… a place of self-expression, a vessel of memories, a refuge from the outside world, a cocoon where we can feel nurtured and let down our guard (Cooper-Marcus, 2006, p. 2).
This journey through researching the experience of leaving home and working with others has not been easy. It has, as you have read, been a cauldron of challenges and deep meaningful connections to new knowledge.
Now reaching the end of this research I am faced with the question, how do I want to be with what I know now? I still have a liminal sense of what that may be, and yes it may still be a temporary approximation to something meaningful, but I hold in that the sense of endless possibilities as I move forward building on my sense of home and belonging.
In keeping with the methodology of this research, I dove into creating some poetic essence statements and an automatic and intuitive writing process to come to a resting place with this journey. In constant reflection on the key findings, my intuitive response came very early in the morning. I find my logic and intellect is still mostly asleep at that time and when I awoke, my waking thoughts were pictures of me entering a forest. The drive to respond was especially strong as it made me get up and out of bed at about 3am. While comfortable with being an early bird, this still seemed more like the middle of the night, even for me. The instinct was persistent, so I started creating a haiku to capture the essence of belonging, informed by the concepts of bound and holding in the findings.
Silent stillness held
Being bound is connection
Held in belonging
Then an amplification of this essence;
I never reach my desire to connect when I hide and fight. It paralyses my body in fear and disconnection and I bind myself to force myself to stop.
Reflecting on the internal landscape, I release and letting go of what limits and disconnects me.
Now held softly in connection,
I am home again.
I am home.
I went back to bed, thinking that there was some sense of completion. But still something called me to keep going. After a failed attempt to drift to sleep it pushed me out from under my warm cocoon to keep writing.
Once the writing that follows was finished, the only corrections were typos and spelling. The illustration is something I had made 6 years ago and it seems to fit, speaking to what emerged in the writing.
(Figure 6.1. Tree of Wisdom. Pen drawing. Julie Hauritz, 2010)
Perhaps what I’ve come to know has always been known or perhaps not quite known to me, but it was too deep to be present to. Only through engaging in the reflexivity and emergence of working with others and working myself with the multi-modal processes, has it come to light.
Journal extract – 4.40am 13 October 2016
It’s dark outside and the air has a chill. The sound of the trees creaking in the wind makes me alert. My mind wonders to a thought, possibilities of what the noise may be. I know it’s the trees, but my mind wants to play in the dark, reminding me of my childhood fears. The monsters that go bump in the night.
……… But it’s not night.
It’s daytime and I am awake.
Outside is not dark. The sun is actually shining and the light breeze is more like a holiday.
………What is dark is the inside.
This forest, thick with heavy timbers, rustling leaves, nooks and crannies where all my dark thoughts hide. I go there sometimes. To hide. There is a big tree whose roots form a protective shell to sit within. She is still and wise, but deep within the forest. I cover myself from all the fears as I walk in to find her. These fears reach out to taunt me, they know I’m not there to listen, but sometimes their voice screams and I want to run, but I can’t run. I need to stay focused, stay present to my safe place in the cradle of this wise being. I catch glimpses of these fears as they wisp past my cheek like a sticky, smoky cloud flying like a bullet from a gun. Sometimes it grazes my skin, but I can’t stop, if I stop they will overtake me.
I listen to my breathing, it’s deep and fast. I remember my meditation and slowly sink into the breath’s rhythm. I picture in my mind times when I felt safe.
In my grandmother’s garden, mulberry stains on my fingers and sandy soil under my feet.
Hiding under my sheets with my dog licking my face, only her tail giving away our presence. I imagine my mother seeing this moving sheet, knowing too well it wasn’t allowed, but knowing I was loving with all my heart, then turning quietly away to leave me be with my best friend.
I recall the salt of the waves flowing up to my fingers in the exact moment the worm arched between my fingers as I pinched hard down on this slimy wriggly creature and then the elation of ‘I got it!’
These moments keep me focused on the path to the deepness in my heart even though my fears can still haunt me like lost souls. I love this forest, its great complex ecosystem of thoughts, fears and memories and in the centre of it all, my life force.
I don’t need to go outside to find my peace. I don’t need to build a structure to call home. I have a home, deep in a forest where my wisdom sits, where I am connected, where I am at peace and where I can safely explore those dark places. This longing in my bones is not about longing to find a home or even to have back what I’ve lost. The longing is to belong. To be with all the darkness and all the light in the forest of my heart and to know its wisdom is there for me to say, hey, you’ve got this. I love you, you’re amazing and I am here for you. I am you. You Belong.
As this journey home continues, a smile emerges on my face in reflecting on the starting point of actually leaving home. The journey through my fears and patterns to hide and protect; the sense of deep loss and longing and trying to hold all that in, I have gained freedom and boundless possibilities to be held and to hold myself and my home within and to greet at the door of my heart, my new dear friend, Belonging.
In Kate Tempest’s book, Hold Your Own, her beautiful and sometimes raw poetic sense, speaks to me deeply with this one line from her poem, These things I know; “Wherever you come from is a holy place” (Tempest, 2014. p.70).
The Welsh word Hiraeth, as expressed in the following prose by Ruth Calder Murphy (2014), captures beautifully this felt sense I now have of my relationship to the concept of Home and Belonging. It so poignantly reflects on the sense of longing, the pain, the knowing and the spirit of that relationship.
This is the longing,
the hope, the faith,
however far I roam,
This is the loving
that’s laced with pain,
the still small voice again.
This is the yearning,
the turning round,
deep within –
and out into eternity –
I am found.
Ruth Calder Murphy (2014)
As I reflect on and weave into my life the experiences held in leaving home, I am drawn back to coming home,
a sacred and holy home,
a place within,
a place where I belong.
A place that is a calling;
A longing to just ‘be’.
Avoka and me at 2 years. Papua New Guinea (1973)
Leaving Home has been a journey of Coming Home. A place present to my values, connected to history, connected through making and grounded in self-inquiry.
This home is Belonging, still moving and forming in a place within me, no longer limited to the boundary of place, but rather held in the values of freedom, trust and respect.
Final Chapter of Masters in Therapeutic Arts Practice.
There’s no place like Home
the experience of leaving home.