Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekly Reflection (Week 10): Finding Home

What is homing? It is the instinct to return, to go to the place we remember.... The exact answer to "Where is home?" is more complex ... but in some way it is an internal place, a place somewhere in time rather than space, where a woman feels of one piece.... Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings, not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom for constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world." - Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, "Women Who Run With The Wolves."

How do I create Home for myself?

After 88 days of snow on the ground, the thawing out began last week. While I am anxious for the green buds and blue skies of Spring, the reality is a period of mud, grey skies and grit and grime has to be gotten through. Emotionally, I feel excitement swelling up followed by a sinking backwards into inertia. Yes, I am feeling stuck in the mud of my life.

I can't even say I am feeling stuck so much as continually dragged back by - what? By the necessities of life. Things just keep cropping up. Cowgirl has begun her usual March cough which either is allergies or a cold (whatever I think it is, it will be the other) and now my mother is having some issues that need to be discussed with her doctor. And I am anticipating - because I do that so well! - rounds of doctors visits in the coming weeks which result in a suspension of the seemingly stolen moments of me-time.

That I consider tending to my needs as stealing is curious. Who am I stealing from? My family and work of course. And aren't they really taking from me? In the rational part of my brain, I know that to be able to care for others I must first take care of myself. Not the prevailing attitude of our culture nor of many of my friends who I see drained by the demands of their lives.

What has me gulping for air as if I am being dragged under is a rising fear of losing momentum, of losing myself after a long, long absence from my life. I think this is a healthy reflex as long as I pause to recognize what is really going on here. In the past, I had been swept away by the demands of my life, letting drop by the wayside those things deemed nonessential.

But that was in the past and I know better now. I know that even the briefest return to my center is more than enough to sustain me. I may crave more time to create, read, be outdoors but I can get by on smaller doses until opportunity allows me the chance for a complete restocking. I also know nothing will be lost; that the side journeys are opportunities for me to gather from my life the materials to be used when I able to return home.

How do I find Home for myself? In those minutes, no matter how brief, when I pause and let myself feel what is going on inside of me. The pause is essential. I tend to rush through my life, late it seems for everything. But when I can stop running, I can see I am exactly where I need to be. This requires me to acknowledge I am not some kind of race with a prize waiting if I finish. No, life is happening in the Now that sometimes just feels like an obstacle course.

Each moment I catch myself forgetting, I am given an opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to standing fully in this moment. When I come into the Now, I come home to myself. I then am present enough to embrace the gifts of pure magic that always sparkle around me. I allow myself to sink into moments of pure being, whether that be through yoga, painting, writing or taking a walk with the dog. All that has come into me, is given this space to flow back out onto the page, the mat, or my mind as new perspectives emerge. I celebrate my life in those moments. They are my dance, The Dance, of being alive. And the process of emptying is strangely an experience of being filled. Emptying and filling, cleansing and releasing, like the breath and the tides that come in and out.

It is no coincidence that lately I have been fascinated by the stories of creatures who live their lives straddling two realms. The story of the Selkies, sea women who shed their skins in order to come ashore and dance, is about the necessity of returning home. Unlike the traditional stories, I have rediscovered my "skin" and am in control of it, putting it on and taking it off when need be. I know I will not lose my seal skin, my ability to dive back into the seas of restoration and nurturance. And I know I can dive within in any given moment, if only to touch briefly my essence as a reminder: I am still here.

For those creative souls over at 52 Projects, I have not abandoned you! Each day I am aware of acting upon that which was merely an idea or an inkling a moment before. Things I might normally have put off "to do later" - baking cookies, starting a new knitting project (that may end up taking me 52 weeks to complete), another journal page - I have jumped right in and done! The final product is not important, but this shift from thinking to doing is. Have I begun any new projects? I believe in each moment I am choosing to begin anew. Does that count?

With each wave that knocks me over, I stand up again and look out to the sea, deciding when I need to dive back in, and when I will stay ashore. Home is safe within me and the only one who controls the key is me. Have you heard the call? Are you prepared to answer?


  1. Thoughtful post. Doesn't the emptying, the pause, leave room for the unexpected? I remember practicing breathing and noticing the pause as the space in between where anything can happen-joy, panic, revelation. I am trying to spend more time in the pauses now. Hope all is okay with your mom...

    Have you seen the John Sayles movie Roan Innish, you would love it...speaking of selkies


  2. A very moving and powerful post. We all need to stop more often in our daily life to really "live". And I'm enjoying your journal page. Well Done! :)

  3. Beautiful post! Yes, everything you do counts as a project and I'm so grateful for your participation. One of the reasons I NEEDED to start 52 Projects was because I really wanted to be excited about a project and commit to it. I always have a million ideas sprinting through my brain. You can't imagine all the half finished projects that are sitting around and the piles of lists that I've made! Just keep yourself in movement and keep being aware of the truest person inside of you.

  4. This line held meaning for me, especially..

    >>>>What has me gulping for air as if I am being dragged under is a rising fear of losing momentum, of losing myself after a long, long absence from my life.

    I am teaching an intensive writing program this week. Almost didn't do it until a flurry of students signed up. Since John died, David disappeared, Mom was diagnosed with Cancer and Samuel was diagnosed with autism, I have been so hesitant to be absent from my life as well, especially for the work I used to love with every ounce of me.

    I used to find such satisfaction and a deep sense of home there. Not anymore.

    Your use of the word "absence" rang out to me.

    Spending time with Mom this weekend reminded me her Parkinson's is getting worse. I am sad today. I need to honor that, amidst this ridiculous busy-ness.

    I need to remember not to be absent. Ever. To be present, even when that presence makes me feel wiggly.

    Thank you.

  5. Beautiful post. I have learnt that Home is within me as well.

    May I ask from where you are getting your weekly reflections? I really like these.

  6. OK, I just went to your first post on this and see they're yours as I thought. Any chance of posting the Q before the week, like on the previous week? I would like to join you, at least some weeks.


  7. yes, i believe anything and all we are putting effort forth to do see hear or feel counts as an are moving forward rather than haulting to a stand still...this was filled with such greatness from your words to the art you have bring joy to my mornings reading what you share...thank you!

    "I also know nothing will be lost; that the side journeys are opportunities for me to gather from my life the materials to be used when I able to return home."

    powerful words to remember and ponder...if we can take good from where we have been wandering and apply it to our lives when we return such growth has been...much l♥ve and light and brightest blessings~

  8. lis . powerful post . your work is so creative~

  9. This post really resonated with me, as did the "going home" artwork. Both were beautiful both in the whole and in the details. This is something I should read every day... (bookmarking right now)

  10. It's so easy to get caught up in daily life - good for you for remembering that it's important to have some time for yourself :)

  11. Dear Lis, Love your post!!! Your journal pages are evolving in such a radiant and creative-messy way! Your weekly reflection inspired my post yesterday! Thank you :*

    Thich Nhat Hanh said once that there is no such thing like "family time", "my time", "work time" etc. He said that you cannot separate time. Of course he said it better, but I read it a long time ago and don't have this quote at hand ;)

    So I guess we have all "time" for ourselves ha, ha :)


  12. A thought- provoking post with beautiful illustrations--is the artwork yours? I love your concept of home as a place for renewing ourselves, no matter where we are. Yesterday, my yoga teacher reminded us that giving out of fullness is healthier for ourselves and others. Finding the time to "fill ourselves up" is a challenge for so many of us.