Thin places represent those spaces that help construct
(or maybe deconstruct) meaning in life.
Before recording any of my podcast episodes, I take time to help the guest and myself discover the direction we would like to see our conversation take. Last week I had that conversation with my October podcast guest. (The episode is scheduled to be released on October 15, 2015.) During our discussion, my guest introduced me to the concept of “thin places.”
Thin places are not necessarily cardio classes or dieting seminars—though, for some, they may be.
One blogger describes thin places in this manner:
“The metaphor assumes a worldview in which heaven and earth are, in general,
separated by a considerable distance. But some places on earth seem to be thin in the sense that
the separation between heaven and earth is narrowed.”
In a 2012 New York Times article “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer,” Eric Weiner tells us that thin places are not necessarily connected to “religious” places (though, again, they can be). Rather, he says,
“Thin places relax us and they also transform us—or more accurately, unmask us. In thin places we become our more essential selves.” [Emphasis added]
The more I thought about it, the more I could not shake the thought of this Celtic tradition.
“Could,” I questioned myself, “my daily quest for inner peace, for resilience, for balance and well-being be my own search for thin places?” Those often elusive (almost ephemeral) spaces between what seems impossible to endure and that place of peace.
The more I thought about it, my thin places did not necessarily look the same. An early morning gym workout can often be a place where I feel the separation between chaos and peace. The same for a bike ride on the beach. Or a walk with my puppy, Roxie.
A few days ago, as I was attempting to work through a few discombobulations in my mind, I was particularly impatient on my walk with Roxie. I kept hurrying her along. At one point she just stopped and resisted moving any further with me. Roxie just sat there and stared at me. In her canine way, she told me to “CHILL.” As I thought about that moment a few hours later, it came to me that I indeed needed to catch my breath and “chill” if I wanted to handle (and thrive in) the days ahead. For a fleeting moment, Roxie represented my thin place.
I have more to learn. At this point, thin places represent those spaces that help me construct (or maybe deconstruct) meaning in my life. They assist in clarifying my boundaries and limits. They might not always exist in the same place. (For instance, there are times when I am on the beach and my mind is anything but restful and peaceful.) And they might just present themselves to me when and where I least expect them.
Video recommendation for the week:
As you experience your week ahead, be mindful of those thin places that will help you understand your more essential self. Those places that present a certain clarity. They might present themselves when you aren’t looking! It could be in front of a sacred shrine, in the presence of a sunrise or sweating through a yoga practice.
Or you just might find it in the face of a puppy.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.