It’s just after dawn at my friend Karen’s mountaintop sanctuary in Costa Rica. It’s called Ukiyo, a Japanese word meaning “floating world.” The name could not be more perfect. I’m walking to my special spot for morning meditation. The only sounds are the wind and the ratcheting calls of toucans hidden in the trees—my daily meditation companions. I lay my walking sticks on the ground and settle myself down on a small bump of earth—my meditation “cushion” for the next hour and a half. Gazing softly out over the long view of mountain silhouettes to the distant Pacific, I can sense the presence of wisdom wilder and wiser than my own. And so began every day—my early morning ritual for three restorative and generative weeks on that mountain.
Early on in my stay, Karen shared with me some words of English-Irish-Scottish author and teacher Sharon Blackie:
Where do we go, when we’re lost—when the humans around us (much as we love them) can’t seem to help us? We go where we’ve been taught to forget to go. Where our ancestors have always gone. To the woods and the old ways. To the hedgelands and edgelands; to the threshold places and liminal zones. We go looking for the Others who dwell there; we go listening for the murmurs of the dreaming land. We go looking for a wisdom that’s wilder and wiser than our own.Sharon Blackie
Although I wasn’t feeling lost, Sharon Blackie’s words resonated deep in my belly. In the weeks leading up to this trip, I couldn’t wait to get back to this mountaintop and to have some time at Karen’s other property, Kantara (meaning “bridge” in Arabic), a sacred ranch at the edge of a canyon. I feel a profound connection to this land; my roots sink deep in this earth. I find a sense of stillness and clarity here unlike anyplace else. My soul feels held and nurtured, like I’m wrapped in the arms of Love greater than can be fully known.
On my last extended visit here in May 2022, I found direction and purpose for the next chapter of my life. At 67, I had stepped back from teaching and speaking and was shifting my focus to one-on-one leadership coaching and mentoring. I was longing for a quieter and more contemplative life, and to be less in the public eye.
I was also very aware that just a few weeks later I would travel to the Netherlands for the first in-person Transformational Presence Global Leadership Gathering since 2019. And there I would step back from my role as the leader of that community—a global community that had gathered around my work starting in the early 2010s and grown steadily over the years. So, I was in a great transition.
Now, nearly nine months later, I am well into this new chapter of my life. For weeks before this current Costa Rica visit, I already knew that once again something big was waiting for me there. I didn’t yet have Sharon Blackie’s name for it—a wisdom wilder and wiser than my own—yet those words perfectly described my anticipation. I knew that I only had to be present, open, and attentive—the mountain and the canyon would take care of the rest.
Opening to Let Eternity In
As the sun rose over the mountain behind me, the wind was at one moment calm and gentle and then suddenly fierce and almost overpowering. These ever-shifting winds called me to story artist Kai Skye’s (aka Brian Andreas) powerful inquiry:
What is the placeKai Skye
in you this day
where you open
& let eternity in?
A small plaque painting with those words sits on my desk at home where I see it every day. The warmth of the new-day sun and the timeless winds reminded me again that we can choose to open the depths of our being and let eternity in. It’s a choice. Our ability to live in that choice develops over time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Day by day, sitting on my little spot high up on the mountain, a greater wisdom and trust and stillness and peace unfolded. The secret to our opening is daily practice.
Some days are quite profound, others less so. It’s not about keeping score or achieving a goal. It’s about showing up open and willing to receive the gifts from what Sharon Blackie calls the dreaming land. Being ready and willing to go to the threshold places and liminal zones. At the threshold between worlds—in the liminal zones—I sense and feel at such deep levels of being and awareness. It’s a visceral experience in my core—a greater alignment with earth and sky and All That Is, and a further blurring of the boundaries between linear time and eternity.
I carried all of this with me as I left that sacred land and returned to my home in Massachusetts. My job now is to keep nurturing that alignment and opening to eternity until I can return to breathe in the wisdom of that mountain again.
Finding Your Sacred Power Sources of Wisdom
Different places and settings speak to us in different ways. Therefore, where we find our sacred power sources of wisdom will vary from person to person. The sources of my sacred power are all in nature—three that I make sure to visit at least once a year. Each of those places helps me tap into a particular aspect of Life and what is important to me.
Traveling to each one is its own kind of pilgrimage to the heart of being. Since childhood, I’ve visited Lake Chautauqua in western New York nearly every summer. There I can tap into the long path of where I have come from and where I am going.
Johnathon and I have traveled each year since 2001 to a particular beach in Florida, first with my parents, and in more recent years, on our own. The timelessness of the sea nurtures the timeless connection with my father and mother.
Since 2017, Kantara in Costa Rica has become one of my sacred power sources. And now in the last two years, Ukiyo high on the mountain where I connect so profoundly with eternity.
For me, the key to tapping into the wisdom waiting for me in each of these places has been a combination of stillness, silence, and practice. Some days the wisdom comes easily, other days not so much. Sometimes it catches me by surprise, other times I must wait for it. When the wisdom comes, it may be calming and reassuring, or it could challenge every fiber of my being. Yet even when it feels challenging, the wisdom usually brings clarity about my next step. My time in these sacred places anchors my connection to wisdom wilder and wiser than my own so that I can more easily access it whenever I need it, wherever I am.
Between time spent in those sacred places, I have my daily power place at home—my meditation chair surrounded by sacred objects, talismans, and photographs of people and animals dear to my heart. Daily reflection and meditation at home continues to nurture my soul and deepen my awareness, understanding, and presence.
How about you? Where do you go when you need to tap into a wisdom greater than your own? Where are your sacred power sources for stillness, inspiration, and connection?
Perhaps it’s a place in nature, or a special chair, or a church or synagogue or mosque, or a soaking tub or sauna, or a yoga mat. Maybe, like me, you have two or three or more places that you visit at different times of the year.
Wherever that is, when will you go there next? What time and space are you making for the care of your soul and tapping into a wisdom greater than your own?
And if you have never looked for or found your own sacred power places, perhaps now is a good time. There is no right or wrong place, no right or wrong way to seek and find greater wisdom or to discover your personal sense of the sacred. It’s whatever works for you.
Years ago, I heard world religion scholar Huston Smith say, “What is sacred is whatever is sacred for you.” Go find out what that is if you don’t have a sense of it already. Go find the wisdom that is wilder and wiser than your own. There could be gifts waiting for you that you never imagined.
~ ~ ~
Related Blog Posts:
- Finding Your Way Into Your Next Calling
- Three Touchstones for Navigating Uncertainty and Recognizing Possibility
- More and More I Have Less and Less to Say
~ ~ ~