Today is Christmas Eve, and before I make the long journey on the 11 hour flight back to the states I went to church. But it was not any church, it was my gym swimming pool which exists in an old church. For a moment, it felt sacred. I was the only one in the large space. The pool was still, the room was dimly lit. It was magical, as if I stepped into a dream. But it lasted a mere 30 seconds. Then one by one people joined me in the pool. The staff came into the room , and the sacredness vanished.

This happens often, sacredness is in our midst but then it escapes us. Sacred moments do not just have to happen when we are alone. It is available at all times, we just have to work through the noise to see it. As I swam, change lanes, had people pass me, pass others, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty of the pool. We are in a church swimming on Christmas Eve! I reminded myself to slow down and check out the stained glass each time I turned my head to take a breath. Breathe in during the midst of a workout. Sacredness exists here.

This past month I have been on a kick of listening to guided meditations by Sarah Blondin, they are truly exquisite. A link to her website is below. Without planning this theme for today, I listened to one of her guided meditations of making everything sacred. Perhaps her mantra of sacredness repeated in my head with each lap I swam.

These modern times of busy-ness, non-stop online activity, consumerism, and travel all are all heightened during the holiday season. Can we slow down and witness the sacred ?

I now sit on a plane full of vibrant chaos… crying babies, disgruntled passengers, arguing family members, and exasperated individuals. For me to take the fast track to zen, it includes zoning people out with headphones playing the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong duet album. I’m not yet at the place to be calmed to zero without them. But some people are.

I read a book by Pico Iyer this week called The Art of Stillness, he mentioned a story of a woman sitting next to him while taking an extended international flight. They exchanged pleasantries initially, and after that she sat forward in her chair. She did not read, sleep, listen to music, or talk to anyone. She just sat there, comfortable with silence. Pico was mesmerized and it reminded him of a conversation he had with a spiritual leader regarding how to get over jet lag. This individual stated that he viewed flights as short retreats in the sky. This individual voiced “there’s nothing I can do, so it’s really quite liberating. There’s nowhere else I can be. Clouds and the blue sky. Everything is still and everything is moving its beautiful. “ Pico then added that think how Buddhists see our mind. The clouds are our thoughts, but underneath the passing clouds is always a blue sky. Be patient and clear skies will appear.

Wherever you are this holiday season, be it traveling via crowded airports, trains, cars, or in solitude – may you find the sacredness available in each moment. The path you take doesn’t matter (including the quick fix of old school jazz tunes). It doesn’t matter how you get there. Simply breathe and take it in. The blue sky exists, as long as you are patient enough to wait for the clouds to pass and dissipate. Sacredness will emerge if you are willing to see it.

May you have a sacred holiday season.

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