The Power of Place


The power of place has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few years. I’ve traveled to India, Italy, Ireland and Hawaii over the past five years, and each place has opened me to its power and beauty. Each place has its own unique fragrance and power.

This week, I’m on the island of Moloaki, one of the smaller Hawaiian islands. It is one of the more wild places, too. I’m here for a women’s retreat, a retreat on feminine wisdom. So far, the days have been graced with sun and wind, rain and rainbows, women and lots of laughter, touch and wisdom.

This morning, a few of us traveled to the Kalaupapa lookout to watch the sunrise. The spot is beautiful. The overlook over looks Kalaupapa, a village originally home to people who had leprosy. It’s on the Kalaupapa Peninsula at the base of the highest sea cliffs in the world, dropping 3,315 feet (1,010 m) to the Pacific Ocean.

The sunrise was brilliant. The cliffs were amazing. This land is enchanting.

Where we are retreating is in the center of the island, not close to the beaches. When I first saw this, I felt a twinge of ‘oh, no’, I want to walk on the beach. And then, after a walk on the land, seeing the native Koa trees, listening to the gorgeous birdsong, and hearing the barking deer, I began to understand that I am here to connect with the whole land, earth and sky, water and stars, moon and animals, and of course the brilliant women who are here.

The invitation is to connect to the whole of land and life that is here. The power of place can’t be denied and has much to teach us. Each place has its own unique soul.

Consider your place. Where you live. What is the nature and power of your place? Of your land? Of the land of your own body, too? How are these connected? I’d love to know of your experience.


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One Reply to “The Power of Place”

  1. I have such a thing for place, Julie, so you’ve really grabbed my attention. I used to facilitate a workshop – finding your true place in the world – and it was as much about how the places we long for reside inside of us as well as in real time and space. I think they open us up to the depths of who we are, and when we anchor them within ourselves we more fully become ourselves.

    Have you heard of the Powers of Place Initiative? I recently learned of it when I listened to a call that Michael Conforti (of the Assisi Institute) did with Renee Levi. They’re doing some very interesting stuff there.

    As for me, I’ve lived in a lot of places. And I always circle back to where the Redwood forests meet the Pacific ocean. That intersection of land and sea is simply it for me.

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