on traveling poems & stories

The House of Belonging

I’m so glad to be home. I wasn’t fully expecting this, but it’s just so nice being back here. I love this place, this ocean, the stars at night, the silences, the seals, the birds, my friends. Yesterday evening I walked out to the beach and went for a nice stroll. I’ve been craving getting my toes in the sand here again. While there, as sunset approached, I closed my eyes for a bit and when I opened them, a sweet young seagull was keeping vigil about 5 feet away from me. Old friend welcoming me home.

And speaking of which, my first night back I went to a performance in Mendocino by a performer by the name of Kirtana. Even though I was tired, I thought it would be a nice re-entry point, and it really was. Ran into many friends there and made some new ones too. From previous writings here, you may recall how being connected within a good community of people is important to me and is also one of the primary reasons I moved to this smaller more liberal bastion on the coast here in Northern California. It’s really beginning to fall into place in a way that I am appreciating.

Just returning to Northern California brought up feelings of wanting to just curl up and relax and fall into the cradle of home. As soon as I reached the Bay Area, I recognized a very subtle but palpable tension in my body that I had been carrying but hadn’t recognized. It’s a “travelers tension” I think. There is a certain guardedness, an “on-ness,” that I carry with me while traveling. I have to be constantly on top of my game so to speak, managing in new situations, figuring out how things work, making arrangements, holding all the pieces together. It’s not necessarily that stressful, but there is a subtle undercurrent which stays on while away from home. It seems that one of the beauties of home, when it really becomes home, is that you can simply relax, that there simply aren’t so many pieces to hold together, so a deeper restfulness can arise. It’s a place which holds you. I can only begin to imagine how exaggerated this tension must be for those are homeless.

We’ll see where this traveling thing settles in my life. Like the earth’s pull on the compass, I feel directed at times to travel and explore this world and life as they present themselves.  I very much enjoy it, and value it, yet home and community and belonging have a strong countervailing gravity-providing weightiness to them.

On a final note, I have a little card in a niche in my home next to a small Buddha. On the card is printed the following excerpt from a David Whyte poem which I love called “The House of Belonging:”

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where I ask

my friends to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

There is no house

like the house of belonging.

I am beginning to feel like I actually belong here. I feel that the more and more authentic I become in my life, in my expression, in my love, in my action, in my friendships, the more seated and meaningful that belonging appears to become. It’s nice to be home. It’s more than that, though. It’s valued. Actually more than that too……

I’m here.

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