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: http://www.deloneynewkirk.com