As I write this today I am taking some time to refresh and rejuvenate myself at one of my sacred places – a remote beach in the north west of Western Australia. The last time I was here it was nearly five years ago soon after the sudden death of my 18 year old son Stuart. I needed a sacred place at that time. I spent many hours writing to him, talking to him and gazing at the night sky, wondering. The stars became a symbol of a world so close yet so far. It was a time for me to connect into the very essence of him in a place which held some meaning for me.
Today as I spend my time doing the above and more, I am reposting an article that I wrote last year about sacred spaces. Never underestimate the power of some quiet time in whatever your special spaces are for you to bring a little bit of something back into your body and soul.
Connecting with loved ones who are no longer with us is a vital part of healing and adapting to grief and loss in our life. There are many ways we can establish and maintain connections but equally important is finding a meaningful place – a sacred space to do just that. There could be one or there could be many, but the ‘right’ space for you is the one that fits in with your lifestyle, your belief system and speaks to your heart with a simple aaahhh, this is it.
A sacred space is where there is nothing but yourself and that which is around you, within you, and part of you. It is where you can be nothing or everything, it is where you can give but also receive where you can allow peace, strength and connection to flow through you and nourish your soul………Esdeer
Here are some of my sacred spaces
♥ A rocky outcrop looking out to the ocean I walk along the beach often. There is just something about being near the ocean, which I find incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Sometimes, I’ll sit on a boulder and just look out to the fathomless sea. Being there automatically puts me into a more gentle space. Distractions are few and when I look up at the sky, I consider what it is to be here and then gone. My loved ones become uppermost in my thoughts. I have given my mind space the quietness to reflect, to allow, to connect. That time in nature means I can also benefit from the healing powers of such an environment. I can inhale all it offers to me freely. Allowing its space to truly touch me in a number of different ways.
♥ My home sanctuary This could be a room which is peaceful or tranquil and feels good to be in. It could also be a special table or bench for you to display mementos of your loved one. A place of remembrance and connection. Photos, flowers, candles, angels, favourite toys, personal items, spiritual texts…many many items or very few.
Just recently I had the honour of sharing another’s grief and to be invited into their homes. Without exception they had a special area where they could go and remember and connect with their loved one. Each was displayed with special mementos recognizing what that person meant to them.
I have them too, one in my office where I am every day and a different one on my bedside. It can be a comforting place that which is with us in our everyday world.
♥ The quietness of a cathedral I have always found walking into a beautiful old church or cathedral a truly calming and peaceful experience. There is something about the feel, the smell and the majesty of the huge vaulted ceilings in these places which immediately connects me to some spiritual feeling within myself. Being there transports me to somewhere other than the everday. Somewhere I can open my heart and allow the sensation of connection with those I have lost, to become greater in my soul.
Many times, I have wanted to sit in stillness in a cathedral or church and soak up all it could give me, in a vault of silence and peace. Even now, in passing I will enter a church and sit, for a few minutes or longer and connect with myself and my beautiful others, as I did recently in Sydney.
♥ Paths with heart – labyrinths I have always been fascinated with the symbolism of labyrinths and was delighted when I found a local stone labyrinth in a natural bush garden close to my home. I used to visit it often and walk the meandering path which guided me to its centre and back out again. It was incredibly peaceful.
In recent times when I have walked it has been truly amazing. It’s a very hard thing to explain but when I was there, it was as if Stuart was too, there was no separation. After walking the path, I would sit and write and still have those writings of a time when he seemed to be walking with me.
The popularity of labyrinths is growing, if you can find one near you, try it. They have been described as ancient paths of wisdom and peace. My experience with them has been profound.
♥ Place of memorial I recently spent a few days back in the region where my daughter placed a roadside cross. Over the years it has changed. New growth has sprung up around the tree and the cross itself has become tarnished and worn from the elements. It is in a remote location, where the wind rustles through the trees in the stillness. It is a powerful experience for me to be there. It immediately provides a sense of connection but also one of remembrance, love and sharing.
Visiting the place where your loved one has died or they are memorialised can be a very sacred place to connect.
Centuries ago there would have been only cemeteries, and whilst there still are, there is now much more. Niche walls, roadside memorials, mass memorial walls and sculptures of remembrance. There are many of us who establish an online memorial site or a facebook page dedicated to our loved ones. The importance of connecting and remembering is something that allows us to grieve and to heal. Visiting a memorial place allows us to do this in a tangible way.
Find your sacred space for grieving and allow peace, strength and connection to flow through you and nourish your soul
Maureen Hunter is an inspirational writer and grief steps mentor giving comfort and hope to many. She is passionate about helping people to step through grief and build a new and different life after loss, one in which their loved one is always a part of.