I refer to these havens as a “veritable oasis,” a “plethora of goodness,” a “hodgepodge of images and sounds,” or simply “a temporary place to hang my head while I ponder my next move.”
The feeling of taking some time alone and away from the everyday noise of both the outside world and what’s going on in my head is so needed right now. I am listening to my heart and the calling of every nuance of my soul. Some days it isn’t so obvious what the uncertainty is all about. Other days, I have clarity and patience with my path. It’s a good path, a harmonious path.
I can attest to some deep inner growth within my core, yet to the peripheral world it translates into something different. To explain every single change takes away from the magnitude of the purpose and the power that I have learned to embrace. I have no idea what I’m doing and although I could give way to fears and doubt, I have chosen to remain in a framework of gratitude and love. Months of new beginnings take time to integrate and process, which leads me to each sanctuary that is offered and appreciated.
When I have the opportunity to stay and care for different kinds of animals, I am invited into the home of strangers who turn into friends, trusted to watch over their structures and belongings, and place each large and small critter under my wing. God is so with me on these adventures. Every job is a true sanctuary experience. Every dog walk is a chance to convene with Mother Nature. Every time I pack my few bags with vitamins, food for the time away, and my minimal wardrobe that I repeat on every pet sitting gig, I am reminded that I chose this life.
I chose to wander from one adventure to the next and not be as settled as the majority of people I know and love. I chose to have time and space to write and reflect and memorize the behaviors of the dogs and cats who are under my guidance. In doing so, I am a manifestation of all that I have asked for and all that I continue to allow. These little time outs are a writer’s haven for creating and feeling inspired. Whether one day or one week, or for an entire month, my being away from the normal life is redefining my essence and giving me the chance to ponder so much more than I would in a traditional setting. The inner child in me feels nurtured and alive and at ease with the world.
I wake up and I tilt my head back and honor the vast amounts of peace and quiet. Sure, there are few and far between animals that have their own idiosyncrasies that offer rare behavioral insights, but the unconditional love that we share surpasses any annoyances that would otherwise get under my skin. I love being in every aspect of animals and nature, so much so that returning to human conversation and interaction takes some time for me to process and adjust. The serenity and tranquility that I soak in during the animal visits leaves me with a feeling of odd sadness when I’m back to my regular life. My greatest epiphanies happen when I have nothing but nature to see and listen to every day. In a sanctuary away from home, I absorb this energy.
As the chimes are clinking in the wind, the small full-bodied dog is meandering around the garden, the grey cat is lying upside down savasana-style on the chair, the ceiling fans are rotating around in every room, doves are cooing near the branches, there is a trickle of water in the pond fountain serenading me, and I am surrounded by the warm hugs of nature; this is a sanctuary moment. This is why I step away from my *regular* life and heed the call of those who need my help with their pets. I am so willing to be there and walk, caress, give treats, scratches behind the ears, hugs on the couch, and everything else that the animal needs, I submit to the action.
The earth and our time here is always evolving and growing. Who’s to say how we spend our days other than our own hearts? Each one of us makes our decisions of where we feel best and where we go with our thoughts and choices. A sanctuary can be any place that resonates with your heart and soul. It can be water, air, earth, fire-all the elements that make up our chemical bodies in this lifetime, yet I only know what supports my internal emotional self, and gosh does it feel good.
I tote around my weights and jump rope and yoga mat to ensure that my health is priority, and I can be present for the animals while still tending to my bone density and muscular structure. If a dog decides to incessantly lick my calf muscle or sit next to me while I write, I know that I have done my job well and the bond has been formed. If a mysterious cat chooses to sit on my lap or purr while I stroke its velvety spine, then we have a connection. I liken it to Gorillas in the Mist. I am the lucky one if any of my temporary animal companions lie next to me and share their energy in my presence. It is a quiet language of love and I’m now smiling just thinking about it.
Every time out with flora and fauna is always worth it.
Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. Her first novel Ripple Effects was published in March 2012. She is a regular columnist for elephant journal and contributor to Be You Media Group. Besides her passions for writing, animals, the environment, healthy living, incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love, she never goes a day without her simple daily rituals. She believes that balance is key to all things meaningful. Her love story A Big Piece of Driftwood was released on May 1, 2014.