Many years ago I met a workshop leader who related that she was on the road traveling for her work at least 80% of the time. Being of retirement age, but still working, she had been active in social justice work and teaching for decades. Her husband traveled with her. They were two of the most comfortable people to spend time with that I’ve ever met.
I asked the workshop leader how she felt being away from home so much of the time, thinking that I could never be happy being on the road most of the time. Her reply to my question is one that I remember vividly. “I am at home in the world,” she said. “Anywhere I am is my home.”
What a remarkable way to be—at home in the world!
The older I get the more I understand how one can be at home in the world, but I admit that I do not share her remarkable ability to be comfortable and happy wherever I am. Childhood years spent growing up in a small rural community created in me a need for stability and putting down roots in one place. Schooled in caution and the subservient role expected of women in my family and community, I’ve spent much of my life seeking to transcend and move beyond the invisible cages built inside of me
During the past 2 months I’ve enjoyed spreading my wings by exploring and learning about the Ely, MN area. Even in this adventure I have been breaking through fears and unspoken limitations on an almost daily basis. As I begin to prepare to end my time up here I have one thing I want to bring back home with me.
That is the sense of freedom and elation I feel each time I break through fear and do something I was afraid to do.
I am learning to be at home in the world.
I think that one of the fundamental pieces of being at home in the world must be a sense of basic safety deep in your bones and cells. This sense of safety is something that even with the privilege of my life, I often work hard to claim.
Whenever the voice of fear begins drowning out my desires and dreams, I pause, take a deep breath, and remind myself that I am safe no matter where I am and no matter what I do. I’m safe because I know in my heart of hearts that I am held and loved by no less than the universe. Choosing love over fear is a kind of minute by minute and sometimes second by second warrior-ship.
Claiming this deep sense of safety is an act of will, courage, and believing that no matter what happens in my life, no matter where I go, I am safe. This sense of safety is not one of oblivious optimism or of having lived an abundant, blessed, and uneventful life. I recognize that bad things can and do happen in a split second—illness, accidents, violence—and that they can change one’s life forever. Painful events can and do happen and have happened in my life and changed me. Sometimes I struggle to maintain my equilibrium and resilience. But I always come back to the realization that everything is as it should be. Things that I thought were mistakes turn out to be the best things that could have happened. Limitations are paradoxically the things that have helped me to grow and learn. Everything that has caused me pain has later brought great gifts.
Remembering that helps me realize that all is well and I am safe in the deepest sense of safe no matter what.
I believe that no matter what happens to my body or in my life my soul learns from the experience and goes on.This faith sustains me and helps me to remember that I am but a small drop in the ocean of life.
In my experiences I’ve learned that no matter how bleak, broken, or desolate I feel, that I am still okay. So long as I allow myself to sense a connection to all around me and cultivate an attitude of gratitude and acceptance I am safe.
The universe has my back and I can be at home in the world, wherever I am.
How about you? Are you at home in the world?
May you walk in beauty.
Photos in this post were made yesterday alongside the Burntside River here at my home away from home (at home in the world!).