Choose a rug of comfort, wrap yourself and sit in the Temple of Solace.
image courtesy of Imogen Crest – October 2006
” May your voice be loving enough to silence your own fears.” ….. silent lotus
Living with my husband’s advanced cancer for many years has proved challenging. Advanced cancer is a term to describe a metastatic cancer and is a cancer which is unlikely to be cured. One of the painful realities, when cancer will not go away, is that family and friends sometimes withdraw. For years I have converted the stress of ‘living with cancer’ to creative energy and the Soul Food Cafe is a product of that creative energy. More recently The Temple of Solace was borne out of a deep sense of loss over hurtful abandonment at a time of deep grief.
Recently a close friend here at Soul Food shared saying “I think the whole of Soul Food is a wonderful creative resource where people can browse or contribute as they wish, where there is no pressure to produce, just to enjoy. It is well known that writing and art heal the soul and I’m sure, given the right stimuli, people respond in it in a way that they never can to conventional medicine. This is why art therapy is so helpful. The fact that Soul Food exists online, means that therapy is accessible to everyone who has a computer or access to a computer. If they choose to join our community they will be sure of a warm welcome. We can all attest to the reality of the closeness contained in this virtual community, a community which does become real when you start interacting with kindred spirits and exchange private mails, phone calls, snail mail, etc. I think SFC rocks! I am biased of course”
Soul Food Cafe and the Temple of Solace are not just for those who are feeling isolated because of circumstances such as that which I have experienced. It is quite simply a refuge, a safe place to retreat. Visitors to the Temple may be searching for some kind words as a result of a loss of a job, a way of life, an empty nest, the loss of a teddy bear, the death of a pet, the loss of property, loss of a way of life, a lost muse, a sense of abandonment: about almost anything. Personally, I have found that kind words can reduce me to tears, simply because I am not as accustomed to kind words and kind actions as I am at steeling myself, putting up my armour to protect myself from the pain of what feels like rejection.
When you arrive at the temple, choose a rug from the pile Monika Roleff has provided, wrap it around yourself, rock and keen or wail if that is what you feel like doing.
There is only one catch to all of this. If you choose to unburden and seek some comfort be ready to comfort and listen to others. No one is expected to find any solutions or offer any quick fixes. They are simply expected to hear and feel empathy and then go out into the real world and treat people with kindness.
For a long time gratitude journals have been popular and these are excellent. What we would like to see in the temple is a book of kindness where folk record and share some of the simple things they have done to comfort and support another, over a sustained period. You see, folk are usually quite good at the time of a cataclysmic happening, but they are not always so good at marathon running, at being there for an extended period. It often simply gets too hard.
What also needs to be recorded is what we feel would have been enough. It is enough when people spend a little bit of time with me and nod knowingly.
I am hoping that people will ask to become members of the Temple, that they will produce ideas, essays about the subject, icons that comfort, altars, references, meditations, helpful hints, spirit lifter suggestions, and so on.
Lets start a chain reaction to break the silence Gandhi spoke of.
Simply begin commenting at the Temple and if you want to be a member of a team committed to beating the drums that call for compassion, empathy and kindness, simply contact
Heather at heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm or
Monika at indigo_moon22 at hotmail dot com
Help Support the Temple of Solace and Soul Food
Consider ways that you can help support Soul Food Cafe and the Temple of Solace, and ensure that its field of positive influence is expanded. Any donations are ploughed back into the site. Soul Food Cafe is a free resource and is not a profit organisation. It has been funded and operated by Heather Blakey for over eight years, but now a group of like minded individuals have gathered to ensure that the vision is sustained.
16 thoughts on “Temple of Solace – Welcome”
I love how this site is shaping up and being populated. You have your finger on the pulse of a deep need.
Thank you Heather and Monika
Thanks for the encouragement Julie. I sense how very important this is and will be spending a lot of time here, becoming a priestess of comfort 🙂
Dearest Heather and Monika, this site is different. It is very, very special, and a tribute to both of you that from your own sorrows you have sprung such an inspiring well of compassion. Already it carries with it that awe usually associated with churches and temples. Your spirits are shing through. Peace and love and blessings on you both, and also on all who call in here to sit awhile. And yes I too would like to help you sound the drum roll of compassion, empathy, and kindness.
I agree, Edith and Julie. Your presence is very welcome.
