May 5, 2011

Where and what is this place that I call home?

Heart-filled @ Reich Falls, Portland, Jamaica

Within the space of a week, we’ve experienced two monumental and historic events, one fueled by love and the other by fear, anger and resentment. I speak of the British Royal Wedding and the elimination of Osama bin Laden respectively. Regarding the latter, I acknowledge the celebration for those who suffered loss and now have a real chance to release their aching hearts from the confines of chronic grief, sorrow and pain borne for nearly a decade.

I wonder though, will these deeply scarred souls be able to stand for a time empty, and feel the lightness of releasing their burdens?  Does bin Laden’s demise truly satisfy them at a cellular level? Only time will tell.

While the world around me was glued to their television sets absorbing and consuming as much as they could take in, somehow, my choosing to detach from the drama resulted in a reaction to both that was the total opposite. Perhaps this was due to my being fully engaged in my own personal theatrical events that left me little space to consume anything that didn’t directly pertain to my current being and existence.

Encased in a metal bird flying at 35000 feet above sea level and being nowhere in particular, finally I have a moment to reflect on events, personal and global, of the past week. I am struck by the intensity of life as it continues to unfold within and beyond.

I recognize that as the world shifts its attention between the polarities of love and fear, it represents a mirror for my own life.

How so?

During this recent visit to Jamaica, birthplace and home to my heart, I was confronted by two primal questions:  am I truly ready for love in partnership, and, where is home? Presently, these inquiries are as inter-related as they are interdependent. Yet, their answers are simple:  yes, and Jamaica. The potential fear factor may well be self-inflicted. For now, all I need to do is to acknowledge its presence.

Given my lifestyle up until this point, the success in my being able to live and function effectively in cultures very different to my innate one demanded that I cultivated home within. In other [Zen] words, wherever I am, there I am.  I still believe and maintain this principle as it has served me well.

However, in choosing to open and share my heart with a special being, I now humbly accept and embrace the notion that home is where I experience community and unconditional love. Having lived away from my family since I was a teenager, I especially treasure the times we get to spend together, no matter how finite time appears. Somehow, the duration of my visits home always seem inadequate, irrespective of the length of linear time spent.

As the world around us gets more complicated and unpredictable, I am drawn to wanting to simplify all aspects of my life. This is perhaps the greatest gift of being conscious and being in the here and now.  Also, being mindful of my ever-increasing sensitivities, I am particularly selective of the energies that I expose myself to as well as how they may imprint themselves on my psyche.

For example, I can still vividly recall the hanging of Saddam Hussein during the final days of 2006 as media across the globe re-played images of that black hat being thrown over his head and the application of the noose around his neck. I don’t need to see bin Laden’s eyes blown out, thank you very much!

However what I certainly do need to do is to harness my ability to go deeply inward to keep myself present, balanced and centered on this next phase of my journey – physical as well as spiritual.

Soon we’ll begin our descent into Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, the place where for the past 7 months, life and work have found me. There are other places I’d rather be; specifically one where I enjoy authentic community. I console myself in the knowing that like all else, this too shall pass.

In the words of African-American feminist author Bell Hooks in her book entitled belonging, a culture of place, her words “if one has chosen to live mindfully, then choosing a place to die is as vital as choosing where and how I live” resonate within every fiber of my being, particularly now. Hooks embraces her hometown Kentucky as being her fate and in so doing, is able to dive fully into living there and wherever else life may find her.

As I undergo my own personal excavation, digging deep within, I recognize that I’m on the verge of celebrating my own destiny for a place of belonging, one that feeds my heart, abundantly so.

In the meantime, I remain mindful of this new space and place that I am creating.

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Nadine McNeil  |  Contribution: 7,500