Tag Archives: sanctuary

A review of the book: “Sanctuary – the discovery of wonder” by Julie Leibrich

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A winter virus gave me “a space”, Sanctuary, to read this book from beginning to end. Prior to this I had dipped in and out of it and had thoroughly enjoyed titbits and contemplating the photographs.

But this big book of 226 pages and 172 references is a rich, deep, satisfying and stimulating read. It was a decade in the writing and covers much of the author’s life experiences.

It is a well ordered book that circles from the first section: “Wondering about Sanctuary”, to “Illuminating Sanctuary”, to “Protecting Sanctuary” to “Wonderment of Sanctuary”.

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I doubt there was a page in Julie’s book where I was not drawn in, encouraged to wonder, to absorb or marvel or question.

Her home on the Kapiti Coast is where my newly widowed mother sought sanctuary, in her new home and environment for the remaining 15 years of her life. The beach, the sea, the birds, the sky and the looming guardian of Kapiti Island are strong links to me and my understanding of this special environment.

The section of Julie’s book where she writes about a poetry course she ran for people suffering from the effects of stroke, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease, I found particularly poignant. No matter our age or physical condition, our soul remains a sanctuary.

Not only did I find this immensely reassuring but also a wonderful example of compassion. To take time, to give careful attention to detail and to offer attentive presence, gave rise to illuminations from these peoples’ spirits.

The book is full of detail, research, images, references, journal entries, poetry, anecdotes, peoples’ thoughts and experiences. Julie’s writing skills are exemplified in her in-depth exploration of words, concepts, beliefs and experiences.

The thoughts and contributions of Julie’s friends and acquaintances sit easily among those of influential writers and thinkers across the ages. Sanctuary is not the domain of the highly trained, specialised or profoundly learned and wise; it is for every one of us as human beings.

Sanctuary (from the Latin “Sanctus” meaning Holy) can be found anywhere and in limitless ways. It is not limited or definitively prescribed. As the title “the discovery of wonder” indicates  – discover what works for you, what gives you inner space. The cover of the book is a contemplation on this very issue.

I found this book to be one I want to own so that I can return to it again and again for my own personal and spiritual understanding and development.

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Note: For an in depth review of Julie Leibrich’s book that I enjoyed reading go here:

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Kicking back with the Keas

We spent some time at Nga Manu sanctuary on the Kapiti Coast yesterday enjoying the birds, the wildlife and the lowland bushwalks.

I posted two photos from our visit here.

One of the most special moments in our visit was spending time in the walk-through Kea aviary. They had been fed 30 minutes earlier which may have accounted for some of the loud calls we heard as we were enjoying other aviaries on the path to their one.
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The New Zealand Kea is one of our most colourful birds in terms of behaviour and it is also one of our endangered birds. It is unique because it is the only alpine parrot found in the world.

For a very extensive description of the Kea, plus exceptional photographs of this fascinating bird go here.

One of the Keas in the aviary was very sleepy after its food. The other was very intent upon preening to ensure any evidence of its recent meal was not on its feathers.

Keas have the most beautiful orange/red feathers beneath its wings and I narrowly missed a photo of this as my subject stretched and flapped its wings a little at one point.
Some evidence of this pretty colouration can be seen in this photo.
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My subject was very happy to pose for a time but then decided the tree needed further investigation.
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Stunning photos on Sunday

The little point and shoot camera has minimal zoom capacity but very little was needed today as first this Kea and then this Keruru obliged by coming very close to me. An absolute thrill to experience on a hot summer’s day.

Kea or NZ Native Parrot at Nga Manu sanctuary, Waikane

Kea or NZ Native Parrot at Nga Manu sanctuary, Waikane

Keruru of NZ Wood Pigeon at Nga Manu Sanctuary, Waikane

Keruru or NZ Wood Pigeon at Nga Manu Sanctuary, Waikane

Who needs a soothing, soft walled pink room?

Normal transmission has resumed here with a cold southerly wind blowing rain across in drizzling drifts.

Jazz, our cat loves to keep warm and snug. He has always enjoyed climbing into a fitted sheet that has been draped over the clothes airer.

Once or twice he has misjudged his weight and angles and lines and the clothes airer has either fallen over or someone has grabbed it as it toppled.

Today however he arranged himself comfortably without mishap and while he looks a little worried in the first photo, the soothing pink and soft walls of his hide out were ultimately comforting and relaxing….

Cats remind us of simple messages – seek out a sanctuary in which to rest, seek comfort and relax……