A few weeks ago I was at the Great Lakes Retreat and met a wonderful pilgrimage leader named Evans Bowen. She gave a presentation and in it she said something that really stuck with me.
Sorry, Evans...I don't really remember the rest of your presentation because this one thing was what I needed to hear.
"It's not a quest unless you come home."
I've either discovered or decided that I'm a runner. This past year my fight-or-flight instincts have really kicked in and when I find myself in a situation that makes me uncomfortable or that I really don't want to be in that place, I want to run. And sometimes I do. I want to be far far away and not think about things, or have to be anything I don't want to be, or act like I don't care and be tough while I talk myself into sanity.
And running is not a bad thing. It is survival. It is self-love and self-preservation. It is choosing to give yourself a much needed Time-Out and regroup. It might take an hour on your bicycle at the park riding your little legs off and pushing all of the anxiety out of the bottoms of your feet everytime you push on the pedals. It might take an afternoon of reading other people's words and sleeping off the tears that come. It might take a weekend of binge-watching the Olympic Equestrian events and eating chocolate coconut milk ice cream. It might take a week of driving, taking pictures, meeting new people and having to get up early to start the day. It might take a month of traveling the globe and getting lost in new places where you don't speak the language and the food is different and you wonder what it would be like to just live right HERE for a year.
In all of these places that your heart chooses to run, you will find yourself. You will find your strength, your deep reserves, your toughness, your joy, your happiness, your center...YOU.
Where or who or what calls you home?
In my writing group we had a question that definitely sent me running...running away from what it is and where it is and who it is that I call home. I read the question and ran hard and fast from it. Every time I thought about the answer I was filled with such sadness and fear and confusion because of where I'm at in my life right now and I didn't really know the answer completely. I knew what I wanted the answer to be but I had to process the fact that it wasn't my reality and I was going to have to redefine what Home meant to me. Going through a separation in your marriage is not the end of the world, but sometimes it leaves you feeling very alone in that world....and so I didn't answer the question. I didn't write about it...or any of the next 5 days' questions. I did just about anything I could think of to avoid having to think about the answer to that question or any other question that was going to burn a hole in my already torn-up heart.
But, then Evans' quote came back to me...
"It's not a quest unless you come home."
I've definitely been on a quest and trying to figure out what it means to come home, how to run away and find my way back again. When I feel restless I grab my camera and chase the stars and my creativity and feed my soul in wide open spaces to find my center and feel connected to the universe. When I feel lost I hop in the car and drive to the big city nestled near the lake where the wind blows right through me and clears my mind. It is a place filled with steel and glass and humanity and I am surrounded by people but lost in the mayhem. It is electric and makes me feel alive.
Whether I am under the stars or under the bright lights of the city or nestled snuggly in my own apartment it feels like a good place to figure it all out. Maybe not tomorrow or next month, but some day. Maybe home is truly where the heart is .... held safely behind the bars of my ribs where it is protected...always within me.
Perhaps running away isn't really that at all. Perhaps it is a running TO...to your dreams, to your Self, to your passion for life, to your creative center, to that place of knowing just who the Hell you think you are!
And what's wrong with that?
Nothing, my dear....nothing.