North Coast Current

Living Creatively: Find your sanctuary within

Barbara Basia Koenig

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2013_COLUMN_KOENIG_B_smallerIn these uncertain times, it is welcome respite to rest in the comfort, peace and quiet of what to us is a sacred space. To some it is a place where we can be left undisturbed to read, work creatively, or experience the serenity of nature in the countryside, mountains, desert, or by water.

Often we get so busy or feel so trapped by all the things that need to be done, we forget that we need to take care of ourselves, as well, and deserve the same attention and care we reserve for important projects, duties, obligations and chores. Some of us, however, are limited by circumstances that do not allow for time away to experience a connection with nature that we long for and need.

In an effort to save water, my son planted and tends a water-wise garden as a front yard in place of the lawn we once had. It is a source of joy to watch our native habitat host an abundance of critters that have made our yard their home. There is a peace and quiet about the place that invites neighbors to stop by and gaze, and some to take pictures of the wildflowers and varieties of sage and grasses. The garden creates a feeling of quietude, and just gazing at it out our window generates a feeling of peace and calm.

Although not all of us have a front or back yard to cultivate, somewhere in our past there was a favorite place we loved to frequent, sometimes just to sit and while away the time, experience solitude, or to think and dream. It was a place of peace in which to hear nature, make a universal or divine connection.

Even as children, we needed access to a sheltered place to hide, feel safe, and be left undisturbed or undetected for an unaccounted amount of time in order to experience the magic of solitude. Often it was somewhere in nature, under a favorite tree or by a stream or pond. Perhaps it was on, in or behind a structure, maybe a favorite room or hidden space, or a hideout we created from cardboard, or made with blankets and chairs.

Ultimately, the most creative and sacred environment for creating a place of peace and quiet is within. Living creatively, we can re-imagine a happy place or reconnect with a peaceful experience again through a means called creative visualization.

When you are ready, find a comfortable place that is the least likely to be disturbed, and in which you won’t be distracted. Relax and close your eyes. Recall a place you loved to visit, a place with happy memories, and explore it again in your imagination. Try to remember what it looked like, how it felt, sounded and smelled.

At first, not all the information will come forward, but if you do this regularly, in time the details will become more clear, and you will find that a feeling of joy will rise within you. In time, it emerges into your daily awareness because it is a part of you, has always been in you, and always will be. It is a place of peace and quiet available any day you need to touch base with a source of tranquility. What you seek can be found within you.

I welcome your questions, comments and suggested topics for living creatively.

Barbara Basia Koenig is an Encinitas artist and personal counselor. Email

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Living Creatively: Find your sanctuary within