Parker Palmer: Sanctuary, Sacred Spaces

Parker Palmer: Seeking Sanctuary in Our Own Sacred Spaces

"At times something happens that makes us hypersensitive to all that threatens our souls. Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer. It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm: it’s about spiritual survival. Today, seeking sanctuary is no more optional for me than church attendance was as a child." Parker Palmer,

“What We Need to Flourish Is Here,” On Being,, September 21, 2016.

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Parker Palmer reminds us how important it is to have a safe place, a sanctuary where we can go to and renew our spirit when we are wounded, when all around us is falling apart, when we lose our direction. It is indeed about spiritual survival. I think of people who live in crowded quarters, multiple families in a few rooms, refugees in camps. How do they ever renew their spirit? Perhaps this is factor in their unrest.

I have had so many sanctuaries, my bedroom growing up, a cigar box filled with sacred treasures, my grandparents’ home, a school, a dock, a river, a woods, listening to music, playing music, singing, a chapel, a person, many other bedrooms, a church camp, many offices with little altars, a dress shop, books, paintings, a favorite hotel, a writer, a daily walk, museums, phone calls, a chair, a beach, a balcony, a church, special friends.

Today my sanctuary is writing, trying to clear thoughts from my head and move them from my head to my body. I give thanks that somehow these sanctuary places came about at the right time. The seemingly healthiest friends I have all have sanctuaries and are not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about them.

Of course, there are the dangerous sanctuaries, food, alcohol, drugs, work, shopping, relationships which are temporary dwellings built on sand.



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