February 2014 – No place like Home & Everywhere is Home
My heart fell as I stood at the Portland airport gate, watching my plane pull away and take off without me. It was the first time I had missed a flight in decades. And I was feeling REALLY ready to go home. What on earth was I to learn from this experience other than better time management?
I felt like Dorothy watching the Wizard of Oz sail away in the hot air balloon that was supposed to be taking her home. ‘There’s no place like home,’ I thought fervently. But I wasn’t wearing the ruby slippers and there was no Good Witch Glinda to wave her magic wand and transport me back to Hawaii, to Oahu, to Kaneohe. Despite all my research and will power, no other flights would get me to Hawaii that day.
Here I was stranded in Portland, a place I had enjoyed visiting for a week, and now felt stuck in against my will. Well, if I couldn’t change my body location, it was up to me to change my mental state.
I had just completed my 1st Degree Black Belt training at Nia headquarters in Portland where I had learned exactly such skills as “Being Center”. Here’s a mind bender we were given: In the space/time continuum, the universe does not extend infinitely – however, it has no edge, no end. Rather, the universe curves back upon itself. That means that if we take a step forward and if we were able to follow that trajectory forward long and far enough, we would eventually come up around from behind the point where we started. It’s almost as if the universe is revolving beneath our feet with every step we take.
OK, that big mental stretch took me to the realization that I can always BE the center, no matter where I am, no matter where I go.
But my heart still longed to be home in my familiar surroundings with my family and friends. So I called to my aid a turtle lesson that I had learned years ago when I unexpectedly found myself moving to Hawaii from our beloved home of 30 years in Santa Barbara, California.
For some unknown reason, when I began splitting my time between Hawaiiand Santa Barbara, I found myself powerfully drawn to thehonu. At every opportunity that presented itself, I would dive into the ocean or stand at its shore and seek out the sea turtles. There was something inexplicably comforting in their ancient eyes and their graceful glide through the underwater world.
At that time my life seemed to run like two rails of a railroad track – and it felt as if I could only ride on one of the two rails at a time. When in Santa Barbara, my Hawaii reality would slip away like a distant vacation memory; and vice-versa, whenever I was in Hawaii, California became a dream world for me. Somehow, over time, I learned to keep both places alive and real in my consciousness by actively and frequently learning and imagining exactly what was going on in the lives of my dear ones in the other place. And suddenly one day I learned my lesson of the honu.
In Hawaiian mythology, as well as in other cultures’ thought systems, the world is upheld on the back of a turtle. The island itself is seen as the green-brown back of the honu floating on the surface of the sea. That was a key for me: The turtle is one who is ALWAYS at home, for the turtle carries its home with itself, no matter where it may be.
Having recalled my turtle lesson, I took a deep breath, let go of all the angst I could, looked around myself in the Portland airport, and decided to consider this city my home – at least for the next 24 hours. I got a bowl of my favorite soup from one of my favorite airport restaurants, bought a new pair of jeans from a friendly boutique at the airport, and had a few pleasant conversations with people I met.
Truth be told, however, I am VASTLY relieved to be writing this letter on the airplane the next day – catching the last seat on an overbooked flight – flying HOME to Honolulu! It will be a long time before I miss another airplane! Meanwhile, I had remembered and applied a valuable lesson about carrying ‘home’ with me.
Resting in Stillness and Moving in Joy with you,