This site is so different from what I imagined. It is healing and comforting. It is strength and peace. It is a place to learn how to witness pain without accepting responsibility for curing it. It is a place of deep learning, and I’m honored to sit among those who have carved this temple of stone from their own experience.
Heather, Beloved Sister of Spirit;
The words, wish, and tears are for you sweetie. Holding you close to me in spirit, as I wish I could in person.
“All-Mother!!” My voice was imperative and shaking.
“Yes my daughter?” All-Mother’s voice was ever calm and soothing.
“You know of my Sister Heather’s loss. I came to ask for an extra measure of comfort for her in the days ahead.
My spirit is with her now, so she will not feel alone. My arms wish to hold her, and my shoulder to be where she leaves behind the weight of tears.”
“I know my Daughter. Comfort will be hers in abundance, and there will be shoulders everywhere to hold her and share the weight of sorrow with her.”
“Thank you All-Mother, I will burn candles of green and white for out Heather, and play songs of both farewell and promises of meeting again.”
Father of Man, lend your strength to our Heather, support her through the coming days.
Mother of Man, hold the spirit of Heather close in Your arms, safe within Your love, give all comfort and support she needs.
Amen, Namaste, and Blessed Be,
You are in my thoughts and in my heart on this very difficult day. I am pleased that you were able to keep Darryl home with you and his loved ones and that you were with him when he transitioned. He is no longer in pain as he awaits the time when you two will be together again. A love like your does not die, it lives on forever.
Love to both you and Darryl, Heather. Peace in the arms of the Beloved is present now for both of you.
Heather and others,
I returned to Soul Food today after a relatively long abscence. My blog has a link that I have not pressed for ages. Today though, as a very special friend’s son lies in intensive care in a coma and today as a friend of my brother slipped away after a car / bike accident, i pressed the link and found others in similar situations. Heather, you are an amazing woman. An incredible inspiration. Your untiring devotion to a fantastic resource of writing inspiration is to be wondered at. I hope that i can press my soul food link more often and that more and more times i can add to your wonderful world of the word.
What a lovely thing to stumble upon on the internet. Thank you for this space.
Echoing what others have said, this is a wonderful place. Is funny how sometimes you find places like this just when you need it most. I’ve *enjoyed* reading some of the entries in here, makes me feel much less alone in the world.
i too have metastatic cancer, diagnosed in july of this year. it is an odd existence, and difficult for others to understand if you are not a patient or a caregiver. it is a waiting, which others see as a wonderful gift, and we see as a lurking presence just outside our peripheral vision. each CT scan, each colonoscopy is possibly the one, the one that brings it forward, and this time it may be the one that doesn’t respond, doesn’t stop.
i am at the beginning, 3rd round of chemo, 18 weeks plus surgery, and the chemo has no end. the first question is always, “how much longer?” the answer? forever. if i want to live, and i do. i never had another choice.
when i was first diagnosed, a friend asked me, ” Are you going to do chemo?” and i was stunned. i know that she was asking would i do an alternative therapy, but she didn’t understand that i was full of tumors, that there was no other choice, that we could pray, we could meditate and that we SHOULD pray and meditate, but that i was past any other medication, any other alternative but surgery and chemo.
and pray of all types, all beliefs, continue to lift me and move me forward, along with the poisons (because they are poisons) that my body endures every 2 weeks. every rock, every angel, every buddha, every goddess that a friend or family member gives me goes with me to chemo and stays by my bed.
but in the end, my reason for fighting for going forward for enduring every second of the pain and nausea and depression are my daughter and son. they are my passion my reason for life my beloved children. i will not leave them without kicking and screaming.
which is probably the way i’ll go 🙂
There are some lovely writings on this site,they do indeed bring comfort. A good friend and leading light to the disabled community died unexpectedly on Dec 30th so I will light a candle.
lighting a candle was a very special experience for me,( as I cannot Light them in real life) It is a privilege to be able to do so for a special person.
so sad that it was necessary
Please also re-light my candle for Daryl and know that I think of you also.
Your help and support is much appreciated.Thanks Susan
I love the idea of a rug to wrap yourself in. It reminds me of something Virginia Frye used to do with children who had lost a parent. In the group they would make a cloak. If someone was feeling particularly vulnerable when they met, they would put on the cloak so everyone would know they were having a hard time. We all need cloaks like that at times.
We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.