As these geese take flight, returning to the places they were born to find food and mates, my thoughts turn to the place we call “home.” For some, it’s where we were born, the house we lived in the longest or where we live now. If “Home is where the heart is,” it could simply consist of thoughts or memories of people living together. What is it that makes a home? Is it the place? The house? The people who live there? All these things? Something else? Something more?
I notice that as our location changes we make new homes. And I wonder about those who have several houses. Are they all considered home? Or is there one place that has priority? And do different members of the family consider the same place home? Sometimes I hear people talk about “Home-home” and “Home away from home.” So what constitutes home? Is it where the heart is? I think for most of us, it’s the household where we felt or now feel most connected and comfortable, the place where we can be our most authentic or true self.
The image of these geese, particularly their reflections on the water, has me pondering what it means to “return home.” Many of us go home for the holidays, perhaps to reconnect with our roots, relatives and friends. Whether or not this involves travel, we return to the places where we found or currently find comfort, hopefully, acceptance and the opportunity to be ourselves with other people.
I also recognize that there’s an inner home, the place where the deepest truth of myself resides. Returning there, reconnecting with my true Self, I am inspired to live as I ought, not just as I want. Yasuhiko Kimura, a mystic and author who integrates spiritual philosophy and science, defines authenticity as “The clarity of being in which there is no self-deceit.” Putting this into practice, living authentically, is the expression of thought, word, and deed with integrity to purpose rather than social norms, circumstances or the expectations of others.
Going home in this sense is reconnecting and recommitting to a life of focused purpose. One of the ways I do this is by reading through my Meditation Workbook, a collection of my own and other’s inspirational thoughts, poems, prayers, meditations, contemplations, essays and information—writings that have been important to me. As with photographs, they reflect back to me certain qualities of identity and aspiration. By reconnecting with my “family” of beliefs and values in those pages, I can better act deliberately in ways that reinforce them—always with an open mind and a willingness to modify them as consciousness evolves. As a source of inspiration, these materials always re-energize me and call me to center.
What a blessing it is to have comfortable and enriching homes, both in the world and in consciousness. The temptation is to think that these are due to circumstances. But just as a house is not automatically a home, both domains require continuous work—physically, mentally and spiritually.And like migrating geese, to get there we have to go there.
The light that shines farthest shines brightest at home.
Rhoda and Homer Slabaugh (Amish)
About This Image
I got up around 4:00 a.m. so I leave the motel and could reach Ohio’s Lake Logan by sunrise. This photograph was made around the same time as the masthead for this blog. Walking the shoreline, a flock of geese flew over the water. Quickly, I raised the camera and clicked off about five shots. Because I was using a zoom lens that had been set on “wide-angle,” by the time I zoomed-in and focused, the moment had gone. Previewing the shots instantly, I saw that they were all out of focus.
Figuring (hoping) that another flock might come along, I zoomed the lens to “telephoto,” set a faster shutter speed, and focused on the water—about where the geese had been. I didn’t have to wait long before another flock of birds did come along. As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” And a ready camera.
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