"You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something will eventually happen." ~ Joseph Campbell
Dear Aspen Chapel Families,
This is such a sweet reminder for us, as parents. Can we possibly find a time in the day to forget the appointments we need to make, to ignore the texts and emails, to not worry about our children or the world we're raising them in? How can we be our most divine selves if we don't give ourselves the gift of quiet in a sacred space? How can we really know what to do in our daily matters if we don't listen to the still, small voice within, which is the voice of our highest consciousness? This past week we had company in our house, which meant double the house work and half the time for oneself. All spaces were filled with conversation and time was filled with rushed efficiency to ensure all mouths were fed and bodies hydrated. I found myself toward the end of the week spiraling into self-doubt and anxiety about the growing and impossible to-do lists and anticipating the piles of sheets and dirty bathrooms. But last night I treated myself to a yoga class where time literally stood still. The pace of this class was so slow with very little music...maybe a tap on a healing crystal bowl. In that hour and a half I found my equilibrium again and walked out feeling like everything was possible again. Truly, we need the gift of sabbatical every single day. Parenting often feels like a race track with multiple obstacles to jump over, roll under and dodge almost every day. We can't possibly tackle the demands unless we calm our nervous systems by finding a sacred space where we can breathe, silence the noise in our heads, silence the noise of the world, and to find our inner light and stillness which will keep us upright when circumstances push us off balance. Equally important is to equip our children with the same daily practice: taking a daily break from music, screens, friends, camps, and all stimulation and bring them back to themselves, which can only be found in stillness and silence. This Sunday we will continue to explore the idea of sacred spaces. We'll look at images of sacred spaces people use for worship, both indoors and outdoors, and discuss the qualities we look for that make a place special for us. Children in Sunday School have shared certain places that feel sacred: their bedrooms, the ocean, next to a river, and even within their classrooms when they need a break to be alone. Hopefully as parents we can model self care and the importance of silence for ourselves. Perhaps this will motivate them to create a special place in the home where they can retreat when their sensory systems are overloaded. And by fostering the importance of being still in sacred spaces at home, our children will seek out places in nature and/or places of worship or spiritual practice. The overall lesson is that the most sacred space lies within each and every one of us; but that sacred spaces can facilitate or help us access that space more easily. Have a wonderful weekend, enjoying this glorious summer weather and I hope to see you and your children at the chapel this Sunday!
"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again." ~Joseph Campbell
Dear Aspen Chapel Families,
I apologize for skipping this weekly communication last week. I was with six students on a border immersion program in El Paso/Las Cruces, and didn't have access to the Internet in our guest house. I had intended to begin our "sacred spaces" unit a couple of weeks ago, but because I delivered the Sunday sermon on the 9th and Father's Day was last Sunday, we're beginning the unit officially this Sunday. For those who have lived in this valley for awhile probably have identified a place that brings pure serenity. Maybe it's a mountain valley, a specific trail, a place by a stream, or even a place of worship or yoga studio. As parents, maybe we yearn to sit in those places to shut out the noise of our daily life, with all of its fragmented demands. Our kids have come into a world with even more distractions and demands than we had as children. They have much less down time and the expectations to participate in multiple extra-curricular activities begin much earlier, especially as parents feel the pressure to prepare them for getting into college. Many of us as children had more free play time and open spaces we were allowed to go in to let our imaginations soar. This is no longer the case for our kids, since there's more development, more traffic, more information about safety, and less time. Helping our children identify a sacred space, away from pressure and demands and distractions is critical. It doesn't have to be a high mountain valley; maybe it's under a coffee table or a closet, or a part of the house where the sun comes in just right. We know how important our children's human and pet connections are. They find solace and support in friends, dogs, cats, siblings, and of course their caregivers. But they also need to feel connected to places in their world that bring them peace and a place they can be alone with their thoughts, especially since our friends and family members aren't always physically or emotionally available. This Sunday I'm going to help our kids identify the places they feel safe and peaceful in. We'll discuss whether it's outside or inside, and how these places make them feel. We might explore the idea of heaven and hell. Is heaven a distant place we go to after life on earth? Or is it something we find in this physical life, through our spaces and thoughts? What spaces bring tranquility and peace, and what spaces invite agitation and angst? If we can help our children become AWARE of how a space can be sacred, seeking them out can be a tool for calming their nervous systems and discovering their own independent thoughts and imagination.