“The song of the waters is audible to every ear, but there is other music in these hills, by no means audible to all. To hear even a few notes of it you must first live here for a long time, and you must know the speech of hills and rivers. Then on a still night, when the campfire is low and the Pleiades have climbed over rim rocks, sit quietly and listen for a wolf to howl, and think hard of everything you have seen and tried to understand. Then you may hear it – a vast pulsing harmony – its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and the centuries.” 1
Home is where we feel most … at home, at least that’s the way it’s meant to be. Home is where we belong, a place we don’t have to “deserve.” So, where is that home? Is it defined by walls, city limits, lines on a map, language and ethnicity and religion, bodies of water, position in space? How limited or open is our experience of “home?”
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Time is another measurement. Where are you, where am I, right now and most of the time? Present? Present with our attention focused on here and now, or fragmented in a thousand directions? Worried about that meeting later today, upset over what a neighbor said, anxious to talk to a son about his report card…?
Meanwhile, here we are. It’s odd but not surprising that we look everywhere but here to heal what ails us. We seek, for stuff and/or enlightenment, we build and move, we begin and end relationships, we read books about change and pay teachers / coaches to help.
Meanwhile, here we are.
“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine,
or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo.” 2
There’s a relevant joke about a friend finding his buddy on the street, obviously looking for something. “What did you lose?” he asked. “My car keys, right over there.” Puzzled, his friend asked, “If you lost them over there, why are you looking here?” To which his buddy replied, “The light is better here.”
Is the therapist’s couch where you lost the passion in your relationship? Is the new age workshop where you lost your connection with nature? Is your bed the place you lost love for yourself?
“Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” is the title of an old Waylon Jennings country and western song. It’s also an apt description of how we tend to go about solving our human problems. There are a thousand examples. My favorite is the sun. Huh? The sun is difficult to ignore yet we have managed to do exactly that for centuries, seemingly oblivious to the undeniable fact that all life forms on this vast planet, and there are trillions of them (including us), depend on the sun for survival.
That we portray solar energy as an “alternate energy” is sadly laughable. I believe the sun came first! I believe the sun continues to be the primary source of energy on our planet. Oh, and it’s free!
Instead, we dug for oil, fouled our air and water with it, and then created nuclear power — much cleaner it’s claimed. Except for the waste, of which there are two general types. Pc-99 has a half-life of 220,000 years and l-129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Lethal poisons in spent fuel radioactivity decay over thousands of years. Nice contribution to the eco-system! Meanwhile, the sun shines upon us, all of us, without judgment. So, here and now is where we should look for what we lost, because what we lost — primarily — is the connection with this timeless reality of here and now.
We began this series of four blogs with a quote from James Hillman and it seems that we have come full circle so that repeating his wise words would be an ideal completion:
“To what does the soul turn that has no therapists to visit? It takes its troubles to the trees, to the riverbank, to an animal companion, on an aimless walk through the city streets, a long watch of the night sky. Just stare out the window or boil water for a cup of tea. We breathe, expand, and let go, and something comes in from somewhere.” 3
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1. Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac
3. James Hillman, from The Soul’s Code