Longing, Belonging and Freedom

ListenIntuitives have been talking lately about the cleansing energy that has been blasting through our inner lives over the past weeks and months. Old stuff, ancient stuff is rising up and being blown about. The corners are being swept. That has certainly been true for me. I don’t have a handle on this newest revelation yet, so my writing about it may feel jumbled, unclear, but I am coming to you live from inner space, and here is what it looks like at the moment.

Crestview2I just returned home from a week-long trip down south, my birthplace. While there visiting with my family, I also looked at a piece of property that literally wept with nostalgia – thirteen acres of pasture, forest, private lake, barn (complete with a tractor and two horses), and a ramshackle house that was begging for love, my love…the kind of treasure completely out of reach here in California. This place got under my skin, as well as my husband’s and daughter’s…so much so that if the house hadn’t needed quite so much attention, we would be ranch owners right now.

So my visit was thrown into a tailspin of pondering. Could we relocate back to my Mississippi roots, after almost forty years in the liberal, urban sprawl of Los Angeles? Could we embrace the idyllic geography, spend the next and final years looking at the stars, listening to the crickets, catching fish and growing vegetables, feeling the deep belonging of brothers and cousins, nieces and nephews, and old high school friends who knew me when? Could our wide-world mindset find its place in the old-world leanings of the south? Could we survive the heat and humidity? 😉

Oh, how I struggle when I go back there! My mom is in her latter years, and it hurts to witness her decline, experience the tenderness between us, then say goodbye each visit. It hurts to connect with my brothers and their children, feel that potent pull of belonging, then depart. But then I arrive back at LAX…and there is something in the air that feels good. Really good. It smells like jet fuel, it looks like concrete and cars and palm trees, but it feels like freedom. I can breathe deeply here in the City of Angels.

I’ve been reading another John O’Donohue book. This one is called Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong. The timing could not be more perfect. And the corners that are getting swept, the ancient stuff that is coming up for me to heal, is another piece of self-acceptance: accepting this throb in the center of my chest that pulses so intensely it hurts. This yearning heart, which often embarrasses me, is my life-force, my very best feature!

I’m also being asked to look at the continuum of belonging and freedom, and embrace the fluctuating position I find myself in along that continuum.  Pure belonging is impossible without the sacrifice of individuality, the gift of freedom. Pure freedom is a lonely, lonely place.  I had never thought about this before, about the dynamism of these twin calls in our lives, and our negotiation of those energies. Somehow, naming them helps me dance instead of wrestle between, even as the as-yet-unknown future unfurls.

Here is a lovely blessing by O’Donohue that I offer as prayer for myself and for you, as you, too, are blown about in your own winds of change:

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart that something good is going to happen to you.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing which lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May your angel free you from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment, and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.

–John O’Donohue


21 Replies to “Longing, Belonging and Freedom”

  1. Dear Angela. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your thoughts of returning to Mississippi are badly clouded by emotion. I can tell you from experience that one of the first things you will learn is that you may be welcome there, but your ideas won’t be. You would be giving up a lot of what you call your life when you leave the coast. In and Out hamburgers for example. Actually the thing I missed most was my freedom of thought and all the different kind of people who were in my life. In Mississippi there are basically two groups. The right people and the rest of us who are going to hell. I felt like I had to keep my mouth shut or alienate myself even from my family.. They have NO tolerance for new or different ideas and you will not be allowed to be who you are. Of course in my case I was feeling like that before I left there almost fifty yesrs ago.

    1. I hear you, Tommy. All of what you have said has certainly been on my mind. Somehow, though, I have to find a tolerance for intolerance, else I become the thing I stand against! That doesn’t mean I am going to move, though. The future is still unclear! 🙂

  2. I love going home, too. Wisconsin has it’s roughness and differences, but that is part of the appeal. I think we are lucky because we can actually live in both worlds. Visiting is not the same as living in a place. I plan on splitting my time half and half. When I can no longer handle the hunting and lack of diversity, I will come back to Ojai, land of Vegans and yogis.

  3. I feel your heart in this. Beautiful heart. I feel the blanket of moistness that surrounds you when you get off the plane, the quiet sound of cicadas, and the weight of all the unsaid longings. I also feel the recognition of some sweet self familiarity. So glad you have returned to us with all that inside you. Thank you for sharing it. I love you.

  4. Wow, I can feel every thing you have described. I’ve lived in the fuel smelling, concrete fast pace city. Which I felt at home for many years. However I was torn are drawn back to my roots my family my childhood memories. After 25 years my heart was given what it needed. The dream I dreamed. Back to simple, friendly, quite, stars, farm animals n fresh air an knowing All my neighbors. I truly can say my heart has been struck alive again. I cherish every morning, the haze that hangs over the back fields and the smell is like I remember. I am content I am happy I need nothing else. I am where I’m suppose to be. I am Blessed I’m not restless anymore.

  5. Beautiful Angie, tears
    Want to visit you on your ranch…same craving
    AND just wrote a title for automatic writing yesterday “belonging” I suppose that means we belong in “inner space” together! Lol btw I love this term! And I love you!❤️

  6. I can so relate to your nostalgia and yearning, Angie. You formulate words from my very own heart. I just got back from Norway (first trip) meeting relatives I never knew I had before five years ago. I am an only child, born in L.A., who also resonates with jet fuel and traffic. Yet the valley where my great, great grandparents lived, where many distant cousins still reside, gave my soul a sense of expansion and belonging I could not have imagined! Remembering the peaceful, yet staggering beauty of the landscape, and the welcoming of these members of my tribe, brings tears now. Oh, the beautiful conflicts and confusion of the heart!!!! Thank you for allowing me this moment….
    In Love.

I would love to hear your thoughts!