Sacred/iconic spaces provide the human spirit with a common denominator. They bind us to something greater than ourselves. We need these breath-taking places in our lives and in our work.
The news pictures and video of the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris being gutted by flames is gut-wrenching especially for Parisians and Roman Catholics, but for sincere people of all faiths around the world. Construction of the French Gothic masterpiece began in the 1130’s and it survived the bombings of World War II. Spanning generation after generation it seems as though it has and always would be not only a beacon of hope, but also an architectural marvel.
Sacred/iconic spaces provide the human spirit with a common denominator. They bind us to something greater than ourselves. We need these breath-taking places in our lives and in our work. Some are natural like the: Grand Canyon; Amazon River; Petra; Himalayas; Serengeti; Sahara Desert; Niagara Falls and many more. Others are built with human hands like the: Pyramids; Dome of the Rock; Mt. Rushmore; Leaning Tower of Pisa; Stonehenge; Rome’s Colosseum; Taj Mahal; and on and on throughout the world. These places take our breath away and make us marvel, wonder, dream and embody a deep sense of humility. Their greatness and majesty is something to behold.
Each of us has a place that not only instills smallness within, but appreciation for that which is greater. Mine is standing on the beach in Low Country and just staring at the ocean and beholding spectacular sunsets/sunrises. Every time I feel incredibly small and overwhelmed, but each time I walk away with a sense of peace and tranquility.
When the Twin Towers fell on 911 and so many lives were lost on that horrible day, one memory stands out for me. Members of the U.S. Congress were arm in arm standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol singing, “God Bless America”. Monday night Parisians gathered in the streets by the thousands singing the Ave Maria and watching their beloved cathedral burn. It was a sad and dark moment. However, in both instances there was/is a sense of hope. Hope that more than buildings, concrete, steel and wood bind us. Hope drives the human spirit. Whether we are people of faith with different beliefs, or none at all, we find hope as a common bond within humanity.
In a strange sense work can actually be a sacred space. Together we are doing something that we are incapable of doing by ourselves. We discover that there is something bigger than ourselves. Work reminds us that we need each other despite our differences and personalities. Work provides a sense of dignity, appreciation, creativity and if we allow it, humility. And when it’s taken away, or lost, deep within there is hope. Hope in what can be and what the future holds. Hope that we will find a way. And that is something humanity desperately needs. A workplace without hope is a dead end that can drain your soul.
If you love your work, team, or company take it all in and redeem the time because it’s fleeting and there is no guarantee it will be there tomorrow. Drink deep from those sacred spaces and learn to appreciate even the most challenging of days and people. Sacred spaces whether natural treasures, or made by human hands fill us with wonder, awe, humility and gratitude. And that is a great potion for approaching work and life.
Monty Carter, WebSpeak Media