid I knew I wanted to write so I understood the value of sacred spaces early in life. I’d tuck my body into the below-grade casement windows of our apartment house and hide from the world. This was the very first room of my own, a place to write, daydream, practice solitude.
Where is your sacred space? It should be close to home so you can visit it whenever you need to. I have several:
The foot of a yellow birch tree in the Naugatuck Forest. Someone carved a date, 1969, into the bark years ago and now the numbers are as broad as children’s blocks.
Meigs Point, Hammonassett Beach.
My writing room.
These are places where it feels natural to be alone, go inward, be still. There’s too much talking in the world and I’m the worst offender, filling exquisite silence with nonsense chatter. I don’t know why I do it. I think it’s an uneasiness with silence when in human company. Shouldn’t we talk? Engage in polite, filler conversation? Silence is uncomfortable.
Seeking solitude can be misinterpreted by those around you. Anti-social, detached, self-indulgent, a loner. I’ve been called all of the above, but only in solitude can I find the solution to a niggling problem, get creative, find a new way of looking at my past or my future.
When I’m in one of my sacred spaces, I don’t feel any pressure to talk to myself. Silence is easier. More natural, a welcome change. Think of a piece of music that never pauses. It’s the pause between notes, known as a ‘rest’ or ‘breath’ that allows us to hear the music, understand it’s significance. Without the pause to rest, music would be exhausting to listen to. Life is a little like that.
Solitude helps me feel grounded, centered, connected to my life. No phones, no social media, no reaching out. Social media is often a two-edged sword for me; too much posting or scrolling and I feel separated. I have in mind an image; an ocean of hands grasping for something just out of reach. For me, that’s social media.
Solitude. It can feel dangerous. It takes courage to step away from the rabbit-like heartbeat of the world and pause for a moment or two, but it’s the ‘rest’ you need and it can change your life.