Most of us at some point have felt a deep longing to go home. This home for which we yearn is usually an inner state of being, rather than an actual physical place. We may feel a tug of nostalgia and imagine that our desire is to return to the house where we grew up, but the ache that we feel deep inside tends to be more for the childlike sense of wonder and innocence that we left behind.
As young children, we have the ability to truly inhabit each moment. This innate gift allows us to be acutely aware of and connected with nature and the universe around us. We are not concerned by what might happen tomorrow or haunted by thoughts of the past. Instead, we are in a deep relationship with whatever presents itself to us in the moment, creating a sense of sacred space.
At times in our lives, we sometimes stumble across this sense of sacredness again and are catapulted into a timeless moment. Our hearts might be touched by the beauty of a sunset painting the sky crimson and gold, or we might be struck with awe by the magnificence of an ancient church or cathedral. Sometimes, a poem or piece of art can move us to tears if it resonates with that deep place of yearning within.
As we grow older, however, we frequently lose this sacred aspect of ourselves as we become more and more preoccupied with outer concerns. On some level, though, we realize that we have become separated from the very core of our being and yearn to return to that state of joy and wonder. We often try to ignore the inner pangs of the heart or run away from them by becoming involved in an unending list of activities. At times, the ache may subside to a dull throb, as we lose ourselves in our work, surf the web, text our friends, or do anything else to take our minds off our pain. At other times, we may feel a deep sadness that won’t let up and that can, on occasion, deepen into depression.
Often, the solution can involve offering ourselves the gift of time to truly sink into our feelings, rather than running away from them. Connecting with nature can be a perfect first step for tuning back into our own natures. Walking along a forest path lined with majestic pines, or sitting in the sand meditating to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, presents perfect opportunities to let go of the mind’s frantic pace and help us to reconnect with the slower rhythm of our hearts.
When the pangs of the heart become unbearable and the ache turns into depression, professional help may be another answer. Within the context of a compassionate therapeutic relationship, a deeper exploration of the true ailments of the heart can be undertaken. Through the willingness to peel back the layers of one’s carefully constructed facade and reveal the truth of one’s being to another, a deep inner healing can take place.
The sacred space of a timeless moment can be discovered anytime two people meet on a truly authentic level, in all of their vulnerability and humanity. Some of the tools that can be helpful in this journey involve becoming more mindful of our feelings and reconnecting with our symbolic nature by means of dreamwork and active imagination.
In the safe container of a caring therapeutic relationship, we can turn our focus inward and begin to share our deepest wounds with another. Although the process can be frightening and painful at times, by revealing our wounds and airing them out, we can start to nurse them back to health, rather than keeping them hidden and festering inside. As we honor the aspects of ourselves that we had previously kept hidden away, we start to more fully inhabit the present moment once again and to reconnect with the sacred space within—our inner source of peace and joy.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Wendy Salazar, MFT, therapist in San Diego, California
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