Walking alongside moss-covered, granite boulders, along the lake of Mustalampi and between the pine and silver birch trees of Nuuksio National Park, we watch the sky transform as its light adorns the dark, still waters with cerulean hues and ripples of sun-dappled clouds. In these strange and uncertain times of suspended systems and activities and, with the earth’s call for practices of homing and processes of recalibration and introspection, we are granted the stillness within which to reimagine our relationship to the worlds we inhabit.
Looking at the reflection on the lake, scintillating and evocative, as if the waters had, for a moment, swallowed the sky and left its muddied throat wide open with flaunting indulgence for us to marvel at just how much of the world it holds. In this mirrored vision witnessed, of the elements above and below, reconciled, I am reminded of the old biblical scripture invoking God’s will “on earth, as it is in heaven”; an insight reflected also, in the ancient aphorism associated with sacred geometry and indigenous wisdom, “As above, so below, as within, so without”.
In it, I am reminded, not to delude myself into thinking that the condition of the earth; the simultaneously erupting ecological and global health crisis, and the present state of affairs in the surface world is not a reflection of the inner processes and landscapes of the heart; undernourished and overharvested.
‘Homing’ necessitates a delving into the depths of spirit and heart, to the lifeblood and marrow of being. It calls us inward, so that when we write and speak and move and listen, we do so, from that place of stillness. That is how we effect change in the outer world.
We stumble on a darkened patch of earth; a stone-circled firepit. The earth and rocks are still warm, and the smell of fire and meat lingers in the air. A film of smoke clings to the branches and settles in the shade of the trees. We are not alone. The words are as true here, in this seemingly infinite forest of trees, as it is in the stilled streets of our cities and suburbs.
While it is imperative that we ‘home’, and root, and withdraw from the surface world, it is essential that we remember, that we are not alone; that there are worlds that converge and overlap with ours, that our ancestors and our descendants inhabit these adjoining worlds and that time past and future find habitation and expression in the present.
We sit around the fire and listen to each other, exchanging stories, memories, dreams, and the changing light around us competes in hues of red and rose and gold, with the fire at our feet, and the fires in our hearts.
When we listen deeply, to the movements, words, expressions and gestures of others, without giving in to the impulse to make sense of, contain, explain, validate and resolve, we catch glimpses of the essence that erects our bones. And when we stay still and present for long enough, we witness beings with longings and dreams, take shape and form within the silences and spaces between words.
Homing is in the process of peeling the fibrous husk that covers the heart. It is in reciprocal exchanges that nourish and encourage togetherness. I am reminded how simple acts like sitting down at a table together and sharing a meal, as we did with the youth at Baphumelele Fountain of Hope, as part of RTO’s Guardians for Nature program, had the power to transform place and space into home. How honouring the points at which our stories intersect, and overlap is all part of coming home, and of remembering that we are not alone. From this place of knowing and of remembering, let us listen… and in listening to the earth and all its inhabitants, let us create space for homing and healing. Angelique Michaels Return To Origin Leader from Finland.