I wanted to write a blog post about the New Year. About intentions. About that one special word that is the inspiration I choose to focus on for 2017. But that’s not what happened when I sat down to write. What happened was a bit more unexpected, a bit more raw. And I think it’s worth sharing because what transpired has been delightfully surprising.
Waking up on January 2nd, after a full week of holiday festivities I was overcome overcome, not by gratitude, which would have been wonderful, or by a feeling of abundance and blessing, which would have also been fantastic. No. I was overcome with fear, worry, anxiety. Not exactly what I was hoping for, given that I had just turned the page over to a whole new year on the refrigerator calendar.
I was thinking about things. Weighty, big things, like the future, my career, how to make it all work, if I would ever be able to retire (and deciding probably not). I got myself into such a twist with this train of thought that I couldn’t sleep that night. My stomach was in a knot. My beloved husband snoring his beloved lungs out. My legs aching (if this is what Restless Leg Syndrome feels like, I need to stop smirking at that tv commercial advertising the pharmaceutical remedy). Even my cat was howling at the top of her lungs. Apparently, just not a good night for anyone other than the above-mentioned, oblivious, snorer.
And so I tossed and turned. Relocated to the sofa for a change of venue, only to find the outdoor holiday lights shining in my eyes. Then I realized I was hot and uncomfortable. Nothing was right. Nothing felt soothing. In that moment, I have to admit to you that I chose misery and suffering. It was mine and no one was going to take it from me.
I woke up early the next morning (which always happens after a sleepless night), went for a walk, meditated and somewhat calmed my overactive mind. I started writing my morning pages and opened up the doors and windows to let the balmy morning air into the house. All of the sudden, it was like a switch flipped on.
I started noticing things.
Dappled sunlight across my notebook.
Birds chirping right outside my back patio screen.
Breezes rustling the palm fronds in the trees.
The beautiful puppy sleeping in the chair across from my writing table.
My husband bringing me a fresh cup of coffee. I sipped it and had the notion that it was truly ambrosia. And ok, I forgave him for the snoring sins of the previous hours.
All of the sudden I realized, it’s okay. I am right where I need to be. All is well. And all will continue to be well.
All of the sudden I realized my sanctuary was doing it’s job.
It was pointing me back in the right direction, humming with the tune I had forgotten. Sitting there in my intentionally peaceful surroundings, my thoughts and attention were redirected away from the transient musings of my (practically insane) mind and on to what is real — this moment, this place, these people, right now.
So it is with no small bit of irony that I announce this news: Sanctuary really works!
It might seem silly that I should be amazed and delighted by the effect of my own sanctuary — this is my thing, after all. But holy guacamole it’s so great when I re-realize how powerful and effective my peaceful, sacred space is. What an agent of change and transcendence.
And you know what flipped the switch on that magical morning of January 2, 2017? Opening the doors. Reconnecting with Nature. Allowing that beauty from the outdoors to flow into my sanctuary. Erasing those boundaries between outside and inside, embracing those calming, healing properties of our natural world and welcoming them right inside. Now, I do realize that I am the lucky duck that lives in Naples, Florida and therefore even in the winter, I can fling open my doors with abandon. Maybe you don’t live in a warm climate, but you can still go outside for a walk. Or add a sweet, little houseplant to your desk by the window. There are lots of ways we can reconnect with the natural world — and doing so will always help us reach a better frame of mind, a calmer place inside ourselves.
SO YES. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED. My sanctuary rescued me. It lifted me up and replenished my spirit. It brought me back to the truth of who I am and what is important to me. This has been so much better than a resolution, a word intention, or a goal.
It’s been a revelation. One that I can hang my hat on.
2017 is hereby deemed the Year of Sanctuary, at least for me. I hope it is a year of sanctuary for you too. If you are wondering how to bring nature into your sanctuary space, leave me a comment or a question below. Let’s talk about it!