You have made a journey of more than fourteen billion years to get here.
Held deep within you, there exists a dream you long to live before your time here is over.
Against this backdrop, the idea of our lives being about finding some forty hour a week employment with some double-glazing, favourite TV Soaps or film, and an annual dream to get away from it all until we retire appears a little myopic.
So what is the change you want to make in the world?
It doesn’t have to be huge but it may be the thing which makes someone’s life better – it’s always about people.
We’ve been searching for ways which make it possible to live with a rhythm of belonging and longing, intimacy and exploration. John O’Donohue offers four characters for our searching: native and neighbour, wanderer and stranger.*
Questions like these come to mind: Who do I see as being a native where I am and what do they have to teach me? How and where do I feel and know myself to be a native, and how do these help me to belong in a good way? What do I feel to be neighbourliness and where and to whom am I able to share these things? Who is making themselves available to me and others as a neighbour? Who are those who wander through my life bringing things from elsewhere? Where do I have a hankering to, whether geographically, intellectually, or as an activity? Who is a stranger to me whom I can get to know? Who and where am I a stranger and what do I learn through these experience?
There are plenty more questions suggested by these four characters, helping us to belong AND to explore.
Some of us hide from intimacy: we fear being rejected again. Others of us hide from exploration because we fear failure or worse.
There’s no denying, belonging and longing both carry pain for us – everything of worth and value does – but as natives and neighbours, as wanderers and strangers, we can hall one another through the pain,
‘When you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something scarce, something others won’t do.’*
And something which may never be repeated.