Life is a Lifelong lesson…

Over the past three months I have lost 3 friends.  Each relationship was very different and related to a different part of my life.  One friendship was over 30 years, one over 50 years, and one of 65 years standing.

This prompts the reflection that each life has a limited span, and this takes me on again to the thought that “Life is a Life Long Lesson” (regardless  of how long that particular life is)

I have mentioned before in this space that am fortunate to live in the Highlands of Scotland where we have recently had a spell of good weather… this can occasionally happen in March !

As a result of Covid, vulnerability, and isolation I have rarely been anywhere over the past couple of years so when we recently enjoyed a good spell of weather I decided just to make the most of it.   

Now it appears clear that this was a real gift, and given for the purpose of reflection.

Day 1.  A trip to Findhorn.   I used to live fifteen minutes from Findhorn and much of my Spiritual reflection and indeed emotional healing (post divorce) was done pounding the beaches on the Moray Firth, beaches not only at Findhorn but elsewhere on that coast.  This was a short day away and is not far from home but set me up for what was to come.

Day 2.  Three days later I set forth early, with thermos and sandwich !  

Three weeks earlier I had noted an article in our local paper on an Iron Age Broch which was being maintained (made safe) up on the West Coast.  I cut out the article !!  

I arrived in Ullapool and there was not a breath of wind. The water was totally still with true reflection of moored boats and the surrounding snow covered hills … so rare and quite magical. 

On I went, driving north.  Not a cloud in the sky and the magnificent mountains of Assynt standing proud and clear, then on into Sutherland where they are the same.   How is it that I have only recently found this mind blowing area?  I came to the turnoff indicated in the article and tiptoed along a single track road….somewhere I had never been before… such a rollercoaster, and much care and concentration was needed.   

I really thought I was lost but how is this possible on a single track road in the middle of no where?  When I came to a row of cottages (one with washing hanging out in the sun) I went and knocked on the door to reassure myself that I was indeed going the right way.  Yes, I was good, and there was not much further to go.

I parked in a church car park.  Put on some serious walking boots grabbed my walking poles and set off.

It was not far but the walk was challenging… over a five bar gate, along a beach, walking on a difficult stone area, and negotiating the access to the broch which on arrival took me back 3,000 years.

I was alone there. With my thoughts for company I carefully explored the building.  Quite, quite, extraordinary.  The sun continued to shine, with the sound of the sea so close as I thought about those brave souls who created this place.  Their families, their way of life…..  utterly mind blowing.

The return walk to the car was also challenging as I thought I spied an easier route, but this resulted in having to negotiate two styles…. with two artificial hips, and an unreliable knee this too was a challenge.  However back at the car a well earned cuppa from my thermos was enjoyed.

The drive home was equally fabulous.   Stopping in Ullapool for a chippy then a quick dash out of the village before the ferry from the Western Isles came in with the ferry traffic filling the road.

The roads were clear through to Inverness, and then on home.

I love to drive, and spent much of my latter working life driving in remote areas for work.  So this day was a joy and the driving no chore.  This left my mind free to reflect on the lives of those who lived in the areas I had visited that day.  How different were their lives from ours today.  Every life has its journey, and challenges and thereafter its lessons.  

Regardless of the lives we lead, indeed regardless of which century we live in, we each have our lessons to learn.

Day 3.  The following day was again another wonderful weather day.   Thermos in hand off I set again, this time I decided to explore another area I had never visited before.   There is a small particularly picturesque village on the way to Skye.   Skye I know, but not Plockton.  I drove the northern route to Inverness, and then on to Plockton via Strathcarron.   It lives up to everything that is said of it!  Quite beautiful, friendly, and I loved spending a few hours just wandering around and exploring.   

Then, I went on to Skye, which I know.  I returned briefly to familiar corners loving the fact that this is all pre-season, with the peace and space to take time just to be.   Again grabbing a chippy as I left Skye, I drove on to Eileen Donan Castle (built from the 13th to the 16th century).  There I sat quietly and enjoyed my supper sitting in the car and watching the sun set behind the castle.   Then onwards home the big decision being which route to take.   

That decision is for me to know and you to guess !! However it was a good clear run home after another fabulous day.

I have wonderful photos from these few days, but as I couldn’t decide which one to put into this I have decided not to put any in…!   They are all snapshots in my mind anyway, as well as on my phone….. If you wish to see them you just need to ask !

The lesson I learned from this magical period is:


See you all next month – April!

With love,

Sarah Jane x

Life is a Life Long Lesson/2

We are now in the first week of December with all the excitement, noise and chaos that  this time of year brings.

Last weekend my family joined me here at home, just for 24 hours.  We do this every year at this time as we have so many family birthdays.   So we make the most of it, reconnecting, chatting, eating/drinking, and the grandchildren put up my Christmas tree.  Much laughter, noise, and each year the children perform or talk about something that is new or important to them.   This time the youngest has taken up the violin,  precious times and memories.

