After a lifetime of seeking meaning and conscious connection, I know my home is in my heart
If I look back at the trajectory of my path, I can see how my steps led me to where I am today.
I am approaching a milestone in my life. I will turn 65 at the end of the year. I am approaching the wisdom years of my life, the last quarter of this life, with this family, these friends, these lessons, and this particular karma.
As a teenager, I sought adventure and independence. It was the end of the 1960’s, the Age of Aquarius filled with mind-expanding experiences. I experimented. I left home for another country. I was young and wild and free. I broke hearts and divided families. With the innocence and heartlessness of youth, I paved my way. I had no idea where I was going. I had no plan. I only knew I felt driven and I never questioned who was at the wheel. I had an unconscious ability to trust; I suppose blind intuition was my guide.
I was a force that knew no obstacles. If I wanted something, I made it happen.
As a young woman living in New York City in the mid 1970’s to mid 1980’s, I knew I was beginning another chapter in my life. I attended art school, went clubbing, dabbled in the study of metaphysics and took yoga classes. These were the years of asserting myself, joining a tribe of exciting and restless artists. Disco, punk, new wave, the birth of rap. Music, visual arts, performance, dance, film, writing — every aspect of creativity was cutting edge. Creativity was on fire!
After years indulging in that fun and excitement, it all began to feel shallow, empty and pointless.
I felt the need to move on again. So my search continued, although I was still unaware of what I was seeking.
I returned to Europe. I fell in Love for real. This was a time of quieting down and focusing on creative pursuits — partnering with my husband in life and art. Love and art seemed to fill the hole inside of me. That worked for a while as I immersed myself yet again in a different culture, a different language. Rooted in the Dutch soil of our 18th century farmhouse where we created art and gardened, we lived quietly with our dog and cat and horse. I was somewhat isolated, I became somewhat insular.
I was in my 40’s and feeling the emptiness again. But this time I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.
My husband could, though. He was ready for his new chapter, and although I didn’t think I was ready to leave this land I had called home for 14 years — I had no choice. I loved him and he couldn’t stay any longer. It was back to the U.S. for us.
Though I had never felt entirely ‘at home’ in the other countries where I had lived, I also didn’t feel ‘at home’ back in the U.S. I was uprooted, confused, in distress. Perhaps I had never felt at home anywhere at anytime.
Eventually we settled with our dogs near Woodstock, NY. It felt good here. I got a job and, after many years, I returned to a regular yoga practice.
I was coasting, feeling ok, when that aching in my heart started up again. The newness of our new life had worn off. I suppose we could have moved and started up again somewhere else, but my husband was happy where we lived and wasn’t interested in new surroundings. Again, not consciously forging a path anywhere, I was floating and following one foot after the other. It was 2008, our country sank into a crippling recession and I wanted a more meaningful life.
Everything happens for a reason.
Yoga had become a passion. I decided I should become a Yoga teacher. That decision brought me to a Yoga teacher training at a place called Kripalu, and to inspirational teachers who would transform my life and become my mentors and friends.
I can say now that I am blessed. I have always been blessed; I just didn’t know it.
I have Angels, Guides and Guardians and they have silently steered me to where I am right now.
The odyssey that began with that teenage girl searching for her place, identity and meaning in the world brought me back to Yoga (which literally means to unite or yoke). That initial Yoga teacher training, with those particular teachers at that particular place and time of my life began an awakening in me and a path to understanding my role in life, my work, my dharma. These age-old spiritual teachings that I have been studying ever since are filling the hole that I thought was a bottomless pit and give meaning to my life.
What are we seeking?
What we seek are connections: to one another, to all creatures, to mother nature, to our planet, our stars and universe. We seek wholeness, oneness. This is the way to fill that existential pain of ‘aloneness’.
My path has brought me to the practice of conscious connection, not separation.
I look for it everywhere and in everyone. Feeling separate from those around us — feeling disconnected from our environment — causes sadness, isolation, and dis-ease. It reveals what is missing from our lives.
What are we missing, what are we seeking?
We are seeking Love.
This is not the love of a partner, child, or parent, as important and satisfying as that is. We seek Love with a capital L that goes beyond the boundaries of family. We seek to give and feel Love, a kind of universal, unconditional Love where there is no place for judgment. A Love where compassion, empathy and forgiveness are more important than being right or vindicated. A place where the desire to be of service to others is greater than the desire to serve ourselves; where we discover that through service to others we are serving ourselves. A place of Love from which to shine and share.
My life is now an adventure of a different kind — one that doesn’t require a change of scenery to fill the emptiness. I know where my home is now. Home is where I have no expectations, fewer attachments, and abundant curiosity instead of fear. Home is being present to whatever is, wherever I am. This has become my practice. It’s a bumpy road, but I travel it with non-judgmental, compassionate awareness — an artist’s work in progress.