Finding Sanctuary

 “Keep close to Nature’s heart...and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~John Muir

Over the past five years I’ve had the honor of being a co-founder, board member, facilitator, and ambassador of WholeHeart. On July 1st, I humbly started for the first time as a full-time employee, with the title of program and development director. While from the outside it may not look very different as I’ve been championing WholeHeart and its core value of love as a mechanism for social change since its inception, on the inside, I feel like I’m beginning again. Always we begin again! I’m starting from a place of listening--to myself, to the organization, and to the many beautiful ripples of WholeHeart community that have been established over the past five years.  


In June, I made a promise to create a few days of silence and solo time for myself this summer, as I transition into my new role. My intention was to better serve the organization, coming from a place of clarity and renewal. This past weekend, I kept my commitment, by taking a few days of solo retreat  at ‘The Hermitage’ at The Green Mountain Monastery and Thomas Berry Sanctuary in Greensboro, VT. While it was only five miles up the road from where I live, it could have been 500, for the surreal spaciousness that it provided.  I was able to unplug from my phone and computer and to reset at a cellular level simply by reading and writing, and walking slowly in the woods.

The Hermitage at the Green Mountain Monastery and Thomas Berry Sanctuary, Greensboro, VT

The Hermitage at the Green Mountain Monastery and Thomas Berry Sanctuary, Greensboro, VT

Even though I’ve facilitated a number of Intergenerational Leadership Exchanges over the past few years at the Monastery, I had never fully embraced the power of the word, “Sanctuary” as a descriptor of the land there.  What is a sanctuary? A sacred place, a place of refuge, a wild place. Yes! Yes! Yes!  What was even more surprising and delightful to me, was the communion I experienced with the land, as if the trees were saying, “Welcome,” and “Stay a while,” with a kindness that felt more real than as if another human had spoken it directly into my ear.  

Having returned to my home and work, and the busy-ness of the day-to-day, I’m ever grateful to be creating spaces for other people to experience sanctuary, interconnectedness, and a deeper understanding of what love in action means.

Tara is a community organizer with a passion for building trust in relationships and organizations. She is a graduate of Haverford College and an alumnae of the Vermont Leadership Institute. She is co-founder of WholeHeart, Inc. and a Courage & Renewal Facilitator.  Tara's expertise includes working with young leaders and activists, school communities, teams and philanthropists to create new approaches to solving complex problems.  She lives in Greensboro, Vermont, with a seven-year old teacher and  spiritual guru named Nadia, who also happens to be her daughter.  
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