It’s the 2nd November and I’m sitting in my apartment, once again surrounded by packing boxes preparing for yet another move into the unknown. Luckily, I’ve simplified my belongings so much over the last years that packing up is not such a big deal.
When I first moved back to my birth town in the North West of England after ten years living in London, I thought that this was it. I was so happy to be back here and couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave. And I remember so clearly the joy and excitement I felt moving into my new apartment here four years ago.
But as time has moved on so have I and now I can see how coming back here was just the next step in my life’s journey and now it’s time for the next step again.
Over the last few years, longings that started out as small whispers have become almost desperate cries from within.
These days, when I go for a walk to the cemetery or anywhere in nature, I almost can’t bear to return home; I feel as though I want to stay outside forever. When I do return to the apartment I feel a kind of dense energy surround me and long to be out with the trees and plants again.
I long to grow my own food in a real way; to plant seeds in the ground and witness the miracle of the first green shoots pushing through the soil.
I long to wake to birdsong. I long for the peace and quiet of nature. I long to move with the natural rhythms of the Earth.
So much of what we humans have created no longer makes any sense to me. Is it any wonder that so many of us are addicted, depressed and anxious, living within systems that make no sense to the human heart?
Plants make sense to me. Birds make sense to me. Tending to and honouring the Earth makes sense to me. Living simply makes sense to me. Expressing my heart makes sense to me. And so this is the direction I point myself in now.
I know nothing about how the next steps will unfold or where I’ll end up. I had to begin, as I’ve always had to begin, with taking the first step before knowing what the next ones will be. That first step was selling my home.
Once the sale is completed, which I’m hoping will be before Christmas, but which is still in no way guaranteed, I don’t know exactly what I’ll do or where I’ll go. I may need to call upon the generosity of my parents yet again to take me in whilst I figure that out. (I feel terrible that I’m the daughter that can’t settle down!)
And with another national lockdown looming, there’s every chance that nothing will go according to plan.
The North West of England is my home but with the budget I’ll have after selling the apartment and paying off some debt, and the vision I have for buying a place with a little land, staying in this area is unlikely.
Still, I’m incredibly lucky and grateful that what I will have will be enough to begin this new dream in the right place. I’m aware of how fortunate that makes me and I hope I can use my good fortune to do something good for the Earth and for others. Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all on the list of possibilities!
2020 has turned many of our lives upside down, sometimes in very painful ways. It has offered opportunities to reflect on what really matters to us and how we want to spend our time and energy whilst we’re here.
I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote a little while ago, which some of you might already have read. I hope it sparks a little extra courage for whatever journey lies ahead for you.
Clear as a Bell
In the dark of the morning I hear
the guidance of my heart and I feel
the fear that comes for it asks me to part
with what I have known and what has known me
and I’m not certain I’m ready to be set free from
this comfort blanket that is my life
but the heart though quiet is clear as a bell
I must trust, I must follow, all will be well or maybe
not who can ever say but one thing is sure
certainty is no way to live
so I will trust, I will follow, I will honour the gift
of my quiet heart in the still morning air
to give it a chance seems only fair.
Love and courage,