How grateful I am,
that though the sky is leaden
upon my return,
cherry trees bloom in greeting.
Returning home from home. I keep wondering if it is interesting to describe the very different worlds I’m sharing as home right now. Santa Fe and NEPA seem perfectly poised to mirror, amplify, and practice the inherent contradictions of my being and thus offer them into wholeness. Part of what I appreciate about the long train ride between these two homes is that I get to rest form the heavy restructuring that seems to precipitate leaving one place for the other. When I’m present to life in the particular location, the other place seems a far away world, inconceivable, and even irreconcilable with the one I’m in. (This is why questions like, “Are you looking forward to your trip?” and “Are you excited to be going home?” often are met with blank stares.)
Santa Fe is Sky country. By its very wind and striking sun it cracks me open and grounds me. I’ve found family there in community that supersedes even the magic I discovered in college. And the desert has taught me so much about niche, about tenacity, about conservation of resources, about silken softness and sharp thorns. It is easy for me to be fully who I am because there is a lightness and a spaciousness. One of my teacher’s there said, “Santa Fe is not a place, it’s a process.” Rapid growth, evolution, conscious process, and the language to talk about it are almost normalized, at least within the parts of Santa Fe culture I’m most involved in.
My biological family is largely back east. It is a place where I am pulled to be more and more fully myself simply because I am faced with the choice to center in or hide. Since I’m not willing to hide, my return to the Northeast has fortified me. It challenges me to look at all the places that are moist, spongy, or tangled in undergrowth, to sit in the greyness and will the sun forth. I have learned how very interconnected we are, how to feel my dear ones regardless of time, space, or distance, and the strength, solidarity, and unity of my inner landscape in a way that need not be isolating or aloof. I have work here in more ways than one.
In yoga we are invited to breathe into the tight places. In so doing we open to and discover more ease and freedom. Moving between these worlds is a chance to move into tight places and then stand in the new freedom. NEPA, in particular, brings me freedom precisely by virtue of being denser, thicker, tighter, and less open than Santa Fe. Being in Santa Fe gave me the chance to build and run more energy through my system than I ever have before, and see how I hold my power. In PA, I must break free of my habit of relating by modeling and mirroring those around me; in Santa Fe, I must claim the power I have and stand in it. In this moment in the story of my life, both places feed and nourish me, and challenge me forward in amazing ways. After the welcome and vitality I landed back into in Santa Fe, I am curious what being back in PA will bring.
It’s funny. I go to Santa Fe to feel flow and learn about Water. I return to NEPA to find Fire. The thing is, I’m no longer looking for home…. I’m pursuing freedom. I am no longer in search of happiness. I am passing beyond seeking out life. I am dying to immortality and forsaking any sense of the real…
“I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning.” –Joni Mitchell, Woodstock.
When I made my vows as a minister, I sang a song that came to me walking home in the moonlight hours of the fall equinox a couple years ago. My people may gather in Santa Fe, but I find that I have more to offer them now that I am praying in a place that is and was a different kind of home.
I walk what I teach
I teach what I pray
I pray with my life
every single day
I teach what I walk
I walk what I pray
I pray with my life
each and every day
Yes, I pray I shall live
each and every day