The Story of Home - by Olivia T. Leigh
It all started last year after an Uncommon Sense workshop on Gabriola. When I got back home I had a distinct crisis about trusting Love. I realized that I had a bad relationship with Love. I didn't trust Love. Specifically that big exciting feeling. Feelings change and can't be trusted. So I went about trying first to discover what Love was. If it wasn't a thought or a feeling, what was it? And Love, the greater All, or nothingness, it seemed, was too great to grasp so I started small, with Ladybugs. I trust ladybugs, and fireflies and so many things. What did I trust about them? That seemed safe enough. On to bigger things. I trust wolves and bears and lots of dangerous and unpredictable things. I got to 'wildness'. I trust wildness, wilderness, the untameable, but the All? How could I trust that; for it includes violence, hatred, betrayal, greed, unfairness? I tend to go there. The big picture stuff. Then I get lost. Very lost.
I needed to understand. Make peace with Love. It seemed necessary and urgent. It was a longing. Ashanti said something like, “be with the longing. There's something there.” He always says that. I hate it. And he's right. I stayed with it and followed it; the longing, the despair, the restlessness, the dissatisfaction and the pain and confusion. It somehow led me to the Haven for Anger Boundaries and Safety which led me back again for Phase I and Phase II. Who ever knows why we do things in this life or what will come of them, however desperate or crazy they seem? Here I must tell a story but it's a bit meandering, like my life and life itself.
In Phase I somehow I was getting a better awareness of my body sensations and paying more attention to them. They seemed more persistent and intense. And I really had a sense that one of the things I was looking for was Home. I knew it wasn't a place or people. I thought it was God or Love but you know where that got me. Lost. I didn't know what it felt like even, home. I don't think I ever knew but I knew it had to start with me somehow. But how? I'd been trying my whole life it seemed. It had something to do with boundaries and being where you are. Location. The body. I had to start again. How about right here?
For fantasy day I was entertaining the idea of having a perfect childhood with siblings and a dad. That changed into a desire to bring it forward in my life. How to do that? A loving grown up family. My family. And celebrating me? But how? The only thing I could think of was a wedding so I set about finding a fiancé. I decided on whom I would ask to be my husband. For some reason I felt the need to propose to him, in EARNEST. I mustered up all my courage and said something like, “I know we haven't known each other very long but from what I see we have some issues to work out together and I am finding that I feel very close to you.” Then I get overemotional. I don't know why. I continue, welling up with emotion and filling with tears, looking up at him. “I've never asked anyone before but, (big long pause, tears running down my face), Will you marry me?” At this point I see that he's looking quite confused and terrified and remember to add “in my fantasy!” Then I laugh. He's not laughing. He asks me if he could get back to me. I continue on my way to group wiping the tears from my face and laughing and crying at the same time as I often do. I just proposed to someone and they said no. What an idiot. Long story short he just couldn't do it (go figure) and I had to find someone else or find another fantasy.
What to do? I was in quite a state that morning and when I was walking to the lodge for lunch at the edge of myself I saw a man, whom I've gotten all stirred up around over the years, get out of his vehicle and start walking beside me. That's all I need right now, I thought. More stirring. Now a volcano of fury, frustration and helplessness is on the verge of erupting. I was all there in the thick of this feeling like I was ready to explode and he says, innocently enough, “How are you?” “I'M ALL HERE” is all I could say. And it was true. I speed up to get as far away from him as possible. I finally reach the salad bar where it's all I can do to pick up a plate, pick up some tongs and slowly and carefully, lest I fall to pieces, place the sprouts onto my plate. A friend comes up behind me. “Liv!” I turn around, again very carefully, trying to hold the plate, the tongs and myself with this volcanic energy running through me. She looks at my face and says, “For a minute there from behind I thought you looked very peaceful. What's going on?” I don't know what I said to her but in the end while I was talking I realized that I could live with this body and mind that experiences this crazy shit and that in the end I really wanted to and it was me and we were together in it until the end anyway. I blurted out laughing and crying again, “I think I'm going to marry MYSELF”.
I had this beautiful commitment ceremony to my mind, my body and my spirit individually, each represented by fellow courageous travellers on this path. It was touching and surprisingly very real for me. I included you both (Sarah & Ashanti) and others in that, by the way, by speaking your names. That day something changed inside. Something settled a bit. I felt a little like I had a team, a family, a Home Team. Funny that. The beginnings of a good relationship with myself.
I just read a passage in a book called Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living:
...our sense of lack, our seeking and longing, may in the fullness of time lead us back to ourselves, to an eventual familiarity with the feeling of being at home in our own skin. It's a pleasure, finally to begin to come home to the body, our earthly home, to be fully embodied in this physical existence without wishing we were in the more rarefied realm of the angels; without , in fact, wishing we were anywhere but where we are. That's when we fall into ourselves, and it is a relief indeed.
In Phase II. The stages of relationship model came up. Romance, power struggle, integration, commitment and cocreation. I found that it seemed the stage of relationship I was in with myself was integration moving to commitment. An apt discovery since my commitment ceremony in phase I. Along with that I had a great 4 day relationship, or should I say relating, (because I get that now too) with a very handsome man! It was very successful and fulfilling even though I wanted to leave him at least 3 times! My pattern with men, and women too, was always separating from relationship after the romance stage. Upon discovering the power struggle I would leave. This was old news for me but I discovered that I thought the reason might be that up until now, I was always separating from MYSELF in the power struggle with me, which left ME “nowhere”. Since I have integrated somewhat; have some acceptance, respect, boundaries etc. for myself; I have someone to stand up for now in the power struggle with someone else. There's now someone 'Home' who has wants and needs and is willing to stand forth in a power struggle with someone else. The beginning of understanding about good relationships with others.
So back to the relationship with Love.... I have discovered that I need to begin where I am; at home within the boundary of my own skin. How many times have I heard that? Begin where you are.... By doing that I am in touch with myself. I am all here and I can trust me to be me. All the unpredictable, wild, fierce and incomprehensible me. That's part of the All too. And I can be with me. I WANT to be with me. And that's the beginning of having a good relationship with Love. Of course the story will continue and the road will be long and meandering but I know that whatever the path or the means, it will only lead to a better relationship with Love and a stronger sense of Home because, apparently,
That’s where all paths lead. As Ram Dass says, “We're all just walking each other home”.
It's in the body and seed and details of life and ourselves that the universe of love can be found, I remembered once again during this weekend's Uncommon Sense workshop. The details of each one of us is where love can be found. The big love. And it's not the big feeling of love, although sometimes that's how it comes. Love is not a feeling. I can't trust my eyes, my ears or my heart. It all started with that song by Mary Gauthier. But I can trust love. It's more of a sense. Another sense or a knowing or recognition and it's consistent. The other sense knows it. That other sense knows that Love is so vast and accepting, that it can hold it all and does. “All the trouble in the world” even.
And still my unique copyrighted balloon flails about, often in fear and judgement and panic, finally at Home and held in the vast space of Love. I only come Home every now and then but with practice and skill I increase my chances.
Not nearly The End...
Olivia T. Leigh