Healing and Adjusting to Grief and Loss: Sacred Spaces

Connecting with loved ones who are no longer with us is a vital part of healing and adjusting to grief and loss in our lives. There are many ways that we can establish and maintain connections, but just as important is finding a meaningful place, a sacred space to do just that. There could be one or there could be many, but the ‘right’ space for you is the one that fits your lifestyle, your belief system and speaks to your heart with a simple aaahhh, that’s all.

A sacred space is where there is nothing but yourself and what is around you, within you and part of you. It is where you can be nothing or everything, it is where you can give but also receive where you can allow peace, strength and connection to flow through you and nourish your soul.

These are some of my sacred spaces.

* A rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean – I walk the beach often. There is something about being near the ocean that I find incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Sometimes I sit on a rock and just look out at the bottomless sea. Being there automatically puts me in a softer space.

Distractions are few, and when I look up at the sky, I consider what it’s like to be here and then disappear. My loved ones are prominent in my thoughts. I have given my mind the space of stillness to reflect, allow, connect. That time in nature means that I can also benefit from the healing powers of said environment. I can inhale everything it offers me freely. Allowing your space to really touch me in a number of different ways.

* The sanctuary of my home: it could be a room that is peaceful or quiet and feels good to be in. It could also be a special table or bench to display memories of your loved one. A place of memory and connection. Photos, flowers, candles, angels, favorite toys, personal items, spiritual texts… many many items or very few.

I recently had the honor of sharing another person’s grievance and being invited into their homes. Without exception, they had a special area where they could go to remember and connect with their loved one. Each one was shown with special memories that recognized what that person meant to them.

I have them too, one in my office where I am every day and a different one next to my bed. It can be a comforting place that is with us in our everyday world.

* The Tranquility of a Cathedral – I have always found walking into a beautiful old church or cathedral to be a truly relaxing and peaceful experience. There is something about the feel, the smell and the majesty of the huge vaulted ceilings in these places that immediately connects me to some spiritual feeling within me. Being there transports me to a place different from everyday life. Somewhere I can open my heart and allow the feeling of connection to those I have lost to grow larger in my soul.

Many times I have wanted to sit in the stillness of a cathedral or church and absorb everything it could give me, in a vault of silence and peace. Even now, incidentally, I will walk into a church and sit down, for a few minutes or more, and connect with myself and my beautiful others, as I did recently in Sydney.

* Paths with Heart – Labyrinths – I have always been fascinated by the symbolism of mazes and was delighted when I found a local stone maze in a natural shrub garden near my home. I used to visit it often and walk the winding path that led me to its center and back. It was incredibly peaceful.

In recent times when I have walked it has been really amazing. It’s a very difficult thing to explain, but when I was there, it was as if Stuart was there too, there was no separation. After walking the road, I would sit down to write and I still had those writings from a time when it seemed that he was walking with me.

The popularity of mazes is growing, if you can find one near you, give it a try. They have been described as ancient paths of wisdom and peace. My experience with them has been profound.

*Place of Commemoration: I recently spent a few days in the region where my daughter placed a roadside cross. Over the years it has changed. New growth has sprouted around the tree and the cross itself has been tarnished and worn by the elements. It is in a remote place, where the wind whispers through the trees in the stillness. It’s a powerful experience for me to be there. It immediately provides a feeling of connection but also of remembrance, love and sharing.

Visiting the place where your loved one died or where you are memorialized can be a very sacred place to connect.

Centuries ago there would only be cemeteries, and although there still are, now there are many more. Niche walls, roadside memorials, mass memorial walls, and souvenir sculptures. Many of us set up an online memorial site or Facebook page dedicated to our loved ones. The importance of connecting and remembering is something that allows us to grieve and heal. Visiting a memorial site allows us to do this in a tangible way.

Find your sacred space to grieve and allow peace, strength and connection to flow through you and nourish your soul.

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