To make something sacred is to hold it with reverence, awe or respect. It’s an idea that I have been, thankfully, able to lean into more and more as I sit in wild and beautiful places on the Beara Peninsula.
Recently I was in the city. I was out of my routine and my usual wild Beara habitat, and I was thinking about how easy it is to tune in to what is sacred when I’m at ‘home’. The views of the expansive Atlantic, the stark rocky sea edges the Mishkish mountains, the Curlews and Plovers, hawks and even the otters and stoats that I know are watching while I sit by the shore, all offer graceful invitations to reverence, respect and awe.
In the city, I need to honour the laws of traffic and accept the sometimes machine-like qualities of living and working in close proximity with so many others. I do in many ways enjoy the anonymity the city offers, the access to culture and the vibrancy, but I find my nervous system is easily agitated by the sharper edges of life here. This feels all the starker when I sense a pang of longing for the peace and awe I feel at ‘home’.
I have been wondering about some of the ways we can make our daily doings sacred, even when we’re in the middle of a city. I have listed a few here.
Take a few moments to simply pause.
Invite a little spaciousness and notice this space in between actions, places and ideas. Bring your awareness to the possibility of a different tempo, the micro gaps between thoughts and the spaciousness that lies silently between our daily doings.
Honour the pause by taking a few deep breaths, stretching your body, closing your eyes and tuning in to your senses. Let yourself acknowledge the gift and privilege of the choices you hold to pause and breathe more space into your day.
Notice how this feels in your body.
Seek out places of peace and calm. Go out of your way to find a tree in a park or a place to watch swans and ducks on a river or stream. Find a quiet peaceful place to sit. Often the light, sound, acoustics and smells of a church or art gallery with be distinctly peaceful and offer an abundance of space to lean into your senses.
Today I found myself seeking out the quieter pedestrian streets, a quiet church, my favourite trees and I walked on the sunnier side of the street to bathe in the winter sunlight. These simple things brought me multiple micro-moments of peace and awe.
It was the full moon a few days ago and I’ve been watching it the last few nights — noticing it getting plumper,t then thinner and remembering what this means for the tides and the landscape of the sea.
On Dursey and around Beara the fishermen grew up with the rhythms of the moon and tides built into their knowing, along with their knowledge of the seasons and the changes in the land.
Let the regular practice of simple pausing, honouring and seeking peaceful places nourish and deepen your awareness of the longer natural cycles of seasons and moon phases.
Express in some way these moments of reverence and awe. Gather simple items from nature, write some words, draw some lines, sing some notes or any other way that allows you to mark it.
Create a place to gather these moments: a notebook, a gratitude jar, a mandala or an altar.
These are just a few simple ways that you can make make your life sacred — what other ways allow you to make your life and your daily doings sacred?
I leave you with this wonderfully apt poem by Mary Oliver.
Wishing you a beautiful week.
“It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”Mary Oliver