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Longing for Home

This month, Jennifer Louden,Susan Piver, Hiro Boga and I unleash a wave of emotions as we write on the subject of Home: longing for them, losing them, making them ourselves. Follow the links to read their offerings. Hat tip to these brilliant women: my delight in writing in community with them was one of the inspirations for the Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational. (There’s still plenty of time to join in the #SOLI magic!)

earth - moon - rock (Arizona stone)

earth - moon - rock (arizona stone) © 2010 Mahala Mazerov

I step out every day, overflowing with gratitude for my life in Ithaca. I’m in walking distance to almost everything. There’s a wonderful disability ride service for things farther afield. I like the ease, progressiveness, cultural offerings and the extraordinary geology of the gorges that surround me. Plus there’s the Dalai Lama’s monastery brimming with boundless courses and retreats. (Not to mention the pure, inexplicable happiness I feel running into Tibetan monks in the food co-op.)

It’s perfectly functional for me. Except it’s not Home.

Before Ithaca, I lived in a small village in Vermont. For 10 years I lived with a river. No back yard, but the “west branch” of the Ompompanusac River, with meadow turning to woods on the other side. I would sit on my Little River Porch (bundled in blankets in winter) and watch deer, river otter, beaver, all manner of birds and the occasional kayaker pass by. I felt my roots go down deep there. I thought I’d never leave.

But I was dependent on others to get out and around. It was tiring to always have to ask and so I mostly stopped asking. Over time the isolation I needed (to get away from 7 years of hospitals and 3 years of at-home brain injury rehabilitation to heal and integrate in peace) became too much.

I’m on a quest for a Heart Home where I have the best of all possible worlds. But I’m questioning my perception of Home. Can I find it? Or, like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, has it been with me all along?

The Story

If I ask “Where are you from?” do you answer with the place you live now? Or the place you were born?

Ask an indigenous person that very same question and they may point to a great ocean, a mountain, or the center of the earth as their home.

Ask the Q’ero, direct descendants of the Incas, and they point to the stars.

I was only just discovering my shamanic ancestors when I met Q’ero shaman sometime in the 1990s. In a strange prescience we met in a Zen temple in Rhode Island. Peruvian shaman in ceremonial ponchos looking as if they’d just stepped out of National Geographic magazine sharing space with a giant golden Buddha.

Little did I imagine how these two worlds would combine to be my future.

I can see the face, the energy, the pure love beaming from Don Manuel Quispe, the Dalai Lama of the Andes as if he were standing before me now.

Don Manuel Quispe

Don Manuel Quispe 1905 - 2004 (photographer unknown)

He and the other shaman shared extensive teachings and initiations his people had hidden for 500 years. Their prophecies indicated it was now time to share this knowledge. Time for the Condor of the South and the Eagle of the North to fly together.

One night they gave us an initiation, a Karpay, a transmission. They gave us the Star Rites of “Mosoq Karpay” (The Rites of the Time to Come) to the Star Beings.

To this day I could not tell you what happened to me under that sky. But something cracked open.

I returned home to Vermont, sat on my Little River Porch, looked up at the night sky and sobbed my heart out for eight solid weeks.

Just writing about this makes me start to quiver.

What does this mean that, longing for Home, I point to the stars?

It’s the same longing I have for the all-encompassing love I experienced the night of my brain injury. The night when, after 8 hours in the ER, my awareness of dying transformed into a near death vision.

It’s the same unobstructed state I experience in some of my Buddhist practices. I overflow with love until everything becomes spacious and empty.

These are my Home. And yet there’s no physicality. There’s no place to stay. I need a body and this physical world around me to accomplish anything at all that is good.

Wherever I live becomes my practice ground. The place where I turn events easy and hard into a cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion. The place where I fail and try again. The place where I sometimes succeed and bask in pure astonishment that it is possible to feel such love here, too.

Home becomes everywhere my heart has a chance to love.

Comment Kindness: This is one of those posts that might seem perfectly ordinary to you, but which feels very vulnerable for me to publish. Even though I ask What does it mean that I point to the stars…? it’s a question of inner exploration. I’m not really asking for an answer. What I would love is your thoughts about home: Have you found your heart place? And your thoughts about lovingkindness: how does your home evoke that in you?

23 Responses to Longing for Home
  1. Jennifer Louden
    July 16, 2010 | 11:22 am

    Thank you for touching the longing in my heart for home this morning, for sharing that amazing picture of Don Manuel Quispe, and for being willing to keep asking. Isn’t that the best thing we can do? I have found writing about home has opened up a huge ache in me that I will continue to explore… even though I would rather turn away. i so appreciate your courage and open heart, so so much! LOVE LOVE LOVE
    Jennifer Louden´s last blog ..Whoever Brought me Here Will Have to Take me HomeMy ComLuv Profile

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 16, 2010 | 12:04 pm

      The experience of exploring this together will be with me for a long time. l remember the first time I saw your beautiful purple house with the glorious front garden. I thought how much I long to have a place of my own where I can paint everything jewel colors and cultivate a garden that is mine forever. I thought if I had that, maybe things would be different. Your post made me realize, maybe not.

