September 6, 2012 § 41 Comments

I step out this morning just before dawn. I notice first the air.  It feels cool and rich to my skin, a mixture of the cold night and the warmer, humid advancing day.

I look to the sky.  A bright half moon, stars emerging to my vision.

In the dim light the towering trees that encircle my house appear nearly black and two-dimensional- like abstract paintings propped up against the sky’s gray backdrop.  As I turn to the east, I notice that in just that moment the pinkish blush of dawn’s promise is starting to push its way in.

Birds calling to each other, a staccato interruption of the hum of night.  The silent dark houses of my neighbors.   And just then the distant sound of a truck starting up in the valley below.

Before I step back in, I close my eyes and feel that place and moment one last time.  All of it- the air, the moon, the stars, the sky, the trees, the birds, the silent houses- existing for me right then.


In that moment between night and dawn, the awareness filled me up, leaving no room for worry, doubt, or fear.  No space for anxiety.  Quieting my busy mind.

I know that this awareness and peace can be mine at any moment, in any place, not just that quiet sanctuary where I stood this morning.

If only I can live what I know.

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§ 41 Responses to Sanctuary

  • l0ve0utl0ud says:

    I love those rare moments of peace and quiet. I wish they could happen more often!

    • Thomas Ross says:

      These moments are happening for me more and more. Hoping the same for you- especially now in your post-120 days space.



      • l0ve0utl0ud says:

        Thank you very much! The 120-day challenge didn’t have much of an effect on the other events in my life – it’s more the fact of making time to stop which prevents me from having more of these moments.

  • julienmatei says:

    Is awareness knowledge…? I am tempted to say:

    If we only could live what WE DON´T KNOW… 🙂

    • Thomas Ross says:


      I’m putting your interesting reply together with Brenda’s response below. She suggests that if you “know” the truth, you simply live it. You suggest that we must seek to live that which exists beyond “knowing.”

      I cherish each of these thoughts and believe that, while distinct, they each share the idea that notions of reason and thinking are not the path. As the Tao teaches, our actions should “flow from the core of our being.”

      Very thoughtful reply. Thanks.


  • brendamarroy says:

    I have a hunch when we truly know, we do live it. It’s those moments between having and believing information to transforming that info into real knowing, where we forget to live what we know. But, when we know it’s not a mental state, it’s a part of our life. What do you think?

    Beautifully written piece. Thank you.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Your “hunch” is a brilliant thought.

      When we “know” it only intellectually, we struggle to consistently live it. But when we know it not as a matter of conscious reason but truly, really know, the living of it just flows from the core of our being.

      Thank you so much. Very, very thoughtful.


  • If only I can live what I know. Very nice!

  • Thank you for the respite in sharing your morning….and the reminder to hold close and enjoy ….our own moments.

  • Archana says:

    Something about the way you write, calms me down Thomas.

  • aallegoric says:

    This brings me a lot of good memories. Thank you for writing this.

  • Dear Tom, I have felt what you have so beautifully described in such vivid detail. I have stood locked in that moment of startling awareness. I have entered into that place of peace and of now. And…I have stepped out of that place of peace and of now. And many times throughout the day I return in a single breath, in a moment of self-awareness. And… many times throughout the day I disappear into a dream. And yet, could it be that with this daily interchange, we slowly but surely expand and strengthen this little seed of life, this embryonic freedom until one day we no longer need to return… Sharon

    • Thomas Ross says:

      This is so much my hope. That in time, with practice, devotion, I might approach the place where there is no need for “return.” I will be home, finally, fully.

      Sharon, you have captured for me a thought that I had not consciously held until now. Yes, yes. That is where I am headed.

      Thank you so much, so much.


  • Anne says:

    My Sanctuary is my home, the peace and tranquility that resides in my home resides in me, when I allow. The peace you held in this morning dawn can be with you at all times if you will only let it in! I have only read this post momentarily, and yet again, you took me ‘there ‘ with your writing, I felt that peace you felt this morning, I saw in my mind’s eye the backdrop of the moon and the pink dawn breaking through the backdrop. If I were an artist I could paint the scene you describe so beautifully. Tom may you always find Peace that you found in this morning’s dawn.



  • Another beautiful post, Tom. You summed it up just perfectly:”If only I can live what I know.” Luckily, with help from positive people like you in the blogosphere, we can get the reminders we need to make it a point to find those peaceful moments when we can. The power is ours.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      I need that help as much as anyone. If my writing helps you, that is so great. But know also that your careful attention and response to my work helps me- hugely.

      In the end though, as you so perfectly put it- “the power is ours.”

      Thank you.


  • It’s funny. I just did this very thing. The sounds of the birds awakening still resonates in my mind. I have a sense of peace and that all is right with the world. I’ll do my best to hold on to it for as long as my attitude will allow. 🙂

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Hard to do I know. For me, I think of it as a peace that exists moment to moment. When I fall away, I think- okay, but here’s my moment, right now, find the peace now. I try not to think about before or what’s ahead. The peace may stay, or go. That’s okay. Peace right now is all.

      So good to hear from you.


  • Robyn Lee says:

    Eloquent message Tom — can ‘know’ but to ‘live what we know’ — that is the hardest part. I think this is why some go an ‘live on a mountain’ — the true maser can incorporate this ‘knowing’ into contemporary life — but it’s challenging… awareness is the first step – and you are there! xo

    • Thomas Ross says:

      I know. I’ve often thought that I should cash in and buy a cabin in the Rockies and just get away. And maybe I will some day. But for now, I’m glad for the challenge of trying to live what I know in the more engaged world.

      Thanks so much, Robyn, for your always thoughtful messages.


  • phlyfitmama says:

    These are the moments I wish we could all bottle-up. But as you say, they are always “in us”, once we learn how to summon them up, whenever we need them most. xo

  • bipolarmuse says:

    Living what you know is the true struggle. Once you learn you CAN do it, the hardest step is actually putting it to use. I forget myself many times but when things gets really bad for me… it seems the “reminders” come to me at just the right time. ♥

    • Thomas Ross says:

      It is the great struggle. Self-awareness feels at times like a burden- but I also know it is my salvation. To struggle and falter- but always towards the authentic life.

      Thank you, Muse. It is always good to hear from you.


  • DIRNDL SKIRT says:

    Beautiful painting w/words. “If only…” : that interjection of humanity that relies on intellect. Yes you can.

  • Chris Mabon says:

    Tom, This is a beautiful reminder to us all. Peace is available to us if only we can live what we know. Thank you for sharing this moment.

  • jazfagan says:

    Very beautifully written!

  • Sandra C. says:

    beautiful words it was like i was there also ! yes we will find this peace every day every second 🙂 that my prayer of the day !!!

  • FeyGirl says:

    Just beautiful… I adore this time, and you sum it up perfectly. Liminality.

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Yes, that liminal moment between night and dawn. I’m drawn to the outdoors that time of day. It’s a good moment for me to recall when the busyness of the day seems to overtake me.

      Thanks, FeyGirl, for your kind attention to my work.


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