For the past few months I have been almost obsessed with questioning the definition of “home.”
Is it a place? Is it a feeling? Is it an idea? Is it where your family is? Is it where you keep your material possessions? Or is it in the natural world? Can you have more than one home?
Six months ago, I got rid of most of my belongings and got on a plane, not knowing when I would return or to where. The only foreseen part of the journey was that I would spend the first month volunteering at an earth-based spiritual community on a volcanic island in Central America.
It quickly became apparent that living in community in the jungle was the closest thing I knew to home in my 25 years. I’ve heard this calling for quite some time and was finally getting a glimpse of what it would feel like to really embody it. Life unfolded for me there, along with friendships, relationships, responsibilities, newfound freedom in my body and insights in my own healing journey. I saw no reason to leave and one month turned into almost four. I fell in love in so many ways: with the land, with others, with myself, and with the beautiful simplicity of living in intimacy with the natural world.
But the time came to leave—and it came suddenly. I went through every possible range of emotions in that two day bus ride to my next destination. I felt heartbroken and if I was torn from my roots. All I could think about was wanting to go “home” and I had no idea where that was or what that meant anymore.
After existential wandering for a few weeks, I felt the pull to establish roots again. I did not expect to return to the States so soon but I travelled back to Michigan where my family lives and though it was a reconnecting and nourishing experience, it was not home. I left to go back to the “home” I left in Boulder, Colorado and again, welcomed by the mountains and by community, I still was not fully home.
The longing had never been so loud.
I recently heard Evolutionary Cosmologist Brian Swimme say: “The core of our being as humans is longing and passion.” Humans have this innate longing to return, to merge, to unite—but with what? The way I see it, it is our longing to unite with our true place in the world, our mission, and our purpose within the greater Earth community.
In our technologically advanced modern world, I believe this longing to merge has been misunderstood and manifests in our obsession and addiction to social media, sex, and drugs, just to name a few. It also feels to be at the root of all religion and perhaps at the root of sudden mass interest in spiritual practice and yoga (at least this is the case in the bubble of Boulder, where I currently live). I even dare to suggest that paradoxically, this misunderstanding of our innate longing to merge is to blame for the current planetary crisis we find ourselves in.
My teacher and soul guide, Bill Plotkin says, “If your soul is your ultimate place in the world and you need to live from that place to be fully yourself, then the world cannot be fully itself until you become fully yourself.”
During such turbulent times, how can we ignore the truth within this message?
Much different from our nature-dwelling ancestors, our modern day idea of adulthood is achieved by reaching a certain age, getting a degree, having a child, or working a particular job. For nature-based people, an intense and dark process of soul initiation is what transitions one into true adulthood. Only through such rituals does an individual find their true place and role in their community and in the more-than-human world.
As someone with a big vision and sense of purpose, I realized that the vision my mind has created cannot be forced upon the path my soul truly wishes to walk. And perhaps this is why my longing only continues to get louder.
So now I embark on this journey to listen to the great mystery within the unknown darkness, to learn how to listen to nature and all of its elements and the thread which presents itself in my life. I offer myself into the unknown darkness and who I have known myself. I open myself to let spirit guide me to embody my soul’s place in the world rather than my soul trying to embody what my mind believes this place to be.
I understand now that the return home will not be found in a place, in a person, or in a feeling. It will not be to somewhere familiar, but instead it is in the unknown wildness in the depths of my soul’s longing. Unfamiliar and incomprehensible to what the rational mind and our technocrazed society can imagine.
I see that this longing that is so deeply ingrained within us is the longing to embody our soul’s place in the world, to listen to the mysteries of nature and learn to hear the longings which call you. Poet David Whyte, so beautifully describes soul to be the greatest conversation we are capable of having with the world:
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
I want to hear from you. Leave a comment. Expose yourself.
What is your soul’s deepest longing? What is it that stirs you awake at night and pulses through your veins? What is it that seduces you with excitement and pulls you closer yet makes you tremble with fear at the thought of acting on, or embodying, it?
I challenge you to hear this calling, to look it right in the face, to attempt to put it into words and make it real.
I want to hear how you will respond to your soul when it calls for you to return home.
Author: Rosie Kalashyan
Image: Deviant Art
Editor: Travis May