7 Principles of Sanctuary Work

To embrace daily devotion to Sanctuary, both for yourself and to give to others, necessitates devotional effort. We all need occasional grace in our life to recharge our body, mind and spirit. The 7 Principles of Sanctuary Work are like stepping stones into and out of the world. They embrace the continuum along a Path, from the personal to the global. As such, they provide both a philosophical and practical application of sanctuary in daily life.

Listed below are the topics in this section, with a brief description of each. All essays are excerpts from Dr. C. Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell's book-in-progress: Islands of Grace: Finding Sanctuary in Daily Life. Click on the topic link to call up a printer friendly version in a separate desktop window.

  • The 7 Principles of Sanctuary Work
    This brief essay summarizes the personal need for sanctuary, including sanctuary's four characterizations. The 7 Principles are briefly explored and include a helpful chart to facilitate further inquiry at the personal level. [Click]
  • The Sanctuary Path
    This article looks at the 7 Principles through the metaphor of a Path. It has a warm and personable tone that is a must read with the above article. [Click]
  • 7 Principles of Sanctuary Work Chart
    The Chart shown in the first essay above is available below.[Click]

  • 1st Principle of Sanctuary: Embrace Your Sacredness
    The foundation of all sanctuary work is to embrace one's sacredness. This essay is based on the affirmation of this first principle: My body is a temple; my mind is of the Divine; my soul is enchanted.
    [Click]

  • 2nd Principle of Sanctuary: Embrace the Sacredness of the World
    The next step on the Sanctuary Path reaches out to embrace the sacredness of all beings and this Earth. The affirmation is: I want an Earth that is healthy, a world at peace, and a heart filled with love. I want my life and every life to count. How can I serve toward this end? [Click]

  • 3rd Principle of Sanctuary: Acknowledge the Value of Sanctuary for All
    When we embrace the sacredness of life, we can next acknowledge the need for all life to reach its potential in its own place, and with an elemental sense of safety and comfort. Sanctuary gives our soul awe and wonder, healing and regeneration, and celebration. The affirmation is: In sanctuary I love myself and the world anew. [Click]

  • 4th Principle of Sanctuary: Create Sacred Time & Space for Yourself Every Day
    It is not enough to simply acknowledge the need for sanctuary; you must create the opportunity and setting for it to happen wherever you are or whenever you desire it. The affirmation is: I need the time and space to daily renew my celebration of life. This need for sanctuary is sacred to me. [Click]

  • 5th Principle of Sanctuary: Practice Reverence for Life
    One of the most important behaviors by which to soulfully and peacefully journey through life is that of reverence. Sanctuary allows us to have an intimate relationship with skillfully looking at life through the eyes of reverence. The affirmation is: I celebrate the miracle of creation by beholding it reverently. May my every thought and action be one of love, wisdom and respect. [Click]

  • 6th Principle of Sanctuary: Practice Nonjudgment & Compassion
    Much of the upheaval in life stems from judgments and insensitive behaviors. Taking periodical refuge from our worldly thoughts, even if for a moment or two, allows us to come back into our heart. The affirmation is: The fires of my judgments, insensitivity, indifference, pettiness, and harsh criticisms are doused by the waters of my heartfelt compassion and acceptance. [Click]

  • 7th Principle of Sanctuary: Give of Yourself to Bring Joy, Beauty, Hope and Peace into the World
    The true journey of Sanctuary is not self-centeredness or permanent isolation from one's worldly affairs. The journey is cyclical: moving from the world into sanctuary, then back out into the world with renewed commitment to apply all the 7 Principles. The affirmation is: I am a sacred flame willing to enlighten the world with joy, beauty, hope and peace. [Click]

  • Sanctuary Attunement: Be an Instrument to the World
    This gentle reflection on Sanctuary will warm your spirit.[Click]

  • Sanctuary Visualization: Embrace Your Sacredness
    Center on the special warmth sanctuary gives you in this affirming visualization.[Click]

Sanctuary for a Minute

Take a break right now. Breathe deep a couple of times. Contemplate on the value of sanctuary in your life by looking at any of the following images.
Blessings in your life!

