Fall is here and our lives are finding a new rhythm, rooted in a quiet, more reflective inner landscape. I love this tipping point before we step fully into the holiday season when our social calendars fill once again, threatening to bully us into feeling too busy and overwhelmed. There is a stillness in the air this time of year when the earth returns to itself, when the distance shrinks between those who have departed and those of us who remain.
In Ireland, there are “thin places”, a Celtic Christian term used to describe a mystical place where the veil between this world and the eternal world are thin. Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter. These sacred sites offer a portal for our imaginations to reconnect in a place of remembrance and belonging to our deepest essence. Our spirits are stirred and our memories jogged by the presence held in the ancient stone surrounding us and the clay we walk upon.
What I find quite surprising about sacred places is that we are rarely met with a sense of tranquility and ease, but instead, we feel an unsettling sensation that jolts us into an oddly familiar and heightened awareness, inviting us to greet something much larger than ourselves ~ the Mystery, God, Universe ~ whatever you wish to name It. A glimpse of the Divine.
On a fine soft day last May, we visited Rosserk Abbey and felt the presence of those who have gone before us, who lived and worshipped within these centuries old walls. Gazing through the arched windows we were transported to another time. The vast expanse of sky opened our spirits as we walked between two worlds. We felt reverence for those whose graves we gazed upon. Our footsteps were gentle as we walked gingerly between each gravestone, careful our steps were respectful of those who were in our midst.
Much of our time on the Eire Retour is spent outdoors ~ reconnecting to the landscape and allowing the wind, sun and water to shape us. Discovering we’re not always the one in charge, feeling the relief of surrendering to being part of something much bigger than our jobs and calendars ~ creating spaciousness within to hear ourselves.