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A peace-of-mind place.

November 19, 2009
Cindy Schumacher

Since you’re on Maui, your options are many: the beach, the mountains or watching the sunset, for example. Yet, just the thought of getting your beach stuff together, then driving somewhere else at the end of the day, can make you feel even more tired.

“What if that beautiful place was only a few steps away, and you didn’t have to go anywhere, or do anything, except enter a special space in your own home?” asked Michelle Ritchie. “This is how I came to create my new business, ‘Sanctuary, your own personal retreat,’” she said.

Ritchie, a longtime Makawao resident, started Sanctuary to create a personalized space that could relax and refresh you anytime you want, for as long as you want.

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Michelle Ritchie creates a personalized space that could bring you a relaxing, refreshing feeling to go to anytime you want, for as long as you want.

Using elements of nature, waterfalls and reflecting pools, art, music, lighting and aromatherapy, each Sanctuary envelops the senses, uplifting your spirits. Your personal sanctuary can be big or small, elaborate or simple, or high-tech or natural, depending on what you feel will bring relaxation and spiritual renewal.

“Imagine,” said Ritchie, “you’re on your way home, feeling stressed out, trying not to worry or dwell on problems. Arriving home, you close your eyes for just a moment and secretly wish for a nice vacation, or at least for a way to really relax—one that refreshes you, body and soul.”

Ritchie believes that everybody has stress and needs a healthy way to let it go. She was formerly an addiction counselor and understands the benefit of decreasing tension. Now an artist and designer, she knows that we mean to find time to take better care of ourselves, but often don’t.

“At the end of the day, often it’s all we can do to have dinner and go to bed!” she said.

It’s no wonder. This modern world over-stimulates our brains. In our own personal sanctuary, we can regain our focus by reeling in our attention. We need a place to slow down and quiet the mind, although that is easier said than done. Our sanctuary should be a natural, safe and memorable place that “our body and soul need through all stages of life,” said Ritchie.

“So far,” she said, “everyone who has heard about my sanctuaries wants one!”

She has placed them in a physician’s waiting room, in a chiropractor’s office and private homes.

During your first consultation with Ritchie, she can help you discover what fuels your introspective personality. Ritchie offers an uncommon prescription by creating an atmosphere that can turn your health and happiness around. For example, if you love the beach at dawn, she will bring it to you via art, music and scent, allowing you the space to listen to your heart.

“Even in a corner space, the right sanctuary will help you arrive at an understanding and attainment of peace,” she said.

Ritchie’s vision is to also work with nonprofits, hospitals, schools, women’s shelters, corporate offices, and any other facility that may need a quiet place to refresh and renew body and soul of those who visit.

“I also hope to partner with some clients and donate sanctuaries to charities,” she said. “There is a need in the world—one I feel inside every day—to help people heal their hurts, to lift them up into seeing the beauty, the hope and possibility that comes from reconnecting with Spirit. It brings me joy to make them, and I hope it will do the same for those who receive them.”

Everyone senses that the sanctuary of the heart is sacred in itself. Creating a space to discern its peace and rest is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give to others— and to yourself.



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