Power of Place
“From my perspective, I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear. That's what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.”
Jane Goodall writes fondly of a tree, a beech, where she spent much of her childhood. She took her books up there, did her homework there and simply was more at home among the green leaves and birds than on the ground. She writes that her mother was the only one who did not laugh at her childhood dreams of going to Africa, even though they were not wealthy people, and didn't have the money to send her to college much less Africa. Because she had the combination of a great passion and strong support, she achieved her dreams well beyond expectation.
When I read about her spiritual life coming alive in the forests of Tanzania among the chimpanzees, I understood. I, too, was a forest dweller—in the mountains of North Carolina. I'll bet you have a spiritual connection to place, too. Maybe it's a man-made structure, but more likely, it's a natural setting—a place on the earth that you identify as perfect. Where everything suits your senses, from the smells and sounds to the colors and tastes. Where your body/mind simply settles into the rhythm of its heartbeat and knows it's home.
Because Jane Goodall identified her spiritual home very young—through books, by the way—she was able to go straight to it. Most of us wander around for a while, until we happen upon our place, but when we do, we recognize it instantly. There we feel our whole being exhale and know, this is where I belong. I don't know what brings this about, but I suspect it has something to do with the energy of the place—what Goodall refers to as “a greater spiritual power” that for her was very strong in the forest. Like a magnet, the spiritual energy of “our place” attracts us and draws us to it. For me, that place is inland—in the mountains, in green, leafy places, with running streams. For many others it is shoreline, sun and waves, and constantly moving oceans. And for others, desert sands, and desert winds, and desert sunsets. Wherever your holy place is, you go there to recharge your batteries from its power source.
Holy ground is different for each of us. Once discovered, it never changes. I wonder about you. Where is it that you find sanctuary? Where does the power of place call you to be?
In the Spirit,