Dorothy discovered, in the Land of Oz, that we can return home at any moment.
It is an act of remembering.
Home: shelter during storms, a spot that welcomes our untamed voices, a nurturing nest where we are known and loved just the way we are.
Spring storms come out of nowhere in Toledo, Spain. My friend and I run through tiny back streets looking for refuge from the rain. A door opens and a woman beckons “Venge aqui! (Come here!) We race for the door and shelter. In a few minutes the sun comes out and we are on our way. There is a special place in my heart where I savor the kindness of strangers.
San Juan Mountains’ strong arms will hold me. Cradled in their embrace, I am home. Mother Nurture’s might power is evident. Sitting on her rocks, climbing her cliffs, listening to her creeks, hearing her voice bubble with the thrill of living, I connect to my own untamed voice.” (Excerpt from my book Unfolding)
Hands, Don’s and mine, stretch across crumpled sheets that form our nightly nest. Sacred early morning moments looking into his eyes let me feel loved just for who I am. Watching each other move from teen to elder we recognize the struggles we both face.
Establishing our inner home is a challenge – not as difficult when things are going well. Writing Unfolding I spent a lot of time alone. My boundaries were clear. Even on our shared family vacations, everyone understood mornings were my time to meditate and write. My connection to myself was strong while completing my book.
Launching the book into the world is different. My mornings are still quiet and include writing. Yet now more of my time is spent at gatherings, giving talks and meeting new people. It is exciting. But my life is crowded with activities. It isn’t just meeting more people. It is the way I am being. I have an agenda. I want to share my work. I want to sell books.
Retreats or women’s circles include intense contact. Even though I am with others, for days at a time, when the sharing is raw and real it is easy for me to drop inside myself. I breathe a bit deeper. My shoulders release. I am home.
We are landlords and keeper of the inner hearth. It takes work to stay connected. Not doing my practices is a sure way to get lost. My focus becomes external. Outer focus makes it hard to find my way back home.
I also lose my inner connection when there is a truth about me I do not want to see. In those moments, I bang the door shut on, my not perfect, too bossy, vulnerable self. These are often the parts of me I struggle to embrace. It’s an uncomfortable truth that when we close out part of us, self-estrangement begins to take over.
Welcoming all of who we are is the way back home.
Especially our untamed voice needs to be honored. Home needs to be a place where we can say difficult things. My “untamed voice” is getting more air time as I age. What people think of my ideas is less important. Sometimes I shake my head in disbelief at what I just said. It is in the mountains that my over-civilized self has the most permission to drop away.
My relationship with Don is where I have learned, and am still learning, to love all of me. We all need that outer reflection to find it in ourselves. It might be a partner, a friend, a child or our pet. Pets serve that role for many. They offer an unconditional; “I am ready to be with you however you are” response. This makes them a priceless ally.
Where is your home?
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- 2023 Women Writing to Unfold (Taos, NM)
- 21 Aug 23