Creating Sacred Space

Honoring the Henslow Sparrow, Saving Ourselves


It’s almost autumn in Western New York and the bees and other pollinators are very busy nectaring and gathering pollen from my backyard. Today I walked around and began taking photos again of special moments admiring what I had created. I needed something to inspire me and lift my spirits. This summer has been extremely challenging mentally, physically and emotionally. A sign of the times I suppose, but also of choices I had made. All around the world there is chaos and the friends and acquaintances I once had, have been slowly drifting away year after year.

Everyone is busy with the challenges presenting in their own lives and they are many on a daily basis. I finally realized these relationships have also run their course within mine. The resonance is no longer there. What brought us once together has apparently come to completion. I am also no longer the person I once was. My perspective on life has changed immensely from what it once was, but perhaps more accurately— to what it had always been. My relationship with Nature had in fact deepened, as had my own inner knowing of my self. I could no longer pretend or lie to myself. It simply would not work. A myriad of things would fall in my path to remind me whether via my dreams, pain in my body or syncronicities within Nature or with humans.

My life has never been a straight trajectory nor has my career. I have been searching for greater meaning in my life for as long as I can remember, always curious and needing to learn and understand or challenge myself; endlessly searching for something. I know now it was greater intimacy with myself and all of Nature. I realize now that my path has been filled with a myriad of choices that always led me to my intended destination despite sometimes looking back and thinking how could I have chosen that? Years of insights, synchronicities and quiet reflection piecing together my choices has been the only way to make sense of it all— a pathway defined by my soul’s infinite wisdom yet never random. Of that, I am certain.


There is no going backward I found. We can only learn from the past, I realized after attempting to contact some people who had crossed my path years ago. I had been trying to gain some clarity once again, but the answers were not in the past but in the present. What did I want to create now and what did I want to attract into my life? Part of navigating our soul’s journey is becoming clear about our desires and yet paying attention to our heart and our body’s inner promptings. These are questions we are all facing during these times of uncertainty when each day presents something new to navigate. I’ve come to realize that forcing something to happen or denying your own feelings, is no longer allowed. It simply does not work when you’ve been on a spiritual path for as long as I have.

My home and my land have been one of my greatest challenges and I continue to reflect on my experiences, despite my absence from writing for quite some time. Today I knew I needed to write so here I am again, writing about what I have learned because it applies to the world at large and the immense environmental destruction and climate change that is currently taking place. It breaks my heart each and every day so much so, that some days I sit and weep and other days I immerse myself in the aliveness of my property to remind myself of what I have done and accomplished in a span of just over 9 years. It is my land that gives me solace each and every day now and reminds me not to give up or give in to the doom and gloom that currently pervades our society. These feelings of grief that some days are so heavily immersed in darkness and despair find a way through and out amidst the bees, wasps and hummingbirds upon my landscape.

Repeatedly in their present moment beingness, razor focus and love affair with the flowers, I am once again reminded that our beautiful planet and all things upon it can come back to their original state of aliveness, beauty and grace. Perhaps that is exactly our task in this century— to restore what once was to a pristine state of beauty and perfection upon this beloved planet we are privileged to call our home. In doing so, we also come back to ourselves and heal our own wounds often going back generations. That has been my personal journey upon this suburban landscape I have come to love and cherish despite the frustrations it has presented repeatedly.


Each time I have been asked to dig deeper into the depths of my own soul as I continued to learn and read the signs. Our Earth Mother is asking all of us to reconnect to her. To ignore her promptings, is to do so at your own peril for she is far more powerful than any human gathering or corporation seeking to rape and abuse her for profit, greed and power. I realize now it is only the insecure and abused who seek to control her, those who have lost their way— their connection to their ancestral roots, to the cosmos and this amazingly magical life sustaining blue green planet and the cycles of Nature inherent in all of us.

It was yesterday that I had a conversation with a friend regarding his concern over the recent development of land in my suburban neighborhood that happens to be down the street from me. It was a subject of concern for many years due to the existence of a threatened species, the Henslow sparrow that had been found nesting on the open meadows of surrounding wetland. The land had been slated for development of yet another housing project. After a moratorium on building for years due to concerns over this tiny songbird, sadly in 2019 ‘progress’ ultimately won. This spring a developer commenced with his plans and the project went forth. It would appear that somehow the town of Lancaster and the DEC gave in. I’m sure some form of reasoning was given in public and secret conversations.

It’s the way it has continued to be in my town that has a history of overdevelopment of wetlands and creation of retention ponds which divert the underground water in an unhealthy and unsustainable way that inevitably creates more problems over time for the community. I am one of many residents with issues of wet land that becomes swampy after the winter snow starts to melt. The difference is, unlike many residents in my area, I have been concerned with environmental issues since the 90s when I began volunteering for a local wildlife center, so I began approaching things in a creative way listening to what the land needed bringing sacredness back to a wounded and stripped landscape.

