"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.