Hoppy, our resident blackbird dad is busy feeding his rapidly growing offspring. It won't be long before the second brood is underway as mama blackbird can be seen regularly disappearing into the high ivy hedge that creates a green boundary wall outside our living room windows, carrying bits of straw in her mouth.
It's that time of the year. Spring is happening everywhere. ... one of the joys on my early morning walks is hearing the grey warbler, the riroriro singing its little heart out. See my blog on riririro here.
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” Rumi
This month, October is my eleventh month of getting in the ocean everyday, no matter what. This daily commitment is actually a process coming home to myself. My daily swims have been an enlightening journey of not caring what others think of me - singing my song, like Rumi above. I notice the ocean swimmers heading off into the harbour to swim for an hour whilst I am dunking myself in the water for all of 5 or 10 minutes, and sometimes less.
It feels so good not to compare myself, to keep coming back to myself. To re-connect everyday to the commitment I made. There are days, when I drag my feet about getting into the ocean. Sometimes I notice myself focusing on what is not right: the tide is out, it's windy, cloudy, not sunny (enough) .... And yet, every time, every day, I feel amazing once I am in the water.
Afterwards, my body and soul feel settled. I am fully in my body. Its a good feeling.
At home in myself, with myself.
Home. Hmmmm. A word with so many levels of meaning. This month, I have been thinking a lot about home and what it means ...
I have lived in a lot of different places - both within Aotearoa / New Zealand as well as in the UK, France and Australia. I have often had the feeling arriving in a place that "Oh, I could live here'. I certainly had a strong sense arriving in England for the first time in 1982, that somehow I knew the land and was 'at home' there. On a recent trip to Christchurch, where I was born, I walked along the Avon River which runs through the centre of the city. Although the buildings are so different post 2011 earthquake, I had a deep sense of recognition of place, a deep knowing....
For most of my adult life I have been in search of home, and a home. Home meant security, safety, a sense of permanence, somewhere I could put roots down.
Catrina Davies' book, 'HOMESICK Why I live in a Shed' is moving, poignant and well worth a read.
On p. 314, she says:
Over the last month, I have become more aware that home is about relationship, in several different ways:
Firstly, it is about my relationship with myself - feeling at home in myself. Feeling accepting of myself, my flaws and my beauty; being content with my life, what I have achieved and what I have; and most importantly feeling and expressing gratitude and appreciation.
Secondly, home is about my relationship with the earth. Here where I live, I have made a commitment to loving and tending this little piece of this beautiful planet. Like Catrina Davies, it doesn't so matter where I live as how I live wherever I am. I can love this garden, I can create beauty, aliveness and nourishment here.
I can choose to grow food and flowers without poisons, feeding the earth with goodness we forage: seaweed from the beach and leaves from the cemetery trees. Thank you, thank you. Oh the lettuces taste so good and the oranges we have been eating so juicy.
And thirdly, Home is about my relationships with people; heart to heart.
I have been in relationship with my partner and lover, Terence for more than 5 years now. In the last month, Terence and I, with his daughter Freya, have made the decision that she and her five year old twin daughters are coming back to live with us early next year. We will live again as an intergenerational household - family.
I already have a deep commitment to both girls and their lovely mama, Freya. I have been involved with the girls all their lives. Hand on heart, I can say that blood is actually not thicker than water. I love Freya, Frankie and Aubrey as my whanau - family and feel privileged to be Nonna Jacquie.
My saying yes to his family has deepened my connection with Terence. My yes means that I really am 'all in'. This is significant for me. I have closed a door inside of myself and have committed 100%. This is home, this is where I am staying. I will give this all I have got.
This is important and meaningful for me. I realise that home is a feeling, a sense of belonging, as with most things, an inside job. Like Catrina Davies, I know that this insight, opportunity and this feeling is a treasure. I am excited about the possibilities that are ahead to provide a safe, loving home for these two beautiful girls.
Back to that quote above:
‘Only if you love something,’ said Barbara Kingsolver, ‘will you inconvenience yourself to work on its behalf.’ (Full interview here)
So yes, Barbara Kingsolver, I too am willing to inconvenience myself on behalf of what I love and care for .... to do the inner work, to continue to expand on the inside, to let go of what doesn't serve me anymore.
I am so willing to do all this on behalf of creating a beautiful and nourishing place for children and plants and birds and all the little creatures to grow.
My friend Nimet speaks about Home in this podcast: Where is Home, The Path to Belonging