We all struggle with the ever changing demands of life and need a “safe place” to retreat to- either physically or in our mind. This refuge can be seen as an escape, although it does not have to be viewed as avoiding what we need to do or achieve. It can be more like the quote from the poet Rumi, “ Do you make regular visits to yourself?”
You can begin by saying in your mind or out loud, “ I take refuge in…..” If you have trouble deciding, search your past for a memory when you felt safe, nurtured, cared for in a way that lifted your mood or inspired you.
Once you have a source of refuge, take a few minutes to really feel this sense of peace and refuge. Where in your body do you feel it? Is the sensation one of warmth, expansion, light, or some other physical sense? Take some time to breathe into the sensation and notice how your body moves into and away from the feeling . Keep letting this sense of refuge sink into you giving yourself enough time to truly emotionally nourish yourself.
Once you have practiced this, you are in a better place to recognize when these moments of peace occur in your life. It may be that you can feel refuge in nature, in a religious or spiritual environment, interacting with those you love, or when you are quiet and alone. Make a commitment to creating these moments of refuge on a daily basis.
Consider taking a few minutes each morning to find this sanctuary inside of you. It will set the tone for the day as you move forward and encounter the challenges of your life.
Finding a place of refuge inside you will not prevent the stressors and struggles of life from happening. However, when you develop the ability to bring inner strength and calm refuge to yourself, you can better manage stress physically as well as step back and be less reactive to the winds of change. The next time you are aware of being challenged and unsure of yourself, take a few deep breaths and try to feel that place of sanctuary – that calm solid center inside and within you. Having this tool helps your physical brain and body to respond with more calm and less agitation. Did you know that the word NIRVANA literally means” to cool or to extinguish”? Not that we can achieve NIRVANA so easily, but why not move towards that direction? When the stress button gets stuck, we lose our empathy and sense of compassion for ourselves as well as others. Shifting the fight or flight gear to one of tend and befriend starting with your own need for love and refuge is the first step on the road to healing. Create your daily ritual to find refuge and sanctuary.
As we move into the 2023 New Year, may we all find our sources of peace and refuge for our health and healing.