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August 9, 2011 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Honouring That Which is Sacred:

Years ago, when I converted to Judaism, I was blessed to have a group of close friends to share my religion with.

Shabbat, the celebration of the Sabbath which starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday was a great gift.

Those who turn their noses down at all organized religion often made comments about how silly it is to think that God, (if there even is one) would care what you do on Friday night. Whether you light candles, drink wine or eat bread or not, how can it really matter?

 And if you did those things why would God care what kind of bread you eat? What is the difference between two carefully braided loaves of challah and say Wonder bread? Or a good healthy whole wheat? Why is one thing sacred and not the other?

I understood though, without fully having the language I have today, that all ritual in all religion is about mindfulness. It is about intentionally, and consciously bringing the sacred into every day life.

Saying blessings over lighting candles, drinking wine, washing hands and breaking bread with loved ones has nothing to do with winning favour with God. It has everything to do with stopping for a 7th of each week and being mindful of all that you have. And what could be better than good food, and good friends singing songs of joy around a beautifully set table each week?

I have a co-worker, of Aboriginal decent who was telling us recently that he never takes anything from the earth; food, or a fish caught in a lake without giving something back. The tradition: Tobbaco.

It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense in this day and age until you stop and ask the question, “what kind of world would we live in today had we always given something, even something purely symbolic back to the Earth every time we took something?”

I can only imagine that there would be a lot less greed, consumption and destruction if we had committed to that way of thinking. The whole point, is that there would be a lot more mindfulness. If we thought more deeply about what we do and the consequences of what we do, I don’t see how everyone wouldn’t be better off.

On the whole I am quite certain that we could all use a little more, wait… make it a lot more of the sacred in our lives. A lot more conscious choosing of what we will declare and preserve as precious.

So often, we move though our lives at a rapid pace, working, travelling, consuming and worrying our way out of connecting with where we are, and what we are doing.

What we value in life, so often has been taught to us and we haven’t stopped to think about whether the things we value most really are important.

Lately, I have begun to notice that it doesn’t matter who you talk to or what their circumstances are, we all seem to have 2 things in common. We’re all too busy, and no-one has enough money.

Whoa! That cannot be true can it? Are we all equally busy, and broke?

I know people who make 3 or 4 times as much as I do who complain about money.

And not being a math genius, I may be wrong but I don’t understand how we can all be busier than each other?

The reality is, that we live in a world that tells us constantly that we don’t have enough, and quite frankly, if you’re not busy, you’re probably lazy, which is pretty much the bottom of the totem pole in today’s world.

I wonder if the world would come to a sudden end if we decided to slow down and create some space for the sacred. My guess is that it would become better, but at the very least, it would become better for us.

This past weekend, we had a family gathering to celebrate two birthdays. We always have a great time when we are together, but of course with all of our crazy schedules the gatherings don’t happen often enough.

At least we are all grateful when they do.

I was reminded of the sacred by a moment that I managed to capture on camera. It is a photo that I see myself cherishing for a long time to come. An image captured by my phone of all things and it will serve as a reminder of what is really important in life.

Three men that I love and a baby.

Truthfully, there is really nothing better than a baby to melt away your problems and stress and just allow you the space to stop and stare in wonder… unless of course it happens to be your baby.

The thing is, we don’t all get to spend time with babies. (This was an anomaly for us as this baby is not part of our family).

We do however get to spend time outside. We can take a moment with a tree, a squirrel, a fluffy cloud that grabs our attention. Simply feeling the sun warming your face or the wind whistling through your hair can be a sacred moment if we choose to pay attention and make it so.

A moment with a child of any age, quality time spent with a partner saying thanks for all that you have, even if you feel that you don’t have enough. These are all ways of connecting and consciously choosing the sacred.

As I write this, I am thinking of ways that I could continue to create sacred space in my life. Practising gratitude, stopping to smell the flowers, appreciating the view before me, I do these things regularly and yet I realize, that there is always room for more.

How can I give back to the Earth for each thing I take? How can I be more mindful in each moment so that I catch the sacred when it occurs? How can I bring more sacred moments into my life, or better yet, offer more sacred moments to others?

I am going to ponder this, and I am also going to make a real effort to open my eyes as wide as I can so that I am awake, and aware, and the sacred becomes the priority.

I will also document this as I go.

Anyone care to join me?

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12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Rosemary / Aug 9 2011 12:53 pm

    Very good piece Jen.

  2. Jey / Aug 9 2011 3:40 pm

    Loved this writing Jenny. Bravo.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 9 2011 6:44 pm

      Thank you Jey,
      It is an honour to have you visit… speaking of the sacred.

  3. auntiecarol69 / Aug 9 2011 6:27 pm

    Loved reading your personal , heartfelt blog entry on the importance of the Sacred in one’s life.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 9 2011 6:46 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughtful comment! I am inspired by the fact that you enjoyed it!

  4. Greg / Aug 10 2011 12:27 am

    I think giving each time you take, as your friend’s tradition compels him, is very interesting. I think if each of us catered this way of thinking, we would certainly better off. I am interested in how you will document this? What constitutes a take? What would be worthy of a give?

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 10 2011 8:21 am

      Hi Greg,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      I think I should probably change the word ‘document’ to share. Lol.
      Really, what I am doing is to share what I come across each day that inspires me to pay attention to the sacred.
      As for giving when I take: sadly the average person does not yet have the means to live that way truly. We are far from being a wasteless society.
      That said, I can still be mindful of what I consume and what it takes from the Earth, and the fact that it does. Even giving thanks each time would create greater awareness.

  5. rob white / Aug 10 2011 8:18 am

    Wonderful message, Jenny Ann. It never really gets more complicated than the power of mindfulness does it. It is one of those universal truths that transcends all race, religion or creed.

    Gratitude and appreciation is such sweet relief from negative meandering. I consider gratitude a high thought-form, and I appreciate the feeling of refreshment I get when I feel grateful. And indeed, there is always room to find more and more that is sacred in our lives – what an empowering habit to take on.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 10 2011 9:03 pm

      Hi Rob!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      So true that most things seem to come down to mindfulness don’t they?
      I discovered a few years ago when I first began to focus on gratitude that true gratitude leaves no room for anything else. That feeling you get when you are truly grateful fills you, so there is no need to want.
      Blessings to you Rob!

  6. DM / Aug 11 2011 8:22 pm

    Just got inside from checking on our apple trees..then I read this post 🙂 You know what, much of the time while I was out there trying to savor all the growing things, there was this small voice in the back of my mind telling me I was lazy, I was wasting my time, etc…when the truth is, I WAS trying to carve out some time to do the very things you were talking about. DM

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Aug 12 2011 7:29 am

      How fabulous!
      There’s another post altogether Doug. Why is it that we have to feel guilty for taking the time to savour the Earth? And yet, we’re programmed to think differently. Thanks for stopping by. Keep savouring those trees!

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