Sacred places are those sites where we can experience a unique sense of connection; these are the places where we turn outside of ourselves and become aware of our place in the universe. We sense the energies and flow of the universe and where we have a heightened sense that there is something larger than each of us that informs how we exist in the world.
One of my favorite questions to pose to a group of adults is "What was a spiritual moment for you?" Hearing the details of the responses is powerful; the room becomes silent as each person relays his or her experience. The listeners are moved, inspired, opened in new ways.
Every week I go on two walks that I absolutely treasure. Each Sunday, my husband and I walk through a different section of Los Angeles. We have no destination, but our purpose is to exercise. We could choose other forms of exercise. We could be on a treadmill, moving in place without moving in space. Yet this is not as gratifying as walking outside. The walks along the beach or in the hills around the city create another dimension of being.
You cannot remove other people's anxieties, but sometimes you can help them to understand their feelings of unease and find ways to cope with them.
When we recognize the strengths, the potential, the gifts that others give to the world and us, we can see a glimpse of God in them.
"Rabbi, I'm feeling off-center, unbalanced." "I'm depressed." "I'm anxious; not myself." "There is an incredible amount of negative energy in the air." "I don't want to read magazines; they are only filled with news of the war." "I now regularly go online to check the news throughout the day. I feel a need to be aware of what is going on all the time since everything changes so quickly."
A young friend of mine switched career paths, giving up on an industry that she did not find fulfilling. She is now working in a field that she finds challenging, has potential for growth and gives her opportunities to contribute in ways that are important to her.