Today, I take a moment to create a space of gratitude in honour of my fellow pilgrims. I give thanks for their enquiring minds and their loving hearts. I give thanks for their tenacity in seeking answers to painful questions. I give thanks for their humour in the midst of insanity. I give thanks that they are brave enough to change. I give thanks because they have helped me to understand what home is. To all of you, from me, with as much love as you can handle. Your truthful presence changes everything.
Frail skin holds the organs
in pink bags of flesh.
this vessel enmeshed.
It comes with no manual,
it lives and it breathes,
it hastens to dying
and actions my deeds.
Expanding through feeling
with soul wings it flies,
to learning and vision
my vehicle gives rise.
This matter in motion,
a here and a there,
and loving brings to it
the Truth all stripped bare.
Look at these fingers,
they move as I ask!
And when I flow through them
they dance with each task.
A one-off uniqueness,
a fine joyful mess,
a tangle of loveliness,
chaos and rest.
For those who come closer
I offer my best,
embracing them wholly
I find myself blessed.
In Perpetuum Mobile
“God bless those lovely ladies who hold stillness for us during our nomadic motion, while we learn to carry home within.”
This is the wonderful sentence that my friend M wrote to me this morning. As it happens, I consider her to be one of the lovely ladies who has been holding the stillness signal especially for me. I suspect she was doing this before we even knew one another. I picture her charming arrangement of green smoothie, red kitchen stool and smiling face and feel immediately at home – even when I am on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, sitting in a cold, smelly railway station waiting for a train that is three hours delayed.
Over the last few days I’ve been writing in my notebook about home, in an attempt to untangle why it is that I’ve been moving and moving and moving and moving over the last decade.
The relentless tumult of set shifts is a grand challenge, and quite frankly I have absolutely bloody hated it at times. For the virgoan introvert and semi-retired perfectionist who has a love of alphabetizing books and making neat arrangments of whatever objects are to hand, it can be deeply unsettling. Organic cotton bed linen, well sharpened kitchen knives, loose leaf tea and the satisfying weight of a cast iron teapot are sorely missed when on the road. Beauty and quality, two of my favourite things, are often in low supply in my transient abodes. “NO IT WON’T DO” and “THIS IS HOW THINGS ARE” do a merry little jig in my mind. A battle of stomping feet and graceful sentiments.
With pen and paper, I have explored my own chronic case of Perpetual Motion and drawn three fundamental conclusions on the underlying whys of P.M:
- In order to find, one must seek through movement and pilgrimage.
- In agreeing to be transformed by the experience of living, one also agrees to a period of intense external changes that reflect and illuminate the inner growth.
- A lack of home out there is asking us to explore home in here.
As I have mapped this out, I have also noted that my current environment is quite lovely, quite beautiful. This simultaneous surfacing is no coincidence. In tandem with these ponderings I’ve felt drawn to watching various documentaries on monastic life. This has been a counter-balance to looking back over a year of high-velocity travel and expansion, and an encouragement to draw myself into the stillness and hibernation of winter. This one in particular touched me immensely.
I shared this film with my friend M, and in response she sent me a link to a blog containing a short clip of another monastic documentary. Much to my wonder, this blog (created by another M) articulates beautifully everything else that I had hoped to write about in relation to home. This came as another lovely reminder that even in those moments when the destination seems unknown and you cannot see anyone on the path with you, you are never alone.
This blog post is dedicated to the M I have already met, and the M I haven’t yet met, both of whom have channelled my thoughts and feelings sublimely. Thank you.
On a more personal note
I have excellent friends. In fact, I find myself surrounded by the best set of individuals one could ever hope to be entangled with. Not that long ago, I took a leap of faith and embarked on a pilgrimage in search of fellowship. I made space, got moving, and in they came. I still have no idea how it happened, though I have to give sincere thanks to a certain wizardly wonder-man who joined some dots for us.
This is a little note of love to them all.
They are the ones who walk by my side even when we are separated by an ocean. They drive the getaway car in my dreams. They open their homes and their hearts to me. They make altars of lego to bring me safely to my destination. They tell me if I have food stuck in my teeth. They show me their warmth, their insight, their weakness and their pain. They embrace the weirdness and the wonder with me. Hot Sexy Mystics, all of them. They are not normal, and neither am I. Thank God. Somehow, we found each other.
“Initiates always come back” NK
“Warriors are doomed to survive.” Don Juan
I was recently speaking with a wise woman. We were talking about making contact with God. I spoke of digging under that familiar feeling of inadequacy and finding below it a deep seated fear that there is no divinity, or perhaps that I am not capable of reaching it. In moments lost in the darkest blackness of the maze, the horror of a meaningless, mechanical world arises. She then asked me if it would be possible to look in the eyes of one of my dearest friends and feel that that the world is an empty, godless machine. The answer was no. When I want to find divinity, I look to my friends.
They are all miracles and I love them copiously. I count my blessings every day.