Tag Archives: Home

this must be the place

“Home is where I want to be – but I guess I’m already there”                                                     – Taking Heads “This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody)”

Today I board a plane leaving home in 5 degree weather.  Tomorrow I will land in 85 degree weather.  A shift of environments and a shift in homes. This constant moving of my home in the past few years has left me thinking a lot about what the concept of  “home” really is or means to me.  Is it a place? A dwelling? Having personal belongings? Being with a person or people?  Or is it a feeling as this month’s Chapter writer Ashley Duffalo suggests in her month’s assignment.

It’s been on my mind more than usual this past week. Maybe it’s because of the recent holidays spent with family, or the changes I’m currently making, or maybe the simple fact that I can’t remember my zip code anymore? (This jaunt to St. Croix will be my 10th move in 2 ½ years.)

I remember writing in my high school yearbook that I wanted to be a Bedouin when I grew up.  I’m not sure if I was predicting what my adult life would look like but looking back now, it seems maybe I did become a Bedouin of sorts. The Bedouin’s were an Arab tribe engaged in nomadic herding, and agriculture.  Traditionally they lived in the desert in tents. The scarcity of water and permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly.  It was the environment that shaped the placement of their home.

I have not become a true Bedouin as I am not relying on farming and herding abilities to keep me alive – but I do feel that the environment around me is what shapes my sense of home.  I thank Ashley for recognizing that and pushing me to not only analyze this fact but document it as well in a creative way.

Before leaving this week, I made one more stop in Friendsville, MD. This is the place that has felt most like home to me in the past 2 ½ years.  I would travel to this town from wherever I was staying to visit a handful of fantastic friends including Living Chapters Referee (and now traveling partner Cosmic Jim) as well as my good friend  and poet Ina Clare Hicks.  My last conversation with Ina before leaving brought me closer to understanding the concept of feeling at home.

I will leave you with her thoughts –

She said she always felt at home sitting in front of a window. She would sit still peering out of her favorite window and gaze at the landscape that was visible on the other side of the glass. Sitting there she would remember all the other landscapes that she had gazed upon in past homes. On the inside, the stillness and the quiet brought her a feeling she called home and on the outside she created a connection to the vision, the land and environment which she also called home.

To me what she is talking about is the same thing that Ashley was talking about in her chapter. It’s the quest to connect to your environment while also staying connected to yourself.

I look forward to cultivating this balance by sitting in front of a new favorite window with a view.

1/3/14

 Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.

protagonist parting words

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The first chapter closes and many of you ask me, “What have I learned?” “Do I feel any different?” “What do I think of this so far?” Well the answer to pretty much all of these questions is …

Dunno yet? What I do know, is that the past four weeks have been a lot of fun. (Minus the absence of ice cream and chocolate from my diet – that is not so fun) The process has been positive, it generated great conversations, helped me widen my network of amazing people, convinced at least 4 people I know to start jumping rope and motivated a few others to start their own personal growth projects.

What about long-lasting outcomes? Hmmm…

After giving this first month a go, I am not sure yet if 4 weeks is enough time to create entirely new habits or fully break others. I can’t say I have come to any illuminating or drastic change. But the month has told me that I don’t think drastic change is required for progress to occur.

I am going to continue on with pieces of this first chapter, as much as I am able to, moving forward. The simple healthy diet is definitely a keeper. It really only took a bit of pressure and a few suggestions to realign my eating habits. I’m not sure whether its the actual food choices or the process of making these choices that is making me feel better, but it is working so l’m sticking with it! (with the addition of ice cream of course) I also want to stay active. I mean I can not fathom how I would ever sit at a computer for more than 2 hours again and NOT get up to jump rope or at least walk around the block? And a weekly yoga practice (if not daily) is necessary for both my muscles and my mind.

But, like Joe, running is not my cup of tea. I know I only devoted a miniscule amount of time to it, but I am pretty sure I will not independently choose to incorporate it into my lifestyle. When the doctor told me to stop jogging on the sore ankle – I can’t say I did not feel a bit relieved along with a bit of guilt knowing that Joe was still loyally making it around the track daily. But when he told me that I had to stop jumping rope, I felt really frustrated! This new activity brought me joy and just as much heart pounding action as the jogging did. I just found jumping rope a lot more fun and easy to fit in my day. I surprisingly found that I wanted to make more time in my day for jumping rope, swimming, yoga and walking rather than feeling like I had to do it.  So the jump rope journal will continue when my ankle is properly healed.

It took my bum ankle and an extremely unusual wild card before I realized the main lessons for June though. The take-away for me is this; if I become even a bit more intentional in my actions and if I truly listen to what my body is telling me through the senses rather than the surface, I will be and feel healthier. This of course was simply spelled out for me on day one, in Joe’s chapter, but I guess I had to hear it (or in my case feel it) for myself to understand fully.  With one lesson learned, I am excited about what the upcoming challenges will bring.

As the confidant noted, the most difficult aspect of all of this thus far, has not been any of these specific tasks, but the overwhelming change of going from leading a relatively private personal life to a very public one online. I have been struggling a bit with this. “How can I create a project about dealing with personal growth without becoming fully transparent and honest?” “Am I truly capable of opening up to a sea of strangers?” And “Can I do this without becoming self-absorbed or stuck on my own experience?” (I mean, I have never been one to post my breakfast lunch and dinner on a social media site before – I have to say it’s a bit weird) However, like in performing music – whether I am use to this yet or not, it seems to me, there is much more to gain than to lose here in sharing experiences with others in this way.

Joe used loyalty that he has to just one person (me) as a guide to help push himself around that track. I feel that the more people engaged in “living chapters” can only create a stronger accountability, and support system for me as I am faced with the new challenges in the upcoming months. So thank you for holding me accountable, following along and being a part of the story thus far. Looking forward to seeing you next month.

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Visit the June Gallery for more images and videos from the Body and Kinesthetic chapter.

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