The Need for Sanctuary

Sanctuary (noun) – a place of refuge

When the late Abraham Maslow developed his Hierarchy of Needs, at the foundation were the basics – food, water, clothing and shelter. The next highest need after those physiological needs is the need for safety. Whether it’s from actual physical danger or from psychological “assault,” we all crave sanctuary – somewhere where we can be at peace from others and from our overactive minds.

We live in an intensely fast world. We are inundated daily with messages from TV, radio, billboards, the Internet, our cell phones, and text messaging. There are even restroom stalls with advertisements in them for our “reading enjoyment.” (You haven’t truly experienced the American lifestyle until you’re in a public restroom and hear someone in the next stall answer their cell phone.)

Where is your sanctuary? Where do you find refuge from the world? We all need a place be still for awhile so that we can recharge our batteries and experience joy.

Sanctuary takes on different meanings for different personalities but the universal theme is that of “refuge.”

For some, it is where they attend religious services. For others, it is Nature. Maybe it’s a hobby. My friend Allen is a birdwatcher. The combination of being out in a beautiful environment while being completely focused on catching sight of certain birds makes the entire world disappear for him whenever he immerses himself in this hobby.

Another friend has developed her bathroom into a sanctuary. When she needs to get away from it all, she draws a bath, puts in aromatherapy oils, lights candles and puts on soft music. For the time she is in there, there IS no world outside. It is her, completely alone and in a cocoon of peace.

I had a chance one evening to peek into a treehouse that is in the yard of a house up the street from my office. I couldn’t see much but I DID spy a television and some beer posters on the wall. My guess is that this could be the sports sanctuary of the man of the house (although the idea of sports and sanctuary might be a stretch for some).

If you don’t have a sanctuary now, I encourage you to develop one. It doesn’t have to be a place. It can be an event or something you do. A chair in your house where you meditate or listen to music can be yours. Perhaps it’s your swimming pool where you do rhythmic laps. Maybe it’s the symphony once a month.

What about a sanctuary at work? What could you do to get away from it all for 15 minutes and have a true “break” where your brain removes itself from the tasks at hand? Studies have shown that, when we take real breaks from work, we are significantly more productive when we return.

I once had a boss who said to me, “This job can be 24 hours/7 days a week if you let it. There is always more to do. I am instructing you to get out of the building at least once a day – whether it’s during a break or at lunch. You’ll do better work.” I often think of her wisdom

The Law of Attraction says you attract more of what you focus on. When you take time to focus on what pleases you – in other words, when you go to your sanctuary – you begin to attract other things that please you. Whatever you do after you leave the sanctuary will be decidedly more effective. Why? Because being effective is one of the things that please you.

When you practice this enough, you can be in your sanctuary simply by closing your eyes. I know people who take five minute trips to Bali or to the garden in their back yard – all without leaving their office chairs.

Sanctuary is a state of mind. Build yours today. Your building supplies are limitless and anything you can conceive can be a part of it. Then allow yourself to visit often. It’s your refuge. You are safe there.

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