Can Sacred Places Be Healing Spaces?

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by Kim Tocker |

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Scleroderma and the Ordinary Girl

I notice that something happens whenever I feel unwell and overwhelmed by my disease and the life challenges it brings. During these times, I get the overwhelming urge to run away.

There is a particular place to which I escape. Spending some time there restores my balance internally and on a deep, soul level.

A miracle happens when I do this. I leave with the same physical and emotional challenges, yet somehow my “sacred place” soothes my spirit and heals my inner brokenness, and I can cope again.

(Photos by Kim Tocker)

Having spoken to others, I have discovered that almost everyone has “a place.” It’s somewhere they find themselves heading to when they know they need to heal their emotional fractures. Somewhere they spiritually “find themselves” again.

My place is Akaroa, a small seaside village on Banks Peninsula, near my hometown of Christchurch in New Zealand. It’s a place where dolphins hang out in the harbor, native birds make their tunes, and walks on the moonlit beach at midnight are soulful and intense. It’s where my ancestors built homes, and their presence continues to reside there. But the most important thing about Akaroa is that when I am there, I can “hear” myself again.

While Akaroa has its own particular magical offerings, when I speak to others about their “places,” they all report one common thing. Their special location offers a mix of specific conditions that soothe and calm them. These often involve being near the sea or immersed in nature in some form. Their special place provides a feeling of safety and the perfect setting to connect with a sense of self and to clearly hear their inner voice.

What is it about these special places that allows us to hear ourselves and become grounded again? Perhaps the mightiness of the ocean or being in the midst of a majestic forest remind us that there are bigger things we cannot comprehend. Maybe we are reminded that the infiniteness of the universe is greater than the turmoil in the world or the awfulness of diseases like scleroderma.

When we feel safe and free to connect with ourselves, we connect with our own fundamental truths. We go back home to our soul. We have a place to stand, a foundation to hold us steady and secure within the world. We also have a place where we remain grounded when we are battered by the physical challenges brought about by our disease.

So, is responding to the mysterious call to take time out in my special place a valid healing process? Does it stack up against my latest medications and procedures? Are the results of heeding the call to return “home” just as credible? You bet they are!

How wonderful that just when I need it, I can run to the very place that brings me back home again. It’s home to me and the place I feel grounded, which enables me to manage my unpredictable and complicated life with scleroderma.


Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.


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