A Sacred Space

 

“There is an Indian proverb that says everyone is a house with four rooms:  physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”― Rumer Godden 

At 7:45 am, the car in reverse, something catches my eye in the review mirror as the garage door opens. It’s a bird’s nest in mid-creation; thin twigs and strands of field grass have tumbled down. A brief sadness floats through me, wishing she had chosen a sturdier place for her home, her work now dismantled.   

The fallen nest is like living abroad with its moments of feeling unmoored. I relate to her temporal housing, like a sandcastle eroding with a vanishing wave, or a hermit crab shedding its shell. International moves and occasional cultural mishaps have taught me to create a safe refuge; not just a house, but a home. 

Post errands, I step with a mug of tea into the light-filled room that buoys my spirit. Through the open window, soft light spills onto the tiles and a gentle breeze rustles the palms. The curtains billow like sails, curling around the bookshelf holding crooked stacks of travel journals and stories of empowered women. 

Taking centering breaths, I sense the cosmic connection in this room; a haven for soul crafting and building castles in the sky. “A woman needs a room of her own,” Virginia Woolf said. This is where I begin my morning ritual of meditation and writing. I call it my sanctuary, a space to hear my thoughts and seek inspiration. 

Each time we change houses, I claim a space as mine, surrounding myself with favorite photos, art, and travel mementos that feel like me; a snapshot of the world from my perspective. 

Like the concept of “Wonder Rooms” (from the German word  Wunderkammern) in the Victorian Era, when cabinets of curiosities were popular, I display my most cherished objects: rosewood tea boxes with stationery collected from museums and hotels, the mint and gold silk carpet I hand-carried home years ago from Marrakesh, a special hand-painted porcelain globe.  I light a candle, which stands proudly in its decorative stand from Kusadasi, relishing memories of standing in the Blue Mosque and exploring markets across Europe. 

A nest made of Vetiver root from Swaziland holds shells and feathers, and an Italian glass dish cradles healing stones and talisman. A dented singing bowl rests alongside a bottle of ink from Paris. A lantern with stars and moons illumines the corner of the room.   

I roll out my yoga mat, spritzing a blend of essential oils into the air.  Sanity returns and I feel myself expand in this sacred space where I rekindle dreams and am restored.

“I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go… but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.” – Edith Wharton from her story, “Fullness of Life:”

Do you have a sacred space or nook? 

What are the precious objects that make you feel grounded? 

Namaste, 

Tracy 

Our African Adventure: Hello Swaziland!

taking in the viewHello! Sorry for the long hiatus in blogging.  Moving overseas has been an  all-encompassing event. I am so grateful to be back online with internet, which is a life-line of communication in a new place that feels very, very far away.

Our belongings in Virginia were carefully divided into “storage” and “ship” piles. Feeling a bit displaced in our own home,  we watched as our life in boxes was loaded into crates on moving trucks. Ready or not, may the adventures begin!

Our evening arrival to O.R. Tambo airport (named for a former President)  in Johannesburg made it too late to cross the border from South Africa into Swaziland before the checkpoint closed.  We didn’t mind having to spend the night at the airport hotel after a 22-hour travel day with our sweet toddler.  We were all jet-lagged and weary, but we made it!

We were slightly confused upon check-in at the hotel. It seemed they were offering us a kitty cat to borrow for the night for the baby, until we realized a “kiddie cot, ” was a crib, which came with its own tiny, fluffy duvet and high-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. I’ll take a kiddie cot, too, please.

The next day, we had a hearty breakfast and set out on the path to our new city, Mbabane.  However, getting out of the airport parking lot was a challenge.  Our car was towing a small trailer, and the car made it under the exit barrier, but the trailer did NOT, so my husband and our driver unhooked the trailer and pulled it by hand out of the parking garage. Whew!  The four-hour drive was beautiful. Our mountainous new home seemed to welcome us with warm, sunny skies and stunning views.

~

 A few of the first impressions of Africa:

the hand-woven doll ornaments on Christmas trees at the airport

the kindness that radiates from South African smiles

lavender-hued Jacaranda trees

deep red earth

houses with corrugated tin roofs

laundry hanging out to dry

the large number of hitchhikers on the road

huge, open blonde fields dotted with clusters of trees

a hazy, diffused pinkish-yellow light on the horizon

 lantern-like bird nests with openings at the bottom

IMG_2716So many new discoveries to explore. Hello, Swaziland. We look forward to getting to know you.

-Starry

A Tale of Two Cities, a Toddler, Some Tea…

Hi! It’s good to get back to blogging after a little summer break!  So much to catch up on. Took baby Ramsay on a two-city tour of Tucson, Arizona and Columbus, Georgia to see family. It was so much fun to watch him with his grandparents, and so good to get hugs and feel taken care of.

Too many random thoughts for any cohesive writing lately, so here’s a summary of things I am grateful for lately through photos:

The ritual of making tea with loose tea leaves

How baking makes the house smell good. (And the deliciousness of devouring Madeleines).

Quiet time in the evenings to read, and to collage some “mail art” and create with molding paste, which is a fun, new medium I’m learning about.

Discovering what interests my son:  especially the color yellow, and shoes in general.

Surprises and beauty in nature, architecture, and daily life:

Hope your summer is going well, and there are many amazing moments in each day.

IMG_1892