“Sanctuary: A place where someone or something is protected or given shelter.”~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
A sanctuary is the place where I escape to when the world has become a bit too much. The place depends on the circumstances. Sometimes its a warm bath or snuggling in my hubby’s arms. For other moments it is the ocean or a tall mountaintop. Occasionally it is a spiritual place or a look inside where my soul can find peace and solitude.
When I was growing up, sanctuary was anywhere my mother was not when she was in one of her moods. My mother could be a loving, happy person one minute and turn into a violent raging beast the next. I learned to keep a watchful eye out for her moods. If I saw the change coming, I would disappear into the gardens or the woods.
I guess I have always sought nature for sanctuary. I find the sounds of birds chirping and tweeting, calming to my active mind. Rustling leaves and waves crashing on a beach or running over a beaver dam sooth my soul. Getting out into nature, away from the world of humans offers peace and relaxation.
Climbing mountaintops offers solitude away from it all. Pushing through the loose sandy beaches, listening to seagulls and terns cry, opens my heart to things beyond myself. One of the most memorable moments of realizing the effect of nature on me, I found standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The vast depths and openness reminded me of how small I am in the world. Just an ant in the scheme of things.
I found sanctuary in part of my life by trading the ocean for the mountains. I still miss the ocean but the mountains have a beautiful calming quality. Leaving is not always the answer or one that will find peace for many but in this instance it worked for me. It gave me a chance to assess, to realize what is important, a chance to learn who I am and what I will be.
Sanctuary is also in having healthy friends and family. Being able to love and be loved without fear. As an adult, I still take time to trust others but I have learned I am strong and resilient. I can protect myself and those I love. I am my sanctuary and when I cannot be, I seek the help of others or run into the protecting arms of nature once again.