Center of wellbeing provides space to reflect.
By Emma Melling
Peaceful water noises mingle with gentle music as a ray of sunlight streams through the window. The room is colored in soft tones of grey, white and brown wood furnishings reminiscent of a grove of trees. Hanging on the wall, a poem tells a story. “It was my first gift – a beautiful world – light…land…trees…flowers…sky…sea – living creatures – and it was GOOD.”
This is the Observatory, a space located in the Center for Wellbeing intended for rest, reflection and prayer. The Observatory is now open to all Bethel employees and students. According to the informational brochure, the Observatory received this name because “it is designed to prompt observation of one’s inner life with God, self and others.”
“Life moves way too fast, and sometimes we need to just pause in the middle of what’s going on around us and take an hour to stop and observe what’s happening inside of us, what’s happening with God, what’s happening in the relationships we are in,” said associate professor of wellbeing and director of wellbeing initiatives Christine Osgood.
The space is a simple, medium-sized room furnished with a couch, chair and desk for writing and reflection. The Observatory also contains guides to optional self-led reflections, such as Dialectical Thinking, Seeing Spiritual Metaphors in Nature and Visio Divina. These reflections are meant to help individuals grow their spiritual, cognitive, emotional and physical health.
“I wanted there to be a spot on campus where people can know, ‘I can go, be completely alone for an hour, regroup, renew and then step back in to the life that I need to be managing today,” Osgood said.
Those who come to the Observatory may use the space “as a monthly spiritual discipline – withdrawing for one hour on a regular basis to pray for their colleagues/classmates, the Bethel community and our world.”
It may also simply be a space for Bethel community members to rest. Tea, coffee and water are provided as well as adult coloring books, blankets and other objects intended to provide relaxation and rejuvenation. The only guideline for the space is that it is intended for “individual use only.”
To utilize the Observatory space, reserve your hour here. The Observatory is located in the Center for Wellbeing in Townhouse N2, room N201.