      I bow to your courage to stay in one place as a way of coming home to yourself.

      Big love, Mahala
      Twitter:

  2. Susan Piver
    July 16, 2010 | 11:41 am

    It is so rewarding to do this together. Love the deep look at home, from way up in the sky to deep down in the earth…

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 16, 2010 | 12:08 pm

      What a joy to write together. It’s amazing how quickly we become more than the sum of our parts.

      Many blessings,
      Mahala
      Twitter:

  3. Martha Dever
    July 16, 2010 | 11:50 am

    I know the longing for home….I often find myself saying “I want to go home” but I don’t know where it is. I think it is not a physical place.

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 16, 2010 | 12:30 pm

      Yes.

      I wonder if it is a quest for some wholeness we know intrinsically, deep inside ourselves.

      Whatever it is, I hope you find it.

      <3 Mahala
      Twitter:

  4. Spike
    July 16, 2010 | 7:33 pm

    Your comment about the Q’ero and their home in the stars made me think of a song I heard once, shortly after I uprooted 22 years and moved. Starting out totally fresh, completely on my own. The chorus was “I have cast my anchors to the wind.”

    One could do far worse than to be anchored in the wind and stars.
    Spike´s last blog ..One Last Day Together In MemoriamMy ComLuv Profile

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 17, 2010 | 10:48 pm

      What a perfect lyric to hear when uprooting and starting a new l life. A good memory.

      One could do far worse than to be anchored in the wind and stars. Wise and sweet.
      Twitter:

  5. bookbird
    July 17, 2010 | 9:06 pm

    what a gentle and vulnerable post. Thankyou for your open heart – it is a teaching in itself! I am very much looking forward to your other writings.

    Bows,

    bookbird
    bookbird´s last blog ..how i stopped worrying and learned to love the fluMy ComLuv Profile

  6. Mahala Mazerov
    July 17, 2010 | 10:50 pm

    Thank you sweetness. I look forward to getting to know you better.

    Palms together ~ Mahala
    Twitter:

  7. Lynne Tolk
    July 17, 2010 | 11:50 pm

    “Home becomes everywhere my heart has a chance to love.” This encapsulates it all so beautifully! Thank you, Mahala.
    I had that phrase in my head, ‘I want to go home’ for years until I attended a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh and he taught us this chant/song:
    I have arrived, I am home
    in the here and in the now;
    I am solid, I am free,
    in the absolute I dwell.
    I cried for days, and finally understood. The old phrase faded away.
    Lynne Tolk´s last blog ..My ComLuv Profile

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 18, 2010 | 2:25 pm

      Oh my, I love this chant! Something stirs in my brain from the “I have arrived, I am home.” I think someone taught me that as part of a walking meditation chant, each phrase a step on the earth. I’m not sure I ever heard the rest.

      How fortunate you are to have attended retreat(s) with Thich Nhat Hanh. I heard him speak once. He passed within 3 feet of me on the way to and from the platform. What an incredible presence!
      Twitter:

  8. laney
    July 18, 2010 | 11:26 am

    thank you all for your honest & heartfelt feelings about what home means to all of you. i couldn’t help but think if the bon jovi song & the words, “who says you can’t go home” & i always smirk to myself because at the age of 21 my father & his companion said i couldn’t return to “their” home after college. reading all of our posts, i’ve come to understand that although i’ve had 3 “homes” since that time, i’ve really only dwelled in all of them. i hope for day for a “real” home. but for now, i give thanks for the sturdy structure that keeps me safe & secure though not totally grounded.

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 18, 2010 | 2:30 pm

      Laney, thank you for visiting and leaving your thoughts here. My heart sinks, I can’t imagine what you experienced at age 21. I pray you had love and support.
      Like you I constantly give thanks for the safety and structure of my “dwelling place.” I know I am so blessed to have it even though I keep a flame lit in my heart for a true Home.
      Twitter:

  9. laney
    July 18, 2010 | 7:20 pm

    hi mahala, thank you. at the time i did not have the proper love & support but i do now- some 2o+ years later. i think this is a great topic to think about & to share their thoughts– “home” has different meanings for everyone. again, thank you & to the other writers for discussing this topic & i’m grateful for thinking about “home”.

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 30, 2010 | 3:18 pm

      I’m happy you have love and support in your life now. :-)
      Twitter:

  10. rebecca @ altared spaces
    July 22, 2010 | 1:24 pm

    I had a difficult time getting here. Lots of those ikky messages from my computer telling me the link wouldn’t work. But, after seeing this picture…I knew I had to find you.

