Part 2: On Sacred Ground
A friend in Minnesota recently shared with me an excerpt from the novel Beneath the Same Stars that beautifully describes the land of the Dakota people in the mid-west area of the United States. To my mind and heart, the following part of this description is applicable to my experience of certain areas I find myself drawn to here in Guruk, Australia.
It’s a land that turns your soul inward upon itself . . . [a] teacher of what matters most. But it’s a land, too with room enough to loosen everything inside you that is stretched too tight and battened down too fast. Something like Grace abides here. Something necessary, like mercy, gotten by giving in.
Perhaps the goal (and challenge) is to realize that every "land" everywhere is capable of calling us, teaching us, stretching us, and bringing us into awareness of the Sacred within all aspects of creation. For me, it's a realization that I've come to greatly appreciate and honor in recent years.
That all being said, there are certain places that attune me more than others to the Sacred, present all around me. And when I immerse myself in this Presence in and through nature, I am awakened, energized, transformed and guided.
Since arriving in Guruk on April 23, I've spent time at two places which I experience as especially sacred. The first is Grants Head (above), the headland at the northern end of Grants Beach, located just south of the coastal town of Bonny Hills. I climbed this headland on the afternoon of April 27, 2019.
I was last there with my friend Raphael in 2010.
Whenever I spend time at a place like Grants Head, I find myself reflecting on the things that really matter in my life and in the lives of others. Currently, that includes two friends in Minnesota who are going through a very difficult time. After my time at Grants Head, I found myself sharing the following with them.
I want to let you know that I am holding both of you very consciously and tenderly in my heart. Whenever I go to one of my favorite coastal spots here in Port Macquarie to get grounded and centered, I take you with me and offer prayers of strength and peace for you both. I will continue to hold you in that field of love and deep healing that I envision in my heart. It's a place of calm, strength, beauty, and peace – and it overlooks the sea! . . . I carry it with me always. I may not be able to be with you in Minnesota at this time, but I like to think that we are together in this heart-place.
I was touched by the response of my friends, conveyed by one of them to me just today.
I read your words aloud and we just let the wonderful feel of them wash over us. I confess we cried.
That is probably the most beautiful thing anyone has ever personally written for us. We will value it together as long as we can, and I will continue later to value it for the both of us.
You comforted us tonight, with the Hospice Nurse Case Manager just out the door and hospital bed delivered . . . then I find your message. Perfect timing.
Your photos make us wish we could close our eyes and be transported right there, on an adventure with your guidance.
Michael Bayly, you are a very special man; a treasure. Thank you so much for everything that is you, for caring about us, and letting us go with you in spirit to some of your favorite places. God bless your amazing heart.
The Holy Land is everywhere.
– Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk)
Another place that I readily experience as sacred ground is the rock platform at the south end of Port Macquarie's Town Beach. I've previously written about this beautiful little part of the holy land all around us here, here, here, and here.
The images I share this evening of the rock platform that is so special to me were taken on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 1 and earlier this evening, Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Australian Sojourn, April-May 2019 – Part 1: Guruk
• On the Rocks
• Sharing a Good Thing
• Another Time, Another Place
• On Sacred Ground (2014)
• "I Caught a Glimpse of a God"
• The Prayer Tree
• Somewhere In Between
• Australian Sojourn, May 2016: Part 4 – Hanging Rock
• Rock of Ages: Theological Reflections on Picnic at Hanging Rock
• Boorganna (Part I)
• Boorganna (Part II)
• In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr
• "Something Sacred Dwells There"
• The Piper at the Gates of Dawn