We live in a world with an epidemic of homelessness. In the United States at least half a million people live without a home. The numbers of vulnerable people displaced worldwide are staggering. We feel the planet as our collective home in environmental crisis. How can any of us truly feel at home in this world?
As the child of immigrant parents from India, I’ve often struggled with feeling at home in the world. There is a profound sense of grief in the immigrant experience, even when you leave home voluntarily. The food will never taste as good as it did at home. Tamarind and mango, saffron and rose, my mother tried in vain to recreate these foreign flavors in America like a mad scientist in the kitchen. With every breath, our noses searched for that familiar combination of musky sweetness and putrid stench that was home. Though I was born in Chicago, I felt my parents’ separation from home as my own loss. On our many trips to India as a child, I felt a fleeting sense of belonging that I would never feel in the US. Even that faded as I struggled to find my place here, abandoning my mother tongue and learning how to decipher the inscrutable symbols of this culture. And so, the sense of being at home in the world is something that I never really felt during childhood.
A dear friend of mine, who grew up in the Caribbean, once told me that for her the sea was home. The days and years she spent idling in the waves, laying on the pink sand, these were a homecoming for her. And she asked me if I had a place like that. I felt grief as I confessed that I didn’t, but I hoped I would find one. Yet as I thought about it, I realized that home is not a place for me. Home is a feeling.
My first experiences with somatic work were learning practices of contact, of touch. Placing my hands on the shoulders of another person, feeling the whole of myself in relation to their body, I understood what it meant to be in right relationship with the world. This was home. Neither too close, nor too far away. Not too much contact, not too little. Just enough heart, just enough ground. No thoughts, only feelings. A resonant web that connected us, our bodies no longer separate, surrounded by potent space.
I had searched my whole life for this feeling outside of myself: in romantic relationships, in philosophy, and in my art. It wasn’t until later that I learned that for me, home is the felt sense of being in resonance with others and with the planet. This is not an abstraction or something to aspire to: It is something that we can learn to feel and sense in the present moment. And when we feel it, when we enter that resonant space, something new can happen.
This something new is how I think about creativity. An elemental contact with ourselves and with others. We are taught in this culture that we can only make things happen by willing and struggling to produce, and always to produce more. This mentality is competitive and isolating. It is part of a patriarchal paradigm that is unsustainable, one that I believe our society is beginning to overcome. Rather than willing something to happen, rather than struggling to produce, we are co-creators.
This fundamental attunement that connects us to home is a perceptual orientation that at some point in history, we didn’t have to learn. But I believe we do need to relearn it now, and create spaces to practice it together.
If you too long for home, join me in this resonant space.
In my upcoming class series on Embodying Creativity, learn to practice the skills of experiencing and perceiving the somatic field, a resonant space of attunement with yourself and with others in the group. The somatic field is a space in which your creative intentions are revealed and traumatic imprints that block these intentions from expression are metabolized and resolved. Through fluid, somatic movement practices, embodied writing, and process work, you will experience contact with your creative blueprint, the map of your soul’s journey which allows you to surrender to the co-creative process that is our birthright.
Join me for upcoming evening Embodying Creativity classes at Somaspace (4050 NE Broadway Street Portland, Oregon 97232):
Friday, January 17, 2020, 7-10 pm
Friday, February 21, 2020, 7-10 pm
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for classes (drop-ins also welcome) and to schedule private in-person or Skype sessions.