    Because that picture felt like home.

    So then I read and knew why I had to persist. We have lots to talk about, you and I. I’m so glad I found you. So glad.

    Your words are kindness embodied.
    rebecca @ altared spaces´s last blog ..do soft razors make soft menMy ComLuv Profile

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 23, 2010 | 10:38 pm

      Sorry about those ikky messages. I’m so very happy you pushed through and found me.

      I took a spin over to your blog. Love it!

      Do you know the movie Casablanca? I keep seeing the end in my mind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vY-4zWKsJM

      Looking forward to getting to know you.
      Twitter:

  11. Ann
    July 23, 2010 | 7:32 pm

    Dear Mahala,
    I have read this post over and over, because it has touched such a deep place inside me. I think I have lived in two places that felt like home – Seattle and Maui. As I read your lovely post, I ask myself “what constitutes home?” The very question makes me restless. It isn’t length of time, it isn’t geography, it isn’t nearby family. It isn’t even willingness to stay – I left both of those places voluntarily. BUT … I am here, in South Carolina, and almost certainly will continue to live here for years more. So if I’m not willing to live with restlessness, how will I come to peace? I’ll let you know if/when I find the answer.
    Namaste,
    Ann
    Ann´s last blog ..View from a Cubicle – Compassion SOLI 2My ComLuv Profile
    Twitter:

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 23, 2010 | 10:42 pm

      Ann, I’m so glad you connected with this post.

      As you can imagine the last question you ask is a huge one for me, too. “If I’m not willing to live with reslessness, how will I come to peace?” DO let me know if / when you find the answer. In the meantime, I will keep gazing at everyone in my little town with love.
      Twitter:

  12. Becky
    July 28, 2010 | 2:04 pm

    Wow! That is a theme that comes up a lot for me. I didn’t realize just how much of a home my sweet little place in Altadena had become, until I had to move again. Every time I think of it, I want to cry. But, at the same time, part of me realizes, like what you said, that home is something we can find inside ourselves, regardless of geographical locations. One day I was driving, and I heard a Radiohead Song (no lyrics, don’t know the title), and something about that song told me “We’re all already home.” I don’t usually feel it, but somehow I believe it.

    • Mahala Mazerov
      July 30, 2010 | 3:16 pm

      Becky,
      I love you, musician that you are, and the way the right lyrics always speak to you.
      It sounds like you had a pretty big shift. I’m happy for you.
      Twitter:

  13. carolyn
    January 6, 2011 | 12:00 pm

    Dear Mahala, Today I stumbled upon this renga of “home” writing by the four of you (through Hiro Boga). Sorry to have missed it happening last summer, but the timing seems also right for the new year.

    The photo of your shaman speaks to me in his silence. He’ so beautiful to look at.

    Your lines: “It’s the same unobstructed state I experience in some of my Buddhist practices. I overflow with love until everything becomes spacious and empty” also spoke to me and reminded me of something I’d written about one of the places where I study yoga. Through our actions and intentions we create homes not only for ourselves, but for others.

    Effective teachers, mothers, friends, colleagues, brothers, healers…and yes, writers and poets, do this for us. My intention for the new year: to create a spacious, healing home for my self and those in my life.

    May I add my lines to this home renga inquiry?
    with love to you, happy new year. carolyn

    It’s called: (the title is followed by a short epigraph from Sappho)
    body heart and soul

    I could not hope
    to touch the sky
    with my two arms

    Sappho # 129

    and yet I travel
    the slippery drive
    into Panterra—
    the green cleft in
    earth’s crust—
    smitten with the song
    of om
    driven by a physical
    hunger to expand
    condense
    invert my vision

    she waves me in
    to truth

    I rise from the illusion
    of the rickety ride here
    descend into
    the company of others
    laying aside the bare
    existence of the world
    to drop as a sweet babe
    sighing release into
    this sight of reality

    joining the presence
    of birdsong and
    skittering ants on the skylights
    the rising stars and moon
    shining feral light
    on this little life

    I begin in the plural
    walk to my mat as one
    of many energies
    theirs—mine—hers

    each of us opening
    into breath
    the soft heart of prana
    singing in our limbs
    we move
    breaking old patterns
    of destruction
    the separateness of lives
    and then we exhale
    into a single vibration

    she guides us
    into positions
    where we might
    feel the flowing
    stream
    the one life

    the land rises
    soft with fern
    and berries on
    either side of
    the yoga shala

    the sky blooms
    an expanse of deep glory
    above and within
    the clay and stone of solid earth
    calling us to lay
    down our ambitions
    and offer ourselves
    to truth
    our primordial
    home
    carolyn´s last blog ..By- carolyn- laughing yoginiMy ComLuv Profile
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