Finding Home - Margaret O'Connor

As any immigrant from one country to another knows the see-saw of holding on and letting go of home becomes a real dilemma. Even if your country of birth was a place of pain and suffering, we still feel the tug of the motherland, the familiar smells, the colour of light and sounds of the landscape that are woven into your soul. And even if the new world offers safety, efficiency or opportunities that we could only dream of in the homeland, its nuances of landscape, colour and sound take a long time to resonate as home. Like leaving an old love or finding a new love, we sit in the fulcrum of holding on and letting go as human beings. In our journey of growth we also arrive at the moment when to hold on means we will be stuck and to let go takes us on the pilgrimage forward into the unknown. This brings us to a place of fear and a longing for home.

I once took instruction from a Tibetan Tulku who told me of a day after the winter snows of Tibet had melted and he was released from the confines of the monastery into the spring meadows. Together with a whole gaggle of young monks his five year old self revelled in the freedom. And then he felt an excruciating pain in his foot between his toes. He squeezed his toes against the pain and the more he squeezed the worst it got. Finally an older monk came to attend to him and unfurled his toes to release a stinging bee. My immigrant self, still clinging to the green hills of home and the long soft twilight of summer evenings, felt a light go on as he spoke. The visceral nature of the story made a deep impression as he softly told it and waited at the end for it to land in me.

Fearing loss of home, of love, makes us grasp and grasping causes pain. Anticipating loss we strive to hold on to familiarity and it increases our fear. While we hear the solution over and over which is to let go, allow and accept, it takes a while to fully acquire the real fruits of letting go. Our human fear of losing life, losing love, losing connection, losing face, losing the known can freeze us in a habitual present that is like molasses, sticky and difficult to move out of. When we return to the breath and breathe in the wonders of the world and breathing out let them all go it is an incredible breeze of freedom moving through us. When we rest in our own self-love and make our heart the sanctuary that goes everywhere with us we are truly free.

I have made many pilgrimages in my life and often sought the stars and moon to give me the comfort of the familiar in strange places. Experiencing the delight of flying from Sikkim to Calcutta in a small helicopter one morning filled me with such an ecstasy of the beauty of the earth as we floated down over the green hilltops. The prayer flags of the temples still visible brought up a sense of leaving home once again. My mother, who had been dead a year, seemed to join me to share the moment. A similar moment occurred as a Peregrino on the Camino De Santiago which I walked with two of my brothers. Listening to them snoring as we lay in our hostel beds amongst a large family of fellow Peregrinos from all over the world, I felt at home again, a little worried that they were keeping everyone awake, but comfortable with the familiarity. Often as I share a deep moment of understanding in my work with people, the feeling of being at home on our pilgrimage together arises. And in the next moment we let go again.

When we truly find home within ourselves letting go becomes a little easier and holding on a little less grasping as we feel the security inside. Making sure we allow the frantic fear of losing love to have its time and space in us allows us to feel that higher resonance of gratitude for all that is in us and all that we have. This allows us to reach such moments of pure satisfaction where nothing is needed to fill the moment. Then we are truly home. And even then to hear the voice of my beloved companion in the morning when I am traveling far from home is a touchstone that is a gift of continuity that we are given. The more we relax and live in love the more free we become and the more love we experience. This is a gift of life that is a certainty amongst so much present uncertainty. Savour it! And let it go!

About the author: 

Margaret O'Connor is been an educator, group facilitator and psychotherapist, working in the soul's landscape, for 35 years. During her many years in the US she has degrees in Education, Psychotherapy and is passionate about the new thinking available in the fields of spirituality, neurology, addiction and the art and science of inner and outer relationship.

Margaret has now made her base in Ireland and returned "to drink at the well of the ancient wisdom traditions of her home landscape".  Her work with ancestral patterns and the transformation of their programs is her present preoccupation. Margaret continues to work with clients throughout the world through Skype and on the telephone. Margaret often travels to train, facilitate and do individual work.