ON SACRED GROUND

Today’s article is odd because I’m not sure why I’m writing it. I just know I must.

I’m reading a book on yoga called Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope. Not sure why… Just saw it at a friend’s house, picked it up and it looked interesting. Got my own copy and started meandering through it.

I found a section early on that just grabbed me. The author talks about sacred places, and quotes the famed anthropologist Margaret Mead: “There are certain places on the face of the earth where, for no apparent reason, very special things happen, over and over again.”

Now, I don’t know if Margaret Mead really said that. I did a quick Google search but couldn’t easily find it. (She said a lot of other great things, though!) It did get me thinking about the notion of “sacred places.”

I always think of the cave of Lascaux as a sacred place. Over the years, I’ve met many people who visited the actual cave before it was closed and sealed. All speak of a feeling of profound power and mystery. All felt changed by the experience.

My original body of artwork is inspired by this sacred place.

And yet I have never been there.

Two weeks after 9/11, my family and I visited Lascaux II, a detailed recreation of the main section of the original cave. When we emerged from the darkness, my husband, knowing how important this cave has been to my life as an artist, asked me gently, “Was it okay?” And I answered, “It was….enough.

And it was.

Because my sacred place is not the actual cave. It’s the stories in my heart the cave has inspired.

Every time I feel despair, or feel lost, or feel overwhelmed by the evil in the world, I think about that cave. And I can always seem to find a way back by finding yet another story that tells me a different truth.

I’m sharing this with you today because it occurred to me that “sacred places” can be more than a mere physical location.

It could be a person who always believes in you and your abilities, no matter what.

It can be a small group of people–perhaps a support group of other artists, like those described in Julie Cameron’s bookThe Artist’s Way–who always hold up to you the mirror you can see your artist self in.

It could be an activity–yoga, mediation, prayer, even singing a lullaby–that always brings you back to yourself. Your true self.

It could even be your art.

When we recognize and honor these special places–whether actual places, in our hearts, or in the hearts of others–then no matter how lost or confused we become, we can always find our way back home again.

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6 Comments

Filed under 9/11, art, inspiration, life, marketing, mental attitude, mindfulness

6 responses to “ON SACRED GROUND

  1. Walker Boyle

    Hi Luann, Just stopped by and read your special places. Life is so special and there are so many special places. Art helps us explain and feel how great and special things realy are in life. Love your work and writing. Thanks, Walker

  2. Thanks for sharing. I must look into that book. FOr me that Sacred Place is in Chimayo NM. It centers me every time.
    Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch is another such place.

    Thanks!
    Pat

  3. Thanks for writing this! Whenever I’m doubting myself, I can think back to those sacred places and sacred events to get back on track.

  4. nancy v-b

    luann, i have been lurking for a while but HAD to post today after reading this. thanks so much for sharing the links–i had never heard of the cave and as i follow the tour, i got chills–AMAZING!! i can easily see the link to your initial body of work. i am so glad you were able to visit the re-creation.

    you are so right — we NEED those spaces! and anything that evokes those feelings, whether it be an object, a ritual, a person — can bring us there and allow us to truly breathe.

    thanks again for this.

  5. Deborah Hill

    As always, thanks.

    I love that you added people into that mix. I will say that I have a sacred space here in Switzerland called Chandolin. 2000 meters in the alps. With only a tiny grocery, post office and two cafes built around a small ski village. It’s heaven.

    Warm regards
    Deborah Hill

  6. I couldn’t agree more with you! Great post!

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