Thursday, August 4, 2016


1. A fertile spot in a desert where water is found.
2. A pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult, troubled, or hectic place or situation.
"An oasis of calm in the center of the city"
     synonyms:     refuge, haven, retreat, sanctuary, sanctum, shelter, harbor, asylum
"The park is an oasis filled with half a million flowers and thousands of lights."

I once received some good advice from a friend: paraphrased, it went something like this: “Do what you can to make your own little corner of the world a better place.”

At the time that advice was given, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Probably 99.44% of the human race have at one time or another felt a little bit sorry for themselves. And there’s always somebody around willing to give you (1) good advice, (2) a hug, if needed, or (3) a kick in the pants. All three work.

I want to digress a little here—self-pity, though considered a negative state, isn’t all bad. It may be merely a transient state in which to examine oneself, one’s condition, one’s responses—a time of active self-care. Such a time can lead to healing.

You've no doubt heard this many times: “If we don’t take care of ourselves, we’ll have nothing to give others.” In recent years, this advice is given to caregivers who spend a large part of their time taking care of family or friends during a long, perhaps terminal, illness. Caregivers are urged to get out of the house; go to appointments on their own; take an hour or two for shopping at leisure, doing errands. Friends are always available to sit with the patient.

Think about it. An empty vessel holds no balm. We all need to replenish our inner resources.

There are many ways to fill the empty vessel—travel, study; creative endeavors; reading, music; movies. Escapist, you say? Well, maybe; sometimes; and that could be the best way to start filling the vessel of our lives again.

Escapism, like self-pity, is not a permanent address. It’s a place for stepping back; a breathing space. Some folks go on retreats—the kind where you aren’t expected to interact with a lot of other people. Some find solace and peace and healing in prayer or meditation.

None of this has to involve travel or money. Go to the local park and sit in the sun (or shade, if you prefer) and let breezes and bird song wash over you. Or go for a solitary walk, or take your dog with you; or walk with someone who also knows how to be silent. Whatever the season, there’s a place you can go to withdraw from noise. One of my favorite places is the public library. Amazing how other people’s voices disappear when I’m reading at the library.

Breathing space may be as near as your patio, or a quiet room in your house. Make your own oasis. You’ll return to it again and again. It’s a place to just be.


  1. I remember you used to go to the park (I think it was) and take oasis time there. I guess--when I needed it--my time was in the car. When I was working, I had 56 miles to be alone and revive every day.

  2. The great thing is, the time and the place are available, everywhere, any time.