The Project Sanctuary Story
by Silvia Hartmann
A good book solves a problem.
This book solves the problem of "how to be creative."
Chronicling the development of Project Sanctuary from the very beginning and including hundreds of Sanctuary games as well as the Genius Symbols, this book is the key to all of Silvia Hartmann's work - and to your own infinite creativity.
Welcome To Project Sanctuary -
The Game In Space & Time
By Silvia Hartmann
I come from a place where it was held that fantasy and imagination is a curse.
Where day dreaming was held to be a dangerous waste of time and creativity something the rich would mess around with because they didn't have to work *hard* all the time.
This place in time and space where I was born and raised was dedicated to hard work, material labour, from dusk to dawn, just in order to scratch a meagre living and to live in constant fear that even that would dry out soon enough, and we would all starve to death ...
The place in space and time where I was born was Germany not so long after the end of the Second World war. Things had been hard beyond our current comprehension. But also, those people who had survived this hardship had at one point been invited to dream - to dream great dreams, to put their faith and trust in symbols and in works of art; in theatre, in the potential to live much better lives and in myth and magic.
All these dreams were broken; and to the people from that time and place where I was born and raised I now understand there was nothing more bitter, nothing more soul destroying and nothing more painful than fantasy, imagination, myth and magic, creativity and dreams.
Now, with the wisdom of hindsight, I understand why this should have been so. I understand that the people who raised me felt it was their duty to try and ensure that I would never dream, and that I would understand the terrible lesson that all is hard at the end, and you are only going to end up broken, starving, heart broken, of broken spirit and of broken back the same if you pin your hopes upon a star.
But dream I did.
And I observed.
I observed the lack of joy, the lack of lightness.
I observed the unreasonable fear of innovation, of creativity across the board.
I was stunned by the depth of aggression I encountered when I would try and tell a story and was accused of being a liar, and beaten for it.
I was confused by having dreams as vivid as any life experience could be, and being told that dreams were nothing at all, all in my mind, it doesn't matter, it doesn't count, get back to work, we must make a living ...
Now it is true that children will rebel against their elders, especially and probably only when their elders seem to be insane and unreasonable in their emotions, actions, words and deeds.
If the elders were so up in arms about imagination and creativity, there must be something to it, I thought.
And so imagination and creativity became things I would embrace, make my own, and use powerfully and from an early age to create a counterbalance between that world of endless toil and misery, which I christened “The Hard” and that world of infinite freedom, space, joy, excitement, adventure, colour, tastes and textures, light and music that I would call “The Sanctuary.”
I took imagination seriously and spent as much time as I could working on it, even as a very small child. I would work out ways to get into that other world, by looking at a colourful quilt for example and having it become a world of rivers, mountains, lakes and grasslands. Then I would step inside there, and there would be creatures of all kinds and people too, adventures and experiences awaited.
What I didn't realise for the longest time was that the experiences in Sanctuary were giving me life experiences that were missing from my hard existence.
I was learning things in Sanctuary that I wasn't learning in the Hard.
In fact, I had engaged myself in a training program that gave me not just an anchor in sanity and a Sanctuary to escape to, but which gave me additional information about the world that other people did not seem to have access to.
Through the craziness, thick and thin, of my entire childhood, Sanctuary was by my side. It saved my sanity, saved my life on too many occasions to count, and made many things very easy for me that others found so difficult, or impossible.
Just how different having the Sanctuary space that I could access at will made me did not really strike me until I was sent away, around the age of 9, to a summer camp on a North Sea island.
There were about 120 children, divided up into groups of ten, 12 groups in all, and every day, each group had to put something “creative” into a journal that belonged to the group and would be a part of the group competition judging at the end of the 6 week summer camp.
This group journal was the source of intense pain to everyone - people could not think what to do with it. And they were loudly complaining that it was too much to ask to come up with a new creative something every single day for a whole 6 weeks.
I loved the opportunity of the journal and couldn't wait to do this for my own group before breakfast each day. Then came the occasion where my group leader hired me out as a favour to another group leader to put some things in their journal, as it was painfully barren and most days had nothing in it at all.
It was just a question of writing a short poem, pressing a flower that grew nearby, a comment on camp activity, perhaps a riddle or a picture, a cartoon - it really wasn't difficult.
Eventually, I ended up doing most of all 12 group books every day, for the entire 6 weeks, and it was easy for me to do this, and there wasn't another child in the camp who seemed to be willing and able to come up with regular, interesting things to put into their journals. Of course, and as usual, when this came to light the camp leaders were furious, punished me and “chewed me out” in public; but by then I was well used to that anyway, took pride in that kind of thing, and shrugged it off.
However, it did strike me that there was something different about me.
