I asked myself this recently while traveling in the Sierras. Perched high on majestic slabs of granite overlooking Kirkwood Lake, I couldn't understand why I was still agitated, exhausted and not able to really see the beauty before me. To really drink it in. It just seemed flat, but I didn't know why. Why?
Having Greta, my dog, has brought a lot of joy and connection to my life, but it's also brought a lot of extra tasks and focused attention needed to train and care for her. My life was a lot different when I had Shyla, and, since I got her when she was just a pup, the training happened over many years. The learning curve with Greta has been huge, particularly because she is a rescue and I don't know her history, she has occasional other dog aggression and separation anxiety issues. It has been intense and I don't seem to recognize how much so until we're apart from each other, where I can breathe a bit without having to attend to her.
As I settled into the space and into the inquiry, "What WOULD make this moment sacred?" I began to feel my body actually present on the granite--the hard, rough and rugged texture, the coolness permeating my bottom, the soft, cool breeze sweeping past my skin. The stillness and distant sounds of wind threading through pine needles evoked a familiar sense. I had lived in Tahoe for five years in my early twenties and it was where I discovered my favorite smell (warm pine pitch) and sound (wind wending through conifers).
As the stillness settled in, Greta still sniffing around and familiarizing herself with the territory, my senses heightened and my body began to feel rested--a deep breath released tension in the chest and within minutes it felt like I had taken a nap.
And then it hit me...
What was needed to make this moment sacred was...my presence! As I woke up to this, things around became alive in a new way. The trees stood out, the water glistened and reflected the warming sun, my hands felt the texture of the granite. The sacredness returned to the moment. (Of course, the sacredness never left the moment, only my awareness did!)
I experimented the whole trip with this inquiry and continued when I returned home, as it's much easier to see/find the sacred when away on vacation to a beautiful spot.
The same answer kept arising.
Soon, it became an inquiry to use when I found myself going unconscious, "What WOULD make this moment sacred?" This inquiry seems to bring me to my senses--figuratively and literally.
The potential for sacredness is around us all the time. If only for the simple fact that this moment is never repeated. Never. I can only experience my life in this moment, in this body. So, as moments of my life begin to feel dull, or I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, I'm committing myself this month to this inquiry. What would make it sacred?
The potential for sacredness is around us all the time...
Why is sacredness so important? To me, sacredness is about an aliveness that is present in the moment--not anything that can be captured, but only lived. Since this moment is all we have, experiencing it with the most meaning possible for us could become a valuable endeavor.
The sacredness of an object may not be the object itself, but rather what it evokes in us. This may be why objects, over time, can lose their meaning and value to us. But I'm curious as to whether the object itself ever held anything sacred in the first place. Maybe it was just my awareness at the time and I attributed it to the object? Another good inquiry to explore.
But I know for sure, if I'm busy in my To Do lists, making sure I've "got it all done," then I'm not living my life, I'm doing my life. There's a huge difference! Things become just one more thing to manage. There's no time to experience their sacredness.
I invite you to join in on the inquiry for the month of August and don't take my word for your answer. Ask yourself, "What would make this moment sacred?" Whatever answer arises, I invite you also o respond to it. To take the time and the courage to indeed, make the moment sacred. Then see how that impacts your moment, your day, your life.
What is sacred to you? Discover for yourself and then share it with us. What comes up for you when you inquire? What makes your moments sacred? Is it the same thing each time, or does each moment have its own unique key to sacredness? Tell us here on the blog and/or on the Facebook page. I'm curious to know!
JoAnn Saccato, MA is a mindfulness teacher, author, life coach, educator, and consultant in Northern California. She is author of Companioning the Sacred Journey and the forthcoming Mindful and Intentional Living: A Path to Peace, Clarity and Freedom