Do you have a “sacred place?” A privileged place that connects you to the depths of yourself, to your personal history and to your dearest beings dreams and memories?
We all need our own sacred places, whether they are in a building or a particular piece of the landscape. They often become sacred due to their associations with important events, people or times. They are separate from our daily lives and provide a safe and welcoming setting for us to be alone, to think deeply and to express our emotions openly. They are places where we can reflect on our lives, make sense of things and nurture wisdom of our thoughts.
Visiting them when needed keeps us grounded and refreshes our hearts, minds and souls. Our sacred places provide us with important connections to our previous selves and nourish our aspirations for the future we hope for.
I have three sacred places. None of them are in a building.
Since my first night visit in 1981, Provincetown, Massachusetts – the small town at the tip of Cape Cod – has been a sacred place for me. I was 22 that summer, a year after graduating from an evangelical college where being gay was grounds for expulsion from school and doomed to hell. My visit to “P-town” showed me openly happy homosexuals dancing together, holding hands in the street. It was the first place I felt “normal” and it totally changed my life.
I have visited P-town regularly over the past 40 plus years to be reminded of that feeling. I also learned to carry P-town in my heart, to remind myself when needed that embracing my truth is the key to a fulfilling life.
I first hiked Bluff Point as a kid in the 1960s. The Groton, Connecticut Nature Preserve extends into the waters of Long Island Sound. I was going there with the boys next door. We hiked, played sports and played sexually – my first experiences. The sex seemed just another part of our friendship and set the standard for what became my ideal later in life.
When I moved “home” to eastern Connecticut in 2007, at age 48 – after 30 years “away”, as New Englanders say – I rediscovered Bluff Point. It surprised me to realize that it had been four decades since I had been there for the first time.
Over the next 14 years I regularly hiked, biked, and kayaked the two and a half miles to the cliff. I reflected on the things that were happening in my life in my Moleskine notebook. I reveled in the seclusion of the long sandbar beach near the cliff. It provided me with the escape I needed during my mother’s often difficult final years when I was her roommate. caregiver.
Visiting Bluff Point has become an important part of my self-care. It connected the middle-aged me to the long-ago boy I was when I first went there. It gave me a strong sense of continuity and I marveled at how my life had brought me back to where I started, through many dangers, toils and pitfalls, back to where I started. – the very place where I felt I needed to escape when I left as teenager. Now I was back as a grown man who could fully appreciate the beauty and simplicity of where I grew up.
My third sacred place is also in Connecticut and it is a beautiful piece of scenery. It’s a big field and the woods around it in North Franklin. I first went to Franklin Swamp over ten years ago when I started meeting a man who has become my favorite friend with benefits. We started as strangers connecting through a Craigslist personal ad. Over the years, I came to appreciate our extensive conversation, the cannabis that usually accompanied it, and the benefits of our outdoor friendship.
The Heart of My Sacred Place is at Franklin Swamp in North Franklin, Connecticut, as seen on October 26, 2022.
Over the years, my special friend and our place have come to be a powerful life-affirming force that has sustained me through the leanest and lowest days of my life.
I struggled to make a living in the largely remote area where work for health/medical writers is non-existent, and it was difficult at best to stay plugged into my professional network. Talking about the struggles with money and my mother with my friend, and being able to escape them and enjoy the overwhelming sensory experience we shared, helped me stay as balanced as possible during those difficult years.
Sometimes I visited the swamp without my friend. I savored its beauty, its many shades of green in the summer and its stunning colors in the fall. I walked in the surrounding woods, reflected in my notebook, and reveled in the intense memories of my many times there with him. I was taking pictures of the field and the trees, documenting the changing seasons of the field.
I wept bitterly there after learning in October 2014 that my dear friend whom I had known since adolescence had committed suicide, just like his younger brother had many years earlier. I cried there again only a month later when I returned to bury my long-loved 18-year-old cat, Phineas. I cried there after mum died in October 2019.
I cried again when I visited “my field” (as I call it) at the end of October this year. “I began to cry as I entered the field,” I wrote in my notebook, reflecting on “that return to the place where I brought my sorrows and my tears, cried out to heaven in pain and ecstatic joy as flocks of geese flew overhead – and in the ecstatic sounds of Orgasm.”
My sacred places have kept me grounded in my history and provided me with touchstones against which to measure my life. They connect me to events, people and moments in my life. They remind me of who I am, where I come from and what I am.
And you? Do you have a sacred place? What does this mean to you? Where is he? Why is it sacred to you? When do you visit it?
#Find #strength #sacred #place