Your Inner Sanctuary

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 I grew up in the East Bay of San Francicso during the psychedelic era of the 1960’s. Like many teenagers, I struggled with issues of identity and my place in the world. I experimented with a variety of street drugs, marijuana and LSD being my drugs of choice, but I also used sedatives and other opiate drugs. After two occasions of complete blackouts, where I had no memory of what happened prior to “awakening,” I decided that I had to stop the recklessness. In the summer between my junior and senior years of High School, I dropped all my friends, threw out all my drug paraphernalia, stripped the black light posters from my wall, and painted my room. 

This room became my retreat from the world, my safe haven, and I spent a good deal of time that summer alone in that room. I had a rocking chair on a thick, multicolored, cotton-woven rug, facing the newly painted wall where I had hung a new poster.  It depicted the profile of a beautiful woman smelling a flower, which was superimposed over a meadow of goldenrod blossoms and a quote: 

There is within you a sanctuary to which you can return at any time and be yourself!
— Hermann Hesse

That quote affected me deeply: the possibility that there was a place inside of me that I could go to, at any time, and be myself was a saving grace. I clung to the idea that no matter what might happen in the world around me, no matter how bewildering life might be, I could always come home to myself! It was in that room, in those lonely hours, that I turned my life around. 


My inner sanctuary has evolved over the years, partly from my own personal work and from learning and teaching hypnosis and NLP. Eventually, I turned my inner sanctuary it into a garden, which has flourished into a beautiful place of retreat where I can go for respite, to get information, to explore issues, or to get insight and wisdom. The garden is nestled in a rich inner landscape that I have explored in several unpublished stories using Death as a guide. For me, the garden is a portal to the landscape of the soul. 

Some things to consider: 

  • Place your sanctuary in a landscape or environment that is truly refreshing to you.
  • Design a space in the sanctuary that is just for you. 
  • Include a space for advisers and guides
  • Add specific resources: a library, a playground, a council room, etc.
  • Remember: the more often you visit the sanctuary, the more powerful it becomes!

I encourage all my students to create an inner sanctuary. You can use the memory of an actual place you have visited, or a scene from a photo or movie, or something you create in your imagination. The primary goal is to design a place where you feel at home, a place you truly can “be yourself.” It can be a mountain hideaway, a forest grove, a tropical hut on the seaside, or any place where you find solace.   It can even be another world, your own home planet, if you like. Whatever the landscape, make it into a sacred meeting ground for yourself!

Songs like Carole King’s “up on the roof” celebrate the need for a little hideaway and a place of respite from the world. You may have a favorite spot you go to to get away from it all. It could be your roof, or your porch, or your kitchen table in the early morning when you have time to yourself, or someplace in nature.  What is more important than the place is the state you enter. What if you created an inner place that served as your hideaway, a place that goes with your wherever you go and you can get to whenever you want? That is what the inner sanctuary does for you.

Where is your inner sanctuary?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.