Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sophrosyne (#31 days of Sanctuary day 9)

I came across the image above on Pinterest.  I had never heard of the term "sophrosyne", but it seems to fit in with the way "sanctuary" feels to me internally.  When I am taking time to care for myself and nurture my spiritual nature, connecting with God, I experience sophrosyne, a healthy state of my that brings self-awareness, balance, and contentment (if not happiness).  

According to my Wikipedia "research", Sophrosyne was the Greek goddess known for moderation, prudence, and self-control.  She was a good spirit that perhaps influenced the Oracle at Delphi's wisdom "Know thyself".  In Christian theology, the term has often related to virginity and purity, although it seems that integrity may be a better fit for us in these times when we have a love/hate relationship with the body and the Christian faith, in particular, doesn't seem to know how to address it in healthy ways.

It's so easy for our minds to become cluttered with negative messages and we begin to hear other's opinions louder than our own thoughts.  It's hard to tune out the self critic and the noise of society and culture that aims to tell us what we should be and feel.  But a healthy mind is able to sort through all the junk and hear the still small voice inside, the voice that calls to us reminding us that we are Beloved.  We are challenged to exert self control in our actions, balancing work and rest, praise and criticism, self and others to find a place of equilibrium, a sense of sanctuary in ourselves and within our busy world.


  1. I am reading The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen, so good, and this is a good reminder of going to Him to know ans feel out true selves, hearing His voice first and not others. Thanks Jenny!

  2. What a great word! Thanks for sharing it!