This year Covid infection meant that one of the families were isolating and couldn’t make it but we were still eight bodies and three dogs ! …. so this involved dog walking in the snowy woods….. magic !However as part of our ‘Life is a Life Long Lesson’ series I invite you over the next few weeks to each and every day stop for a few minutes to connect with your Personal Centre.Take a few deep breaths and go to that peaceful place that is there inside each of us to access at will. Know that those few valuable minutes for yourself will help centre the precious memories being created with all those around you.Know that for each and everyone of us there is love, peace, and light just waiting for us……all we have to do is take time to access it.

I would like to sign off 2021 wishing you all a very happy, peaceful light filled holiday season.

With love,  

Sarah Jane

5th December 2021

Life is a Life Long Lesson/1

This year, (and this morning) the glory of the autumn colours has given me pause to think about the cycle of the seasons, and why some years are more spectacular than others.

Is this due to circumstance of bad weather or blight throughout the year, or on other occasions does the nourishment of the sunshine and the refreshing rain encourage and result in this glory?

Or is it a combination of the two, and is this echoed in our human cycle?

Sometimes we require to be buffeted by illness, incident and/or the unpredictability of human relationships in order to come to full bloom and glory. Other times it is the love and support of those around us that nourishes us and brings about the same result.

However it comes about, regardless of our journey, at this time and as we approach winter, it gives much reassurance that the journey is as it should be, and that all roads lead home.

With love, Sarah Jane.

 November 2021

The Secret Paradise of Sancta Maria Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Sancta Maria and historical Nunraw Abbey Guest house are located in the Lammermuir Hills of East Lothian, Scotland. The community of Monks live a contemplative life of prayer, simple manual labour and works of charity, living harmoniously with one another. 

From the outside, the abbey at Nunraw looks remarkable ~ a large grey utilitarian building, perched on a hillside in a clearing in some pine trees.  

I spend a couple of days at the adjoining guest house which provides accommodation for pilgrims and others with a passing curiosity, such as myself.   The guesthouse is a place of meditation and peace and I enjoyed taking time out of my busy schedule to quieten my mind through, stillness, prayer and meditation.

During my stay I had the privilege of having a coffee with Fr Mark (Abbot), despite his busy schedule we chatted for about 45 mins, he was engaging and funny and worldly wise. I was encouraged to use the public area of the Church for quiet prayer, or take time to sit still and reflect on my life and what is happening for me and those whom I love.

I also had a wee blether with Helen (Brown) who volunteers in the shop, and Shirley and Heather who are the housekeepers for the guesthouse. It was a pleasure to hear about history and the day-to-day life at the abbey and also about the wider community of Garvald.

While the Abbey remains a place of meditation and peace, it also continues to evolve. The current plans are to build of a new “Reception and Welcome Centre” at the front of the monastery. This will include a new tearoom, shop, public toilets, office space and a new entrance to the Church. 

I strongly suggest you have a look the Secret Paradise of Sancta Maria Abbey video, which I stumbled across YouTube, and I hope you enjoy browsing the website and perhaps visit Sancta Maria Abbey one day!

Best regards,

Cate x

Life is a life-long lesson!

Is this what we call “life experience ?”   …. or ….. “learning by experience ?”

I have been asked to write a few words as a Blog – my response was “ what is a blog?”

I am still not sure what the answer is to either question, so please bear with me while I ponder a while.

Today as I mull this over, it becomes clear that ALL of life is learning, and the experience is what we do with the learning.  Or maybe the learning is what we have from the experience ?

Should I put that last sentence in my blog ?

I hope, maybe, that you would like to join me from time to time as I explore some of these questions.

This week is the beginning of October 2021.  This is Monday morning, and after a few weeks of glorious weather, today it is cold, wet, and miserable (in Scotland we call that dreicht!)

This is a perfect day to start a new project, a series of new experiences, and I hope that you will join me for “The Blog Ride!”

Who knows what we might all learn.

Sarah Jane

 Oct 2021

We’re live!

We are live with our new website!

This last year has seen lots of changes within our community. We have rebranded and yes, we have a new name the Open Sanctuary, as well as a new logo. We struggled for a long time with the name, The Community of Mystic Healers which came from Rev Jude Will’s book, Jude is one of our co-founders.

We have a new name, new logo and new website, but our core beliefs and values remain the same.

We strive to be our best selves each day, we actively chose love not fear, but sometimes we fail, we are after all only human.

We begin each day in our morning office at 8am, setting our individual intentions for the day, you are more than welcome to join us in our zoom room, please contact us for the link.

We remind each other to pause often and to listen to the voice of our inner divine, which guides us to truly serve with love as we journey home to source.

Our one to one courses continue, as well as our group courses.

We are very excited to announce the Ordination of Rev Cate Reid, and welcome her as she steps into her ministry within the community.

We would like to thank Michael Hannah and Richard Scarborough for their help and support in creating our new logo and website.

Our social media platforms will develop next. Please give us a like and a follow.

With love,