French Broad River at Stackhouse Bend, N. Carolina
~ John O’Donohue
Have you ever found yourself wondering what “home” means to you personally? The mystics say it resides inside and I agree with this. Yet, there is much more to this journey to reflect upon, let go into and be present to. Perhaps this is a quest we are on our entire lives.
I love the term “wild divinity” in the excerpt below – “resting in the house of our own heart”. As we age this somehow becomes easier to do as the striving and outward focused actions fall away and the inner “home guidance system” takes precedence.
“Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you.
The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary.
When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality.
In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. No longer on the run from your aloneness, your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to covertly scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself.
This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.“
John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
Excerpt from ETERNAL ECHOES
“Your vision is your home and your home should have many mansions to shelter your wild divinity.”
Crossing the threshold into this wild divinity of our own heart brings a “belonging” that never goes away. This is foundation – the bricks, mortar and rooted earth – that brings with it the freedom to surrender into the next relationship, artistry, move, endeavor, location….life moment.
Having just completed a 7th relocation two weeks ago to Asheville, N. Carolina area I am forced to re-calibrate and go deeper into unknown territory, using challenges as stepping stones for this next chapter of life, while at the same time trusting inner guidance even as ever present uncertainty attempts to take an upper hand. The ever constant details of it all – the “right” and “wrong” – threaten to take away inner knowing and trust and often serve as immense distractions.
On the outside it may look like I have been searching for a home and never quite getting there. This last time leaping from wildfires, air pollution, rolling blackouts and high daily living expense in California to a more elemental earth and water home sanctuary aligns with the “home” inside. Yet the loss of being close in distance to sons, grandchildren and friends is part of the letting go journey as well.
I find the wild beauty and grounding of the natural world always there, serving as guidance whispered into heart and soul as a reminder of building inner resilience, acceptance and trust. When “home” resides in the wild divinity of the heart each place you find yourself – whether staying in a community where you were born and have established community or exploring other cultures and landscapes – will serve as an awakening to life……
Conscious Embodied Relocation: I was not consciously aware of the principles involved in this type of embodied leave taking when I took that first leap over 30 years ago now, but over the last three decades the fine tuning became more apparent.
If you are thinking of finding a “home landscape” that supports your aliveness during this transformational elder time of life here are some keys for doing these leaps that I found integral to trusting the unfolding possibilities:
“It’s not realistic to expect to always be thriving. Life can be messy and we can’t separate the highs and lows or have one without the other. But we can learn to accept the process, to understand that it’s part of the journey, and to build our own inner resilience. It’s about bouncing forward and using adversity as a catalyst to get better and become stronger.
And we also need to remember that we are part of a community – that when we are vulnerable, we can lean on each other and lift each other up. And together, we are so much more resilient than we know. ” ~ Green Renaissance
“This work is not for yourselves – kill that spirit of ‘self’. If you can rise, bring someone with you” – Charlotte Maxeke.
Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.
Featuring Mpumelelo Ncwadi.
Copyright by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 4/2021