The Sanctuary … the Ritual … the Sweet Release

IMG_0208I am cooking some butternut squash and potato soup. I wanted some nutritious comfort food with a bit of spice. I’ve been following my instincts today. I wasn’t feeling well this morning, so I took the day off from work. I did what I could to get myself back in a good frame of body, mind and spirit. I got a great massage at a new place I discovered called the Sanctuary. Tucked behind a scuba shop, the Sanctuary’s sign beckoned me to come back and take a look. It was a little wooden building surrounded by plants, beautifully colored outdoor furniture and a long wrap-around porch. I took a deep breath in as I stepped onto the porch.

I spoke to Jessica earlier in the day. When I got up I knew I needed to do something rejuvenating, so I called several massage therapists. Jessica said she would make time for me. She said, “I could hear in your voice that you really needed it.” As luck would have it, she had time for a 90-minute massage, and I had the funding. She was busy with another customer when I arrived. A beautiful little shop filled with natural cleaners, supplements, health foods, essential oils, jewelry, and books entertained me while I waited. I knew I’d landed in the right place when I saw a couple of rows of essential oil-scented epsom salts. I also spotted a little book on smudging and blessings that I wanted to read.

I had time to look around before she called me into her office which also doubles as her massage space. She pulled down bamboo shades which allowed light to come in while not compromising privacy. Just as I closed my eyes, a lovely, heady scent of essential oils filled my nostrils. She told me it was a blend called Calm. I immediately relaxed as its scent hit my olfactory nerve. She had one of those warming massage tables, and I melted into its warmth and the magic of her expert touch. She corroborated that my neck and shoulders were really tight and went to work on making that disappear. I’m always left wanting more when a one-hour massage ends, but 90 minutes is deliciously perfect. I had not had a massage in over a year, and I really needed it. Budget cuts had done a number on my monthly massage habit after I left Memphis. Massage, along with acupuncture, are the two things that I invest in for my health fairly religiously.

Our business transaction at the end was a bit of a sweet ending. She charged me for an hour massage, and I reminded her that it had been 90 minutes. She was so grateful that I told her, and she offered to just charge me for the hour, but I really felt that I wanted to pay for the service provided since it was so sensational. I purchased some of the epsom salts, and I grabbed the little book on smudging and blessings. She typed in the price on her iPad, and she hesitated. “I want to give you the book,” she said. “Something is telling me that I should, and we listen to those things, you know.” I do know, and I appreciated that she was the kind of person that listens when something inside of her prompts her to do something. I felt a nudge from something supernatural to notice that I was being supported. I noticed.

I sat down to read my book, and I realized why she felt she needed to give it to me. The blessings and rituals are Native American and feature the animal spirits that I use in my Medicine Cards. I told a friend today how my Medicine Cards have been such a blessing to me the last six months. Now, I have some additional ideas to connect me even more to that practice. Thanks, God, for supporting me so beautifully in that.

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One of my cats knocked over a photo in my dining room, and I noticed my God-box sitting there. I used that heart-shaped box for years after my divorce when I wanted to let things go. The ritual of writing my concerns on a piece of paper and putting it in my God-box helped me solidly let go of it and put it into God’s hands. It often took me awhile to get to the point where I wanted to let something go, and sometimes I’d have to let it go several times. But, it was a practice that really helped me. Years later, I pulled those pieces of paper out and realized that all of those worries were indeed history. I’ve got some things I want to put in that box tonight. I’m going to use my little book of rituals and bless the act, and I’m going to let some things go – at least for today.

img_1564Perhaps the release of tension in my shoulders will be the first step in releasing this burden of having to carry the world on my shoulders. The world really doesn’t need to be carried, and I don’t need to be the one to carry it – even if it is my world. I can find sanctuary in places like I did today. I can find sanctuary in God’s love for me and His insistent nudging to remind me that He’s here and looking after all my needs – even the ones that may seem frivolous like little books about smudgings and blessings. I can find sanctuary in my beautiful home with my lovely little animals who seem to adore me. Sanctuary is not always hidden behind a scuba shop nor does it always require an appointment. But, sanctuary does require my waking up and noticing that I need it. I have to reach for it, take action to move toward it and, finally, to rest in it and notice. What a blessed day. They say a cool breeze is about to blow through and move these 80 degree temps into the history books. I have the AC on right now, but, by the the time I wake up, the chill will be on. All I can say is thank you … thank you … thank youI noticed.

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