Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Home is Where Your Feet Are

"Spring Break"
- blossoms in the wilderness -

It’s Spring Break and the desert region where I live is now filled with visitors and tourists who have come out here to enjoy the beautiful weather and walk among the flowers budding in the wilderness and springing up from desert sands.  We even have “traffic jams” on local streets and highways at this time of year and our population more than doubles.

On top of all this, all the “Snowbirds” are here in residence - not an aviary species but the people who have migrated here to escape the harsh winters of the east coast or moved down here from Canada. Lots of folks in this region only live here when the desert weather isn’t too brutally hot and then they go back home.

In a few months the visitors will be gone and so will all the “snowbirds,” then it will be very quiet once again.

The more I think about it, I very much like living in a region with so many “transient” neighbors. It helps me put some perspective on the impermanent nature of life and reminds me that all of us are always on a journey. In fact, even if we have lived in the same city or town and in the same house for all our lives, all of us are always “transients.”

I am sometimes asked if I am a permanent resident out here in the desert, and even though we do live here year-round, I am sometimes tempted to say, “No, I have no permanent address.”

I am reminded of a wisdom saying from Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh:

With every step I take, I arrive at my destination.
Home is where your feet are.

Buddhists wisely teach that all life is impermanent - from moment to moment everything changes, always becoming something else, and our time on earth eventually runs out for us all.  We find our deepest peace and greatest joy when we are able to embrace the place where we stand in the moment because life always happens in the moment.

I truly believe that “home is where your feet are.” And so I am always at home and yet always on a journey—such is the nature of life.

Episcopal priest and author, Barbara Brown Taylor, puts it this way:

Most of us spend so much time thinking about
where we have been or where we are supposed to go
that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are.
When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives,
the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say,
‘Here, I guess, since this is where I am.’

The next time someone asks me where I live, maybe I’ll just look at my feet and say, “Here I guess, since this is where I am.”

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