I wondered over the years when situations like that occurred again - like being asked to come up with uses for a paper clip at a corporate training, and I managed 107 in the allotted time, and the next best guy had 19 - what was wrong with me, but I honestly never thought it was my other world that was the cause for these outbursts of creativity on tap.
I thought everyone did that.
I thought everyone would go into their own Sanctuaries before going to sleep at night, or on long train journeys, or when they had boring work to do that didn't require the mind to be present.
I thought everyone had their own many worlds, populated with many friends, animals and aliens, islands, kingdoms and mystery quests, that everyone had invented hundreds of different and alien toys to play with, and lived a myriad of different lives in different times and places by the time they were 14.
I had no idea that people don't do that at all, and that it was the way I lived my double life all the time which made that difference I could never account for.
Until the day came, I must have been 23 by then, and a friend told me about a bad dream. She was obviously much upset by it and I was amazed and asked her why she didn't move it on in Sanctuary. When she looked at me blankly and with complete non-understanding it began to dawn on me that I was sitting across from a person who didn't seem to use their Sanctuary.
Funny as it seems now, at that time I actually thought that there was something wrong with *her* and still went on believing that everyone else had their Sanctuary, just as I do, in total privacy and as something you just don't ever talk about.
I cautiously showed her how to take the dream, step inside and play it on to gain a resolution, a victory if you will; she did this and was amazed by it. It made me feel good to have helped, and not soon after, another opportunity arose, again with someone telling me about a bad dream that was a recurring nightmare, this time a male friend who was very artistic, intensely creative, all the time.
Surely, he would have a Sanctuary inside?
But even he was amazed, so much so that he cried, “You should write a book about that!”
I thought, there must be a hundred books on Sanctuary already, I don't want to make a fool of myself and re-invent the wheel ...
Back in the day, we didn't have the internet. I had to actually go into a library and read little cards, pull books from shelves, get catalogues from scientific/psychological specialist publishers and ring round book shops.
The more I saw and read, the more astonished I became.
It wasn't just my friends who didn't have a clue about Sanctuary - nobody did!
And if they did, they had never written a book about it.
What I read about the ideas of metaphor, fantasy and imagination was so wrong, so impoverished, so convoluted, so weird by any other name, I was quite literally floundering.
If it had not been for my good friends in the Hard at the time, I might have walked away from it at that point; but whenever I started to explain how you make a world, or you take an existing one from a story or a book, a movie or a song, and you step inside it and have adventures there, and those are real, they feel real and they make a real difference, people were just fascinated.
Not only were they fascinated, they could do it too!
With the smallest amount of encouragement and guidance on my part, all my friends back in the day soon had their own Sanctuaries up and running and were so excited about it, I could tell that having the Sanctuary had added a dimension to their lives that had previously been absent.
At that time, I was getting more involved in the mind, body spirit scene and came across people who had done things like guided meditations and autogenic training and metaphor therapy, but still, even those seemed to have never really taken Sanctuary and what you can do with it any further, never really made it come to life properly.
I tested simple things with many people, and eventually came to the conclusion that all people can do Sanctuary, that they can do so easily, that it delights them, lights them up, gives them comfort, sets their problem solving skills free at last, gives them a space to express their personality and their hopes and dreams, and that the experiences you gain in Sanctuary “hold in the Hard.”
One night in 1993, I was sitting by my computer, thinking about writing a poem. I turned my stereo on and into the room drifted the voice of Jim Morrison, and he sang:
“Can you give me Sanctuary
I must find a place to hide,
a place for me tonight.
Can you give me soft asylum,
I can't take it any more,
the man is at the door.”
Lyrics quote from “The Soft Parade” The Doors, 1969
I looked across time and space to the man who wrote those words and said out aloud into the room,
“Yes, I can.
"I can give you Sanctuary. This is what you need to know ...”
... and called up a new blank document, and carefully typed over the top of it,
That night I started and in the days and nights that followed, I wrote the original Project Sanctuary manual.
To this day, I get notes of gratitude from people who came across that, and I love it.
I don't know where I got Sanctuary from, I have no idea why that happened or why I found it.
But I do know that without Sanctuary I would not be here, and without that, there would be many things missing that are in the world today. All the things I've researched and discovered started out as Sanctuary experiences that led me to ask certain questions, for example to understand the reality of energy and its effects on everything that not just human beings, but at least all social mammals do; to ask what emotions really are and then formulate a simple, natural strategy to deal with them; and to seek to understand how life experiences shape a person through time in such a way that instead of endless talking, we really get to make some progress in learning, evolution, healing, change and forward momentum as a human being.
In 2008, I designed a system of simple symbols that would help people bridge between the energy mind and the conscious mind, The Genius Symbols. They make it easy for people to have more ideas to choose from, rather than just one, or none at all as the case may be; and in working with that and many people from all walks of life I started to think that what human beings really need across the board to get out of the various fine messes we've got ourselves into is exactly that - ideas.
