Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Bedouin Inside of Me

It seems I spent much of my life trying to understand my nomadic soul, that Bedouin inside of me that always wandered through, never quite at rest, never finding that one true home. I had my tent, my boots, my camera, and my notebook. One thing was missing: a good map, well-marked and topographic; one noting all the possible wrong turns and unnecessary side trips, the things to look out for, the things to avoid.

It seems, in its absence, I did some cartography of my own. I sort of created the map as I went, making mental notations of where I might be going wrong, where I Know I went wrong, and how I could become a better listener and navigator in order to avoid getting side-tracked, yet again. The key, of course, is to act, or not act, as the case may be, on what I've heard and what I've felt, the information I've received from my Inner Compass.

Recently, while looking at photographs my brother and sister in-law were sharing with me of their trip last year to Egypt, I was drawn to the images of camels resting on the hot desert sand, and I thought about my own traveling tendencies, both mental and geographical (although I've never been to Egypt), and found this question floating through my head again, a question posed by the poet, Mary Oliver:  "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  To me, this is not about whether or not we have only one life, that is really irrelevant. The question posed remains valuable in that we must ask ourselves, 'How am I going to honor This life, this one, Now?' 

Awhile back, I found myself saying, through tears,  'I just want to go home.'  Where did That come from?  Don't know, and yet it felt so true. What was I yearning for? I certainly had no thoughts of death, nor was I responding from the dark recesses of my mind. Have I come here from some other place? Am I an inter-dimensional being?   Was I left here by my fellow travelers, when I strayed too far from the plan, our inter-galactic mission? There are those who have argued that case. Three ex-husbands, various and sundry other individuals who would and have offered it as a possible explanation.

No, it's something else.  I think.

I love my life. I love where I am living. I loved having the summer to bury my hands and feel my heart deep in the earth, in this land I call home. It is, by any standards set forth, Love itself.  It meets my needs, it feeds my soul,  it responds to my prayers, often through Nature herself, and beautifully. I try to reciprocate however and whenever I can.  So, what did I mean when I said, 'I want to go home?'

I recently exchanged emails with a friend in which he expressed a similar yearning, his desire to "return home." He went on to describe it as a desire to become one with, to merge with, the Creator. I received his permission to share his thoughts with you, as it seems to dovetail with my own questions, aptly illustrating this human condition. Michael is an abstract painter who lives in Santa Fe. He wrote:

As you have indicated re: yourself, I, too, have lived many lives, in many places, and seem to be an egregious example of the idea that, "nothing lasts forever."  It is usually my reaction [in these circumstances] that my soul begins to be absorbed with the strong force feeling that it is not actually part of this world that is and always has been so beautiful to it... that despite its earthly yearnings, in the final analysis, it is a stranger in a foreign land. Thus, in keeping with a migrating herd, I, soul, am always and again, on the move toward some unknown locus, some different place, where the created can completely merge with the Creator, and thus, integrated and "at home," finally cease searching and roam no more....     ~ Michael von Helms

We talked about life, and we hashed over our individual circumstances, and we arrived at The Place of No Answers. Except maybe this: we do the best we can, each and every day. That is all. And, it is All. There is nothing else to do.

And so I take walks, recording my love of nature, of the world, of Life itself, and I write these thoughts down for no other reason than it's what I do. And somewhere along the way I find peace, and I see Love seeping through the cracks, finding its inevitable way into the interior. This yearning to return home is really a yearning for my Higher Self, the self that is more trustworthy to myself and others, the self that God, the Beloved, knows. The self that I am learning to Know, here on this oasis.

And that is what I'm doing with my, "one wild and precious life."

To see Michael von Helm's work go to:


  1. Teresa,
    I owe you an apology. Last week I woke up in the middle of the night and went online. I wrote a long rambling, fragmented comment to your post. After re-reading it, I realized how meaningless it was so I deleted it and meant to write something more coherent but I was distracted and I forgot. Later, I just went on to your next post. I am sorry about that.

    Pertaining to this post..... I understand what you refer to. I think many people have that feeling to find their home, or something missing in their lives. I know I had that yearning when I was much younger and hardly not at all as I get older. I always felt I had to travel somewhere to get to it but gradually I knew it was all right inside of me and I believe you said so the other day. The home is the soul within us and we take that where ever we go. Then we can feel the Universal love for all mankind and our yearning becomes peace.

    A very well articulated post.

  2. How I enjoy reading your life's ruminations. :) I admire the way you express yourself and how in tune you are with the universe and yourself. You give me things to ponder. When I began reading this I thought you were going to say you had finally found *home* on your wonderful new land, but I realized quickly that you are speaking about your soul. Keep seeking God and all the answers will come, along with peace and contentment.

    Love the photo you used at top! I am always drawn to silhouettes. And I love how the man has a round, bright light behind him. Wow.

  3. As the Buddhist monks said to me recently, "Our 400 years of Buddha Light merged with your Buddha Light..." I have found that it's finding and fanning and preciously tending to that Light- that home- within me, that stills the wandering wanting. (But should you wander down to New Mexico this winter, please let me know...) Love you Teresa.

  4. Ah, the searching, yearning, does it ever end, I know not, only that I search and yearn and try to do better along the way.

  5. Beautiful image and wonderful thoughts. Strange that feeling of not being 'home'. I love the Selkie myths. All through 30 years of marriage and motherhood I felt 'out' of my own skin. I have been that nomad with his camel, that's for sure. Now, at last I feel I have found my skin again.
    Here, Teresa Evangeline, you touch the mystery that is life.

  6. A beautiful post again Theresa! :-)
    It makes one wonder what 'Home' is...
    For me it is feeling "at home" no matter where I am, what I'm doing and with whom I'm doing it.
    I feel 'at home' most of the time but not always.
    These are the moments I realize or remember that we 'never get it done'.
    When I imagine finally being or finding 'Home', finally feeling like everything is the way it is supposed to be, finally 'getting there' I see the world ending. Life then has no more meaning, no reason to be lived.
    I believe we are creative beings, creative energy-weavers, always searching for expansion, ways to make things better, more fun and to help the Love flow instead of standing still. We are, I think, in that way contributing to the expanding of this amazing World and Universe.
    As some wise one once said: Home is where the Heart is. Sometimes it gets a bit lonely there but for me it's worth every minute of it.

    Thanks for your inspirational post, this is what came to my mind after reading your post. It helped me to remember..... Thank you!! :-)

  7. I want to thank Each of you for the very fine contributions you've made here to these ideas. It's good for me to see other perspectives and the insights you offer. It helps to clarify my own thoughts and offers additional ways for me to see things.

    Manzi, I just wanted to say that I thought your comments on my previous post were very insightful and to the point. I'm glad I got to read them before you deleted. :)

    Monique (Nu Kua), Your thoughts mirror what I was attempting to say and I thank you. Very encouraging.

    Again, I'm very grateful for Each of your comments.

  8. This yearning to return home is really a yearning for my Higher Self, the self that is more trustworthy to myself and others, the self that God, the Beloved, knows. The self that I am learning to Know, here on this oasis.

    I echo what Manzanita wrote.

    Welcome home, Teresa!

  9. The Place of No Answers...really, just doing the best we can with what we've got and recognizing that that isn't a bad thing is an answer of sorts. I think.

  10. Working through my personal "stuff," online maybe isn't such a good thing to do, but it's part of what I do, only part of. :) I do feel, as my next post indicates, that I came to a place where I'm very much at peace. It just arrived and quietly permeated me. It feels Very good. It's "answer" enough for me. Thank you, Cheryl, for taking the time to read these posts. I always like hearing from you.