As a musician, artist, contemplative, theologian, and cultural explorer, I find a strange joy in grappling with the larger questions about life and existence. To me, this is the heart and soul of communications — exploring the dynamics of what it means to be human, how we connect and relate with one another, how we cultivate love and growth, and how we perceive ourselves in relation to the wider universe or the Divine. My reflections here are an attempt to capture moments of life — through a canvas of words, songs, images, and reflections — that I hope bring a deeper meaning into focus.
Earlier this week on one of those sunny afternoons, I found myself craving a walk outdoors in this very cemetery as I tried to make sense of a world gone sideways. Amid the news of death and sickness all around me, the economic plunges, canceled meetings and events, schools closures, emptier-than-usual stores and cafes, and people keeping plenty of “social distance” from one another in an effort to stem the spread of COVID19, I took a silent walk among the dead.
As the season of winter came into full view this month, I found myself quietly hunkered down in our new home, taking refuge from the cold, rainy days that had fallen upon us here in northern California. My normally outdoor-loving spirit that craves sunshine and fresh air was strangely content to snuggle up indoors with the lights turned down low and the constant burn of a balsam fir-scented candle beside me while I worked. Soft piano jazz streamed from speaker system for days on end. I had the heater running far more often than I want to admit. The lure of hibernation never felt so good.
What does it mean to be home, to feel at home, to have a home? I have thought a lot about the concept of home in recent months as I have sought, with the intensity of a scouting leader undertaking a harrowing expedition into unknown lands, to find a home of my own, of our own, in the Bay Area. Or perhaps more specifically, to find a house, a piece of land and a comfortable dwelling, that I and my husband could “forever” settle in and call our own.
I realize, whenever I look up to the mountains, to the trees and the sunshine, when I attend to the silent and not-so-silent natural world outside the boundaries of my self-contained body, new perspectives come to my mind. The swirl and sideways bends of the life that I inhabit almost seem to subside like calm winds after a storm. I am reminded that there is something beyond that which I perceive, a greater spiritual force at play in the world. And I am at the mercy of it.