So today when I searched the internet for that article about the Henslow sparrow controversy that appeared in The Buffalo News so many years ago around the time we first moved to this street, I was surprised to find that it had disappeared from the internet and the links to all references were broken. Luckily I still have a copy of the original newspaper article in my files. I hardly found the disappearance a coincidence, but I did find a reference to this entire topic of flight paths of birds, overdevelopment and the Lancaster Henslow sparrow issue written in a book which stated “The thought is if this field goes away, then they’re (Henslow sparrow) done in Lancaster; that’s it.” I’d like to believe that these rare songbirds just came down the street to my meadow gardens, but I have yet to identify them amidst the myriad of songbirds my revitalized property now supports. Perhaps one day soon I will. I will not give up hope and I now honor that tiny songbird in this writing for your story has not gone unnoticed.


Even though I maintain my license with the DEC to rehabilitate wildlife, I now focus more on establishing habitat for wildlife and supporting pollinators, rather than fixing broken animals or raising orphans. Nevertheless, the topic of diminishing habitat for all life forms remains dear to my heart. That is why I have done everything I can to support the honeybees and many other pollinators that now find sanctuary on my property. As I have rewilded my land and created a healthy, sustainable landscape to mitigate the problems that overdevelopment have created in my neighborhood, I have also gained greater clarity in my own life about my personal boundaries and what I will and will not accept from others. Wetland development is after all, a topic that we all should be concerned about now and in the coming years given the changes in climate that are being experienced all around the globe. Where will the development end and when will it be enough? In forthcoming writings I will discuss many of the things that I have experienced in an area that still hasn’t learned from past mistakes. It’s time to wake up and the time is now.

Clarissa Harison is an advocate for the natural world and has been writing since the 90s about her experiences with nature on behalf of those who have no voice. Her travels and observations healing her own land, as well as her diverse background in international studies, energy of space, the corporate world and consulting/teaching work have led her to develop an intimate understanding of the perfection existing in nature and our own individual journey of finding our way back to ourselves and ultimately restoring the well being of our planet.

2019 Copyright Awen Environments. All rights reserved.

Clearing Clutter for New Dreams

Clutter never used to be an issue for me. I am extremely organized by nature and very methodical in how I work. Nevertheless, the birth of my son, years of challenge and transformation and ultimately the death of my parents put a new spin on things. I found myself having difficulties throwing things away or even donating. Once you recognize that everything that exists on this planet has energy and memory, you begin to look at things differently and the detachment that once existed changes.

I know there are numerous methods to clear clutter and organize one's home but how many of these methods actually address the issue of our throw away society and materialism on this planet? How many address the underlying reason why we find ourselves with clutter in the first place? How many experts really address the need to respect and honor those things that we treasure or hold on to without explanation? It is true that we cannot take material things with us into the afterlife, but what about cherishing and finding better use for the things that we have?


As someone well versed in the energy of space, I found myself really questioning the foundations for the principles that I have learned. I realize I'm somewhere in the middle with regard to creating a free flowing organized home and surrounding myself with things that I love and recognize for their potential use. How do we surround ourselves with that which we love and yet honor all that which has come into our life and not contribute to more debris in dumpsites? How do we find value in something that someone has toiled hard on and yet received little or no pay nor gratitude for? How do we bring the sacred into everything that we surround our self with and minimize the consumerism and materialism that is rampant in our society?

My parents taught me to take care of the quality things which they purchased. Both of them repaired and reused countless objects in a myriad of ways. My father had been born into affluence that suddenly one day was taken away from his family amidst devastating political upheaval in his country and my mother had experienced the loss of her home, loved ones and belongings due to war. You cherish and learn to be grateful for what you have with memories like that. Since my parents have passed, I find it difficult to let go of things they held dear because it is a connection to the memories of my childhood and to them, as well as my ancestors. I simply cannot discard their belongings so easily. Given what I now know, how do you integrate these things and yet streamline your home so that it is most efficient, organized and the energy flows freely? This is a topic that I need to make peace with.

I just finished reading Marie Kondo's little jewel of a book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" and I've been inspired. Although I find some of her methods a bit too drastic and difficult for me to follow all at once as she suggests, I nevertheless agree with her philosophy that you should only surround yourself with things that you love. Marie sees the sacred purpose in each and every object and believes that objects love to be loved. Neglect is is a big energy drainer for objects in your home. The more you love something, the more that love is reflected back to you and energizes you. Picking up each and every item in your home and deciding whether you love it or find it to be useful, is the foundation for her approach and something I learned from a teacher many years ago. Marie reminded me of how important this key philosophy is in creating a home that is sacred and supportive.

So I've begun to apply some of her organizing principles to my own home and I've already noticed the difference. By organizing my dresser drawers for instance, in a way that I can visually see everything in it, as opposed to stacking, it is so much more functional and visually appealing. It is amazing how different it makes me feel when I get ready. Just this new approach has inspired me to continue working my way through my books and the rest of my home. I know that I have a huge task ahead of me, but if just small changes can make such a difference in how I feel, imagine how completing an entire home will affect my mindset. 

 Clarissa Harison is an advocate for the natural world and has been writing since the 90s about her experiences with nature on behalf of those who have no voice. Her travels and observations healing her own land, as well as her diverse background in international studies, energy of space, the corporate world and consulting/teaching work have led her to develop an intimate understanding of the perfection existing in nature and our own individual journey of finding our way back to ourselves and ultimately restoring the well being of our planet.

2018 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.