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June 2, 2021

Claiming our Spiritual Homestead: What we Seek is Closer than we Think.

 

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Since I was young, I’ve dreamed of living on a big piece of land.

By “dreamed,” I mean obsessed; this vision has been constant. I grew with the benefit of green spaces and wildlife but for a long time searched for a spiritual homestead, a place where things aligned: people, climate, culture, history.

In each place I visited, I’d observe and sense, asking internally, could you be home? Along the way, my perspective changed—everywhere started to feel a little like home.

I love where I live. I also still navigate the balance of appreciation for what I have and acceptance of what I long for. However, I reclaimed power around this quest by changing my relationship with a spiritual homestead from one of seeking to one of seeing. Much of this shift is due to my relationship with nature and the spirits who are part of my personal pantheon of support. In the process, this became a larger part of my spiritual work with clients and students.

“Home” resonates differently for each of us. We have a primal longing for places and people that feel like ours. Some of us are blessed with this; we feel comfortable, known, and accepted. Many of us do not. Coming home is a powerful thing. Ultimately it is within your power to define what it means for you. Intellectually we may understand that home is not simply a building, a group of people, or a location on the globe. Still, we have such strong associations with home being a combination of those things, blended across time with memories and emotions, that it takes determination to redefine it.

When we reorient around our definition of home, we reclaim our power to be at home, in our skin, and in our environment. While nature is not the only part of a spiritual homestead, it is a large part and an excellent place to begin.

For me, instead of looking elsewhere for something bigger and better than where I was, I spent more time appreciating the nature of my immediate spaces. I began to explore my place at different levels (when you look close up, moss is a remarkable little forest!), I developed relationships with the animals and plants. I spent time in appreciation each day. Nature is all around us—in our “backyards.” Our backyards may take many different forms: cityscapes, suburban towns, rural farms, or wilderness. Yours may look and feel completely different from mine, but nature is there.

The practices of shamanism are beneficial in cultivating these relationships. Many indigenous cultures view the world as an interconnected web of life that spans space and time. From this vantage point, we can make meaningful connections to the natural and spiritual worlds in our backyard, and to other places and spaces from wherever we are right now.

We feel the energy of loved ones from around the world with a phone call or text. We can do the same through spiritual journeys to connect with ancestors, ancestral homes, and other ecosystems on the earth that we feel drawn to or with which we have history. We are not bound by our bodies’ ability to be physically present. Increasingly, we realize we are all intertwined—people, animals, plants, elements. Over time, and with increasing awareness, we realize that we create home together here on this planet on a grand scale. Our mission is to make this homestead one of safety, health, and peace for all.

Full disclosure, I still want the big piece of land to love, enjoy, protect, and share with others. But I no longer see it as a balm for hiraeth, the Welsh word for a spiritual longing for home.

By connecting with the nature and spirit of the places we find ourselves in, we can come home to ourselves. When we do that, we can access our spiritual homesteads from anywhere.

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