"The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows.” ~ John O’ Donohue (from Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)
I wonder if we each have a particular place on the Earth where we feel and experience this deep resonance that John O'Donohue talks of, almost as though this special place is where we were once enwombed and from which we were birthed. Just like we each have our own, personal and unique mother from whose womb we were born, we each have our own, personal and unique Earth womb that held and nurtured us as we developed into becoming a human being whose physical life is deeply rooted and connected with this planet we live on.
And that for most Westerners today, we have been severed from this sense of deep rootedness to the Earth and soil of the land, actually and more truthfully, from the soul of the land. We have picked up and moved from the land of our ancestors, or it was our ancestors who picked up and moved. Our lifestyles are such that the Earth and her rhythms are no longer central to our daily lives. We can live days where our feet never actually touch the Earth itself - instead we walk on concrete, drive our cars, ride in elevators, live inside in homes and work inside of buildings. Some people never even go outside, even if they go out into the world. They go from building to garage to car and back again without actually breathing in fresh air or allowing the sun to bathe their eyes without a pane of glass between them and the natural world.
How can we experience the beauty and soul-fulness within the Earth if we don't even allow ourselves to touch her skin?
Yet this is not the direction I meant to take this blog! I was moved by the quote because of my deep longing to connect with the Earth and the soil of my soul. Here's my story:
Born in England, I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, before attending college in Vermont. I then lived for a year in England, 9 months in Washington D.C., 6 months in Australia, 2 years in Cincinnati, a summer in Montana before moving to Colorado where I have lived for 26 years. I will admit, though, I have moved around my family around to 5 different houses over the last 23 years!! It would seem that I am a bedouin at heart, happy to move around and wander, picking up my tent and my belongings and going where the wind blows.
Truthfully, I long for the place on Earth where I call HOME, the place where my roots are, the place where "the clay from where the tree of my body grows."
Leaving England at such a young age, I could not know or even appreciate my sense of belonging to a place. My belonging was to my parents and my immediate family. Of course, I went where they went. My father was transferred to Cincinnati by Procter & Gamble, and as the first internationally transferred family from England, they gave us permanent visas as well as paying for all of our furniture to come over too. They couldn't bring our house over, so that allowed my parents to bring over all of their belongings. Even though my father quit his corporate job, my parents decided to stay in America where my father could pursue his entrepreneurial dream. As I grew up, there was always an unspoken understanding about England - it was dirty, crowded, and unsupportive of people with dreams. We left there, and so did you. Our lives are here now. Who would want to live in England?
And that's just the way it was. I grew up here, sound totally American. I can't even mimic a good English accent. I went to school and college here. My life is here. My immediate and extended family is here. My husband is here. My kids are here. Even my dog is here.
I have learned how to compensate brilliantly. I had to, and I didn't even know any differently. It's as though the branches of my tree grafted themselves onto other tree trunks of other roots, and that while the leaves of my tree all bloom and look beautiful and wonderful, something is missing, not quite right.
My life, as wonderful and beautiful as it is, also feels upside down, outside in and backwards. This is how it has been for me since I was two and a half years old. It's just how it is.
Except that I am tired and sad of not feeling rooted and connected to MY core, to my dreams and my life's purpose. I have asked myself for years, "Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do I love? How am I here to serve and contribute?" And the answer has not been very clear. I have done fundraising, trained as a life coach, done an internet radio show, network marketing, - it all feels like "this and that", but while it's all been good, it hasn't rocked my soul to the core where I have experienced that this is my purpose and my true calling. I have not experienced that feeling of being fully here, or fully, completely connected to myself. It's all good, but it's not "it". It's as though I keep trying, keep thinking this is it, when truthfully, all I truly long for is to go home.
My heart longs for England. My soul longs for England. I just want to go home, and experience rooting into the clay of my soul.
It makes no sense. It is totally inconvenient.
And yet it makes more sense that anything else I have ever wanted, longed for, or dreamed of.
It's time to right myself, turn myself inside out, and forwards. I am done with hitching a ride on other people's rules, dreams, places, creations. Now is my time to come home to my own tree, with her own roots, in her own soil. I am going home to England.
It may only be for a month, and it is for a month - the longest amount of time I have spent there in a long, long time. I am so excited. I leave in 29 days. I will walk the land of my ancestors. I will seat at the tree of my soul. I will root, deeply into the core of the Earth, my Earth, my sacred, sweet spot on this Earth. And I will cry in gratitude, I will dance with joy at my own homecoming.
My longing is calling me home. My longing and desires are guiding me home. I am going home. I am coming home. Home to my land. Home to myself. Home to my sacred tree that is rooted deep in the clay of these ancient lands. Home to the place within myself where I am enwombed and profoundly, deeply connected to the truth and essence of who I am. My branches will re-connect and graft to the only true tree and roots from which they were severed. They will re-member. I will re-member and come home to my Self and my wholeness.
What's possible then?!