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It’s an overcast, blustery morning on the shores of Lake Chautauqua. The sun has just risen and is trying hard to break through the clouds. I’m the first to arrive this morning out on the point of the bell tower peninsula. I want to claim my special spot under a particular willow tree right beside the water. It’s a spot I’ve been sitting in nearly every summer for more than 40 years.
It’s a sacred spot to me – a place where each summer I meditate, reflect, collect myself, take stock of where I am and what is currently unfolding. I acknowledge the areas of my life where I am feeling comfortable and confident, as well as the places where I am standing at an uncomfortable edge. I feel out those edges, sensing what I can about how they are asking me to stretch and grow, and do the inner work I need to do to be able to step across into new territory.
While almost every day of my life, regardless of where I am, actually begins with a similar ritual, for a couple of weeks every summer I have the gift of this sacred spot. I look forward to this time and place all year long.
Within a few minutes, I notice that others have joined me out on this beautiful little peninsula to greet the morning, each in their own way. As I look to the small sandy beach a few paces away, a woman is doing yoga while a man sits beside her meditating. On the fishing dock, a young woman practices chi-gong, while further out on the dock, three people are sitting together with their Bibles and praying. Nearby in the grass under another tree is a woman jumping rope. A little further away a man practices tai chi. Just out in the lake a single kayaker passes by, his paddling barely making a sound. And a bit farther out, three men cast their fishing lines in silence from their small boat.
There is an unspoken respect and honor among us – a silence that is full – each of us doing our own individual “sacred” practice, yet sharing the same space. Each of us aware that we are in the company of others, yet doing our own rituals with no sense of judgment, self-consciousness, or concern over what anyone else is doing or thinking. What bonds us together is our desire to be in this very special place, to rest in the natural beauty all around us, and to greet the new day in a symbolic way. This sacred spot feeds all of our souls, regardless of our traditions or beliefs.
I’ll be back here again tomorrow morning, and the morning after that. Some of these same people will likely be here as well, or others may be here in their place. It’s rare that I am the only one. I carry this sacred spot with me in my heart and mind all year long, often returning here in my awareness to touch the beauty, power, and energy of this place. It gives me peace.
Morning ritual. Food for the soul, nourishment for the spirit. It carries me through the day.
Alan Seale, PCC, CTPC is the author of Create A World That Works and the director of the Center for Transformational Presence. www.transformationalpresence.org
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