Click on the title

Aspen Gold

Fragrant Rose

Misty Woods

Kiss the Earth

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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7 PRINCIPLES OF SANCTUARY WORK CHART

The 7 Principles

Strategies for Integrating the Principle into Your Life

I. Embrace your Sacredness

1. Affirm: "My Body is a Temple, My Mind is of the Divine, My Soul is Enchanted"
2. Write down your own unique affirmation that acknowledges your sacredness
3. List the most positive aspects of your Body which affirm your sacredness. Do this as well for your Mind (your mental-creative gifts), and your Soul (very special qualities of your character, personality, emotions, magnetism to others)
4. List those activities/experiences you engage in (or desire to!) which positively honor and sustain your Body Temple, Divine Mind, and Enchanted Soul

II. Embrace the Sacredness of the World

1. Affirm: "I want an Earth that is healthy, a world at peace, and a heart filled with love. I want my life and every life to count. How can I serve toward this end?"
2. Write down your own unique affirmation that acknowledges the world's sacredness
3. The following helps us create sacred connections: Family, Friendship, Intimacy, Animals, Nature, other Cultures, special places (natural or human-made). For each, list those deep qualities/values you seek and uphold, as if these relationships were sacred

III. Acknowledge the Value of Sanctuary for yourself, nature, and all other beings & places

1. Affirm: "In sanctuary I love myself and the world anew"
2. Sanctuary exists as a special feeling of peaceful grace within time, place, and our reverent thoughts and behaviors in relationship to others and nature (divine stewardship). Write down those benefits you gain (or would like to gain) from sanctuary.
3. List those places you have created or are drawn to that emit a feeling of sanctuary in your life. For each place, describe its quality that enfolds your spirit.
4. Under what circumstances are you most drawn to sanctuary? What re-occuring life experiences especially lend toward the need for sanctuary? Write down how you do (or can attempt to) take sanctuary space and how others respond or support your need.
5. How do/can you demonstrate your sincerity in offering sanctuary to others & nature?

IV. Create Sacred Time & Space for yourself everyday

1. Affirm: "I need the time and space to daily renew my celebration of life. This need for sanctuary is sacred to me."
2. List and describe those ways you have created (or can create) your home as a sanctuary. What places in your home especially emit and honor the qualities of sanctuary
3. How have you created sanctuary within nature surrounding your dwelling (i.e. your yard, garden, patio, balcony, deck, land, etc.)?
4. List those parts of the day in which you are able (or desire) to take sanctuary.
5. Describe other places or circumstances within your life that lend toward sanctuary.

V. Practice Reverence for Life

1. Affirm: "I celebrate the miracle of creation by beholding it reverently. May my every thought and action be one of love, wisdom, and respect."
2. Write about those ways you can practice reverence for a) other cultures/races, b) nature, c) animals, and d) living simply

VI. Practice Non-judgement & Compassion

1. Affirm: "The fires of my judgements, insensitivity, indifference, pettiness, and harsh criticisms are doused by the waters of my heartfelt compassion and acceptance."
2. Write about those ways you can bring more compassion into your life, and toward whom. What negative thoughts are you willing to try letting go in order to succeed?
3. How can you share more compassion for a) the ill/dying, b) elderly, c) disadvantaged, d) threatened species/cultures, e) abused women/children, f) others you may identify

VII. Give of yourself to bring more Joy, Beauty, Hope & peace into the world

1. Affirm: "I am a sacred flame willing to illuminate the world with joy, beauty, hope, and peace."
2. Describe those special gifts, talents, knowledge/interests you have to offer others and/or nature. In what ways are you sharing these?
Copyright 2007, C. Forrest McDowell, PhD

Excerpted from Dr. C. Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell's book-in-progress: Islands of Grace: Finding Sanctuary in Daily Life.

