From a very young age I have known 'both and' in many ways - but, music is the place where I feel it most frequently and keenly. The music that speaks to my heart most is when I can experience both sorrow and joy simultaneously.
There is a beautiful song composed by Stephen Paulus with lyrics written by Michael Dennis Brown. The song is The Road Home (https://youtu.be/R__Vk67p2Is). It perfectly captures the experience of longing, sorrow, and then sweet joy. Longing is in my DNA. It is a beautiful feeling. It urges me to seek for that experience where I feel whole again. My ancestors were exiled from their home. I can feel that exile and the longing for home. The road home has always beckoned me.
My life has been filled with wandering, seeking, and finding and then losing my way and beginning the journey over again. This is why the practice of yoga has been so important and transformative for me. It has also been the path that I have been able to consistently follow - without getting lost. I still feel the longing. I actually feel that the longing is what keeps me on this path. It is that impulse that returns me time and again to my meditation seat.
For many years, I thought that the longing was because I was far from my birthplace and my family of origin. As humans we leave home in search of something to fulfill us. And this is perfectly natural part of our maturation process. We must leave the safety of the familiar, experience the up-ending instability so that we move back towards stability. We need to experience longing to find our way home. For me, longing is not for a place but rather a deep, driving desire for wholeness restored:
Tell me, where is the road I can call my own
That I left, that I lost so long ago?
All these years I have wandered
Oh when will I know
There's a way, there's a road that will lead me home?
The second verse explores the impulse to return to wholeness and home. We all have (or will have) a moment in time where we feel an impulse, an urging to be restored to wholeness. It might come after tragedy, loss, trauma or even from the emptiness that makes us question 'is this all there is?':
After wind, after rain, when the dark is done.
As I wake from a dream, in the gold of day.
Through the air there's a calling from far away.
There's a voice I can hear that will lead me home.
For me, that voice that leads me is voice of Source. I know this voice. I need to be quiet to hear. I need to withdraw from the overloaded sensory experience of daily life and carve out intentional quiet time to strengthen the connection to Source. Through a devoted practice, I have cultivated a rich relationship with Source. I know the difference between my ego-driven impulse and those that come from the unconditional love of Source. I know that I can follow the urgings with complete trust and all will be well.
In the last verse, my direct experience of this connection to the Source is captured:
Rise up, follow me, come away, is the call.
With the love in your heart as the only song;
There is no such beauty as where you belong:
Rise up, follow me, I will lead you home.
There is no such beauty as where you belong. I feel this line. It fills me with a sense of wonder and awe. I feel this when I walk in nature. I feel this when I see the face of someone I love. I feel this in the darkness of the early morning before the stirrings begin. It is true - this sense of belonging is so beautiful and unshakeable. There is a steadiness in this beauty. A sure-ness.
I have learned that it is not a place that is home. Home is when I am established in relationship with Source - with the Inner Teacher, the Inner Healer, the Inner Guide. I am always home.
For those of you who have shared yourselves with me at a yoga class, you may recall that I end each of my yoga classes by encouraging the participants to acknowledge their Inner Teacher, Inner Healer, Inner Guide. My deepest desire is that others will experience this sense of being home. Of being whole.
Peace and blessings, my dear ones.