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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thin Places

Holocaust Memorial Berlin
So the world had a secret.
Maybe you were in on it.
This secret explains why I have been struggling to write about something that happens to me when I travel to certain places, special places, and have been pretty much at a loss for words.

Peggys Cove
But maybe you knew all along what these places were.
It turns out they are "Thin Places", best described as where Heaven meets Earth. Or almost.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Sunday March 11, Eric Weiner shares his thoughts on thin places.
And you know what he says? Thin places are personal. Your thin place might be thick to me. And I love this idea most of all. 
I have always believed spirituality (go ahead and substitute religion if you want) is very personal. I struggle with "organized religion" I suppose because I don't understand it. I can't organize my own thoughts and beliefs around religion, so I am pretty sure being organized in a religion escapes me completely.
Notre Dame Paris
But back to the thin places. I have some, and continue to discover more as I travel. Apparently you can't just go find them, you have to stumble upon them. Like anything you go looking for, thin places become elusive when you try to discover them. Thin places are of course there all the time, but when they find their way into our hearts and souls, when we connect to them, we recognize them for what they are to us.

Wadsworth Falls Victoria Park Truro
My thin places?
Buddha statue in memory of Tsunami victims in Hikkaduwa
Berlin, New York, and yes Paris.  Peggy's Cove (far from the lighthouse) Victoria Park, many places in Mexico. 
I know there are people who are offended by my thin places, who might say a thin place by definition must be holy, or a religious site, or somehow recognized by an official as a thin place. 

The Coliseum Rome
And to that I say I trust myself to know when when I am in it. Just as we no longer need someone to read the Bible to us, we no longer need someone to tell us what is holy. Somewhere within each of us we still have the ability to recognize it.  Mystery. Power. History. Alive-ness.
Crossing a ravine in Cabo San Lucas
How do I know when I am in a thin place? I feel most alive, just as I do during near death experiences.  Crossing a ravine on a rope bridge, I felt very much alive, and knew how much I wanted to stay that way. 

This morning at the market in Place Monge I felt much the same way. Appreciating life, and very close to Heaven. 


  1. I enjoyed this article also, and love this concept of "Thin Places." I immediately thought of a small beach in Indiantown,Old Saybrook, CT where I played every summer as a child and continued to enjoy as an adult. Compared to the great beaches of the world it is too rocky, no surf, and the water not crystal clear, and certainly not a place that would be recommended by a travel agent. For me, it ranks on the same list as dawn at the Grand Canyon and Monet's rooms at the Orangerie. Also, I agree with you regarding organized religion. I've always distrusted any one who has all the answer, and i find it hard to have blind faith in something I don't understand. But I do understand spiritually. Thanks for this blog - one of your very best!

    1. I would love to know how different the list is for each of us. And I love just how different it might be.


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