"The rose does not preach; it simply spreads its fragrance."

Mahatma Gandhi

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ATTUNEMENT

Be an Instrument to the World

by Narana

Every moment can be a haven of peace if you wish to make it so, a gentle retreat from the idea that your own self will is what is directing your life. If you can simply cultivate seeing and feeling yourself, from this moment, as a willing instrument of God's peace or God's joy or love for all, you won't have to try so hard to make it happen. When you are engaged in effortless effort through attunement with the Divine, then you truly become a living sanctuary that others can readily perceive, like the glow of a candle that draws the world-weary to your door. That glow penetrates deep forests of sadness and dense thickets of tangled desires. It suffuses warmth into cold hearts and soothes aching bodies, tired minds.

Once you experience the wonder and satisfaction of illuminating the path for some lost soul, through perhaps the simplest kind act, you will want to do so again and again. And you will want even more to keep your own self clear and strong, knowing that a finely tuned instrument produces the purest sound, that a clean lamp shines forth the brightest light. Doing just a little good, now and then, in this wounded world that requires so much help, will cease to satisfy you one day. When that time comes, you will embrace the reality that you can only be truly happy when you are working everyday for the well-being of others. To serve in such a selfless way is an incomparable blessing upon the world and upon your own soul. Behind that feeling of sanctuary, for which we all yearn, is none other than the luminous face of Father/Mother God, drawing you back, drawing each of us back to our real home in Spirit. Let us take the journey together.

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A Society grows great when old men plant trees
whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
Greek Proverb

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VISUALIZATION

Embracing Your Sacredness

I am claiming sanctuary. Although my body may be restless and even uncomfortable at this moment, I remind myself that my body is a temple. I gently request now that my body relax and let go completely of all feelings of constraint, real or imagined. I gradually allow my breathing to slow down, gratefully releasing with each deep exhalation the physical and mental burdens that I have been carrying far too long. I fling the doors and windows of my bodily temple wide open and let the sunlight and fresh air pour in.

I am claiming sanctuary. I need and deserve this time to regenerate myself. I am feeling more and more calm. My mind is happy to release all of its disappointments and fears, all worries and pain. My mind is of the Divine. Like a candle flame, I glow with a softness and warmth that fills me with peace. This is not an immaginary sense of peace. This is who I really am. This peace and well-being is mine whenever I wish to access it, the natural birthrite of my soul.

I am claiming sanctuary. In this very place where I am, however imperfect, I am consciously choosing to affirm my own goodness and strength. And no matter what goes on around me, I can decide to hold on to these good feelings, moving through my day and my life with grace and ease. In spite of all tests and distractions, no matter how great the challenge, I trust that the inherent wisdom within my soul will guide me. My soul in turn is held safely in the hands of Spirit. I am so well loved and cared for that I know, in my heart of hearts, that I can stop being afraid of the circumstances and people that have appeared to be holding me back. In reality, nothing can hold me back when I am in tune with Spirit. I am as free as a bird, flying high above all earthly cares.

I am joyfully claiming sanctuary because I now understand that I cannot fully thrive in this world until I have learned how to seperate myself from its incessant demands. I claim the God-given legacy of freedom for my body, mind, and soul: freedom from fear and ill treatment, freedom from pain and failure, freedom from ignorance of my higher purpose in this life.

My soul is blessed. I want to be an instrument of peace and healing within myself and in the world. I ask to be guided by my heart's love and by Spirit-guided reason, will, and activity to always do that which it is right for me to do. And I offer my deepest gratitude for these precious moments of peace, however brief, and for this calm feeling of sanctuary that can only deepen and increase the more often I choose to claim it. I embrace my sacredness now and forever.

Copyright 2007, Tricia Clark-McDowell

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