It may seem odd but the place where I feel most connected to the world is a cemetery near my home. It is a large cemetery and quite beautiful, with rolling hills, well kept grass and tall, leafy trees. It's certainly not the gloomy, frightening cliché you might expect.
I recently went through a very emotional period. At one point, all I wanted was to be left alone so I could have a good cry. I got in the car and just drove - and I ended up at the cemetery. It was a late afternoon, and the setting sun's rays were touching the headstones with gold. I sat and gathered my thoughts, watching the shadows from the stone monuments lengthen. In the east, I could see a just-risen full moon. I didn't feel like crying any more. Instead, the stillness of the place seemed to soak right into my bones; I felt calm.
I got up and had a liesurely ramble, stopping to read dates, names and loving messages on the graves. I wondered about the lives these people had led and the relationships they'd had. Noticing the tragically short lives on some of the stones gave me a much-needed fresh perspective, and a sense of 'the bigger picture'.
I still visit the cemetery often. It never fails to soothe my mind and soul, and to remind me to be grateful for my life and for the people who care for me, and to cherish them while I have them. I always leave feeling grounded, peaceful and full of hope.
*this piece was first published in Nature and Health magazine, April-May 2008
I'd love to know: what makes you feel most connected to the world?