Not world peace. Not a cure for world hunger, climate change or cancer.
We need more people to have more creativity, more ideas, new ideas all the time.
We need to evolve everything.
If you think about your daily life, and the annoyance and challenges on little silly levels you have to battle with all the time, that's where we can start.
From back breaking designs for shopping carts to hobs that are so difficult to clean; from ugly, clumsy, wasteful transportation systems to crazy schizophrenic road layouts; from weird and convoluted ideas about learning, studying and handling knowledge and data to the most peculiar societal entrainments that lack reason, rhyme and logic; from the way we conduct all our relationships with everyone and everything from cradle to the grave to what and how we eat and live - all of it has so much room for improvement!
Imagine there were people in your gas company, in your local council, in the school your children attend, on Wall Street, in the government, in the government departments, in the health service, in your local shop, in your local church, people everywhere who were having good ideas on how to improve what's wrong all the time.
Never mind imagine all the people living life in peace - imagine all the people out there being creative, being intelligent, being sensible, being logical, seeking solutions, having genius ideas on how to make things work beautifully!
What a world we could be living in!
I would have to seriously re-appraise my name for “the Hard” and come up with something else altogether!
I am one of those people who didn't like the world they were born and raised in, and decided that they would have a go at “changing the world.”
Of course, I often wondered what to do, what I can do to change the world, for the human world is at least 100,000 years in the making, now 8 billion strong, a huge ship of people with this enormous momentum of the ages on a collision course with reality, with the natural laws of the Universe and the Great Creative Order itself.
Sounds like a stiff task for one seriously imperfect woman, doesn't it.
But I've decided that by encouraging more people to be more creative, to access their innate wisdom and understanding of what's right and what's wrong, and to engage their own fabulous minds is what I can do in this lifetime to change the world.
For every great change that humanity has ever known, if you dig down deep enough, there is always and only one single person at the bottom of it who had a new idea.
These people were and are far and few between, and that does not need to be that way.
I have absolutely proven to myself beyond the shadow of a doubt that people can get a hold of their own creativity and imagination; that they can learn or re-learn to use it; and that genius solutions no longer need to be confined to the chosen few.
With The Genius Symbols, it's so easy a child can do it as well as an old age pensioner.
But behind the Genius Symbols lie the entire and extraordinary realms of Sanctuary itself.
Vast, unexplored, ready and waiting.
Such riches and treasures lie there, diamonds and gold pale in comparison.
Every ordinary human mind is the portal to infinite experiences, infinite riches, lives way beyond what you could ever have in the Hard.
Put the hard experience together with Sanctuary experience, and something emerges that is more than the sum of its parts, you might as well call it genius, or wisdom, or possibly even the truth.
People who can think like that are not just the answer to all of humanity's problems.
That's just the start, all that problem solving and healing that is now required is only so desperately needed now because of the stupid actions of our progenitors, God forgive them, they didn't know what they were doing ...
Beyond all that hard work to put to rights what has gone wrong is something else altogether.
There is beauty, majesty, awe.
Excitement, love, delicious sexiness of the highest proportions.
Logic of such profoundness, it makes you want to weep.
THAT is what human beings were built for, not to suffer worse than any animal ever would in the valley of the shadows, the vale of tears, or the stony lands beyond the forbidden Garden of Eden.
Sanctuary shows us this, reminds us of this truth.
The Universe is glorious.
We human beings are glorious - we are a work of art like at least our Planet Earth has never seen before.
It isn't suffering or fear of death that makes us human.
It is Sanctuary that lifts us up from the root digging savages to being - glorious.
We have two worlds at our disposals.
One is the Hard.
The other is Sanctuary.
We have the ability and propensity to live and experience things that are not here in the Hard.
We can learn from places, people and events we have never had access to in the Hard.
We can experience infinite freedom and expansion into who we were really meant to be at any time, free of charge, just for the asking.
Playing in Sanctuary is truly the first step into the most awesome place, that of a human being activated, catalysed, enacting a reality that is structurally pre-supposed in our very existence.
Don't ever think for one moment that the Hard is more important than Sanctuary.
Both need to come in sync, both need to share their experiences, and when they come onto the same page, both become more than the sum of their parts - and our lives become completely other to what we had ever hoped and dreamed that they might be.
It really is.
I am joyful that you are here, and that you will share in the excitement of The Greatest Game on Earth - playing Project Sanctuary and in doing so, discovering your own mind.
Welcome to you!
December 11th, 2010
is available in all formats
from all good book stores,
online and off.
Publisher direct from DragonRising
Click HERE to buy.