The Gift of Sanctuary
There are many ways to hold sanctuary.
May I be one of them.
-Sheniz Janmohamed, Reminders of the Path
Welcome to the Reflection for November!
It is over 20 years ago that the visionary seeds for Spirit Garden were planted in my imagination. At that time, I felt drawn to create and hold space for fellow spiritual seekers in need of some replenishment and nurturing. The words that came to me about the essence of Spirit Garden were: sanctuary, safe harbour, a soft place to land, a haven.
Over the past twenty years, I have encountered many helping hands along the journey of realizing this vision. There have been people that have inspired me and that have invited me to offer programs and retreats alongside them. Spirit Garden has evolved through the years with the assistance of many kindred spirits who believed in the vision I was holding.
We all need these companions on our journey as we offer our gifts and services to the world. We need those who encourage us, listen to us, and help us weather the ups and downs of living into our vision.
As we enter the season of Advent, this month’s Spirit Garden Reflection centres around the theme of having companions for the journey.
As I send out this month’s reflection, I do so, as always, with the hope that there might be a nugget in here that speaks to your heart. May you experience a moment of gentleness and sanctuary as you spend time with the reflection. May you know how grateful I am that you are on this journey with me.
With companioning blessings,
A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
The Gift of Sanctuary
The audio file below offers an Advent reflection on the Gift of Sancturay. The reflection is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences around this theme. Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.
You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself, perhaps light a candle and wrap a shawl around you as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the reflection and then answer the questions. May this be a nourishing and replenishing time of some soul tending.
Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this month’s reflection.
Though I have shared Carrie Newcomer’s song, Sanctuary, before in a Spirit Garden Reflection, it felt like the right song to accompany this Advent reflection. May the words and images inspire you in this season that celebrates reaching out to others with love.
Creating Sanctuary Poem
In this month’s reflection, I shared a poem called Creating Sanctuary. You can download and print a copy of the poem by clicking on the button below.
Spirit Garden Moments
Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection. Below is an invitation to a moment of prayer for you and for our world.
A Time to Pray
There are times when we feel, quite simply, far too small to contain everything we are feeling.
We pray when our hearts are overflowing.
These days, I have had many beautiful encounters with friends and colleagues in which our conversation about all that is happening in our lives and our world has sparked a spontaneous desire to pray together. Perhaps, you too, are feeling a bubbling need in your heart to join your prayers with others. I have reached out to a dear friend and colleague, Rev. Mary-Margaret MacPherson to write a prayer to offer you. May you find a quiet moment to join your heart in her prayer below:
Holy One, You are with me. You surround me: on my left and on my right, above, beneath, behind and in front of me. For that I am most grateful. When the world churns and crashes around me; sometimes knocking me off my feet, it is good to remember that you are with me. Your strengthening presence is grounding, and I know I am never alone.
When turmoil and fear surround you, gentle reader, remember the Holy One is with you. These days can be so demanding, we can easily begin to feel depleted and hopeless. Our souls can start feeling a little more closed off or ragged than we have known before, and with that, compassion becomes a little harder to share. In light of this, may we be gentle with ourselves and remember to take some time to look around and see the presence of all that is Holy in and around us. Perhaps you will see it in the eyes of a child where joy and love spring forth as they play and delight in the world unaware of our gaze. Perhaps you see it as the morning light seeps through the fog, maybe it’s witnessed in the playful nature of a fox or the power of the blowing wind pushing you and moving all around you. Or maybe it’s as simple as a star beaming bright amidst the darkest skies. May these and all your reminders of Holiness fill you with awe and wonder. Let them seep into your being, your consciousness and your soul. This settling in and awareness of all that is Holy will enable your heart to respond, expand and open again helping you to offer compassion and love for this hurting world, the stranger, your neighbour, a loved one and friends. Gentle reader, be kind to yourself, find hope and peace in the love of all that is Holy which surrounds and strengthens you.
May it be so. Amen.
With prayers and blessings for the journey,
Kathy and Mary-Margaret
As we embark on the Advent journey, may the ancient stories of Christmas stir your imagination. May hope, peace, joy and love stir your heart and may you be attentive to the new visions that wish to be birthed through you.
Connect & Share
Please share any comments about this Reflection in the comments below. Make sure to check out what others are posting and encourage each other!