“Everything is energy and that is all there is to it.” -Albert Einstein
I have been wrestling with the best way to tell the following story for months because the experience was so simple and seemingly every day and yet completely profound and life-changing. This past fall, about a month after school started, I was feeling busier than usual one morning as I walked into my favorite café. There were ten people in front of me in the line which has never happened before, so I was busy multitasking on my phone.
I decided to lift my head, turn off my phone, and use the time to catch my breath. As I have written about so many times, these moments of presence are always available, but it is about my ability to step into them or not that makes all the difference. Within moments of looking up, the lady behind me joked with my husband about the length of the line and we started to chat. As soon as there was a genuine connection, the magic happened as it always does…
Everyone has different beliefs about why things happen, faith and fate, love and logic, destiny, and predetermination. This day, standing in line in this café, I knew my energy was off. I was feeling resistant about the things I know to be true about how to ground myself and my family and the way I was going about my busy American life. I was not in alignment. I thank my lucky stars that I had enough presence of mind to put the distraction aside for a moment and just step into my day. Elena Salazar is a shaman. She is an energy healer and she was behind me in that line that day.
This was not a coincidence. The week before we met, I checked a book out from the library by Donna Eden about aligning energy. The day before we met, I wrote in my journal, “I am afraid if I fully arrive here, completely land here in this place, this country I call home, then I won’t be nomadic anymore and that feels like an ending.” She told me she apprenticed as a shaman in Peru and my husband asked her how she transitioned from her time living in Peru to living in California, and eventually Washington State and she said, “I had to call myself here.”
Everything clicked with those six words: I have to call myself here! Clarity washed over me that I haven’t felt since landing in the USA. We have fragmented ourselves and left pieces of ourselves in 30+ countries over the past 6 years. Have you ever come home from vacation and felt like you weren’t really home yet? Like some part of you was still wherever it was you traveled too? It is not a bad thing, but it is a process and one we hadn’t recognized until that moment because we were so busy doing everything on our lists. The irony is the one thing that needed our attention would make ‘doing’ so much easier and more meaningful, but we couldn’t see it because we were too busy. We needed to invite the parts of our hearts we left all over this beautiful globe to come home. We were afraid if we completely landed, we would never again wander but Elena said the opposite is true. She explained that we needed to be whole here and now, in order to have the momentum to begin again. Whether that meant staying or going, we knew it wouldn’t be clear until we fully arrived.
So, the process began of pulling all those fragments of ourselves to where we are now living in Washington State. Every time any of us had thought of ourselves somewhere else, we made a quiet invitation for that part of ourselves to come home, by quietly saying, “I need you here now.” The results of that reunion were almost immediate in terms of our clarity about our future and our happiness in the present. Gone were the distracted ramblings of the family in reverse culture shock after wandering for six years as nomads. The beautiful thing is this ability to call oneself home works for any distraction, travel, work, school, relationships. It is a way to tell oneself to return to the moment and that always leads to greater presence and therefore clarity.
The very next day, after meeting Elena, the school the kids attend announced that Peru was the International Expedition location for 2020. I had the chills. How could this be the very same country where Elena apprenticed and returns each year? A month later all three kids were accepted to go on expeditions to Peru and Mexico. This month, we are apart but not fragmented, not yet anyway, although I anticipate this is another one of those practices that are never done and have no finish line. It is a continuous journey of spreading ourselves thin and then gathering our whole selves once again. Whatever your process is, whether it be prayer, song, quiet meditation, or cultural rituals, what matters is the awareness of when it is a time to spread one’s wings and when it is time to ground oneself and collect all the pieces.
Today our family is stretched across all of the Americas.
Ron (and I) stand on the North American Continent.
Bianca stands in Baja, Mexico with the grey whales in Central America.
Max and Henry are in the Sacred Valley in Peru on the South American Continent.
Because we were able to fully call ourselves home, gather strength, and steady our feet beneath us, our definition of America has expanded this month to include all the Americas. While I anxiously anticipate having the kids under my wing again, I know for certain these “flights” would not have been possible without a very intentional homecoming that had nothing to do with landing and everything to do with arriving.
As Rumi so beautifully articulates, “Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds wings.”
Photos from South and Central America courtesy of Explorations Academy.