Monday, January 25, 2010

A ROOM OF HER OWN ~ From Where I Sit ~ Being Present


Many years ago, I fell in love with the work of Joan Chittister, OSB. She is an outspoken gal who doesn't mince words. You know exactly where she stands on any number of issues. Her column in the National Catholic Reporter, in fact, is titled, "From Where I Stand."

She's inspired me to reconsider the course and future of this blog. I created it last summer. At the time, I hoped to use it as a "teaching tool," to share what I know; what I've learned from wise others along the way. It's now mid-winter and in the spirit of reflection, I'm feeling change is in order.

I've made a decision. I'm going to do something here that I have wonderful intentions for but never seem to get around to ~ journal ~ on a regular basis. To simply share what is happening with me. What I'm noticing. What I'm learning personally. Where I'm rising and falling, drifting. The view from where I sit.  

I hope you will continue to join me. Though, to honor my new creative projects (they need room of their own to breathe!), I'll likely be posting just one day a week. I also hope you will continue to share with me how your spiritual journey is unfolding—how YOU are rising, falling, drifting.

Here goes. I begin ... 

I've been traveling. Gone from the "Nest" for 4 days, which often seems like a lifetime to me to be away from my beloved husband. Away from the silence I cherish. Away from the Bay whose depths hold my heart.

And when I travel, offering programs and spiritual counsel, even though I mightily love what I do, a big part of me is here ... on the couch, gazing at the gray/green liquid, listening to ambient music, or just sitting in the silence. Candle aglow. Yes, this is my life and I love it so. I feel so blessed to do what I do and live in a place of great beauty. Creativity flourishes in this place.

But I miss it terribly when I am gone. Sometimes I even feel a little sickly when I am away for too long. When I drive back home and can finally see the water, I feel like I can breathe again. I literally feel my heart open a little wider just by catching the view.

So I have this tug and pull in me. I love what I do (when I travel/work) and I love being home. Do you ever feel like this?

A little voice inside of me says I "should" be happy wherever I am. That if I was a completely evolved woman I would be fully present wherever I find myself. I'd carry my home with me wherever I go.

I'd be a turtle woman.

I'd be content wherever my sturdy legs took me. After all, I actually DO have everything I need to be perfectly well, happy, and whole tucked right inside of me—wherever I go.

But sometimes I forget. I get spiritual amnesia, forget to use my tools, and wallow a little in "missing-ness." Bask a bit in not being absolutely fine where I find myself.

So, me and my life are a work in progress. I have the intention to be very present wherever I am—and actually most of the time I am. But I never claimed to be perfect, nor would I want to be.

It's a blessing to be a human being in this body with all these lessons to learn. Perhaps it is even a blessing to forget, because in the remembering we fall back into the arms of gratitude for this life we have been given—wherever we find ourselves.

I hope you are happy today, wherever you are.

And, as always, I welcome your thoughts ... 

(Image, "Turtle Woman Interrupted" by Jennifer Long courtesy of


What I'm reading: Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life by Sylvia Boorstein

What I'm listening to: Soundtrack from "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" by Peter Kater. You can also view the trailer for this film there.


LoveCompanion said...

Dearest Jan,
I adore your writings and am so giggled I mean honored --both that you are going to be sharing here of your heart's journey!

I truly believe that as women this is the kind of connecting we need and seek. In hearing the heart stories of one another as women we come alive from the inside out and the pieces of contentment come together into a new boldness of spirit and adventure.

Mind you we are to all share the authentic voice, sacred fragments as we find it. I adore sharing where the heart is as we travel these distinctive lands.

Yes, I desire a room of my own as well, especially lately. I feel that I am a turtle woman actually, but I am being asked to come out and play more, and to birth through authenticity. It is thrilling and exhausting (the learning and lessons) but I want to struggle this battle because it is so divine!

I am learning what it means as a bird learning of its origin and singing a new song, and looking back on the vintage cage.

As I love myself and welcome in the new, I'm realizing that I will always be a home body, it's just where I am so happy and free, but I know that I can learn to be a hostess where I go too. It's stretching us to open our doors more and share the wealth we know at home daily. This is beautiful!

I appreciate you so much, Jan and look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Davine said...

I am looking forward to joining you on your journey. I think I have always been a "Turtle Woman" fitting in and feeling at home where ever I am. But at the moment caring for my Dad and sort of being confined to my Eltham home I sometimes feel very restless.

Kel said...

what a lovely development Jan - weekly posts sharing the view from where you sit sounds like a sustainable tempo
having read your book, where you guide us to the wisdom of other holy women, the personal offering of your own deep wisdom here will be one I shall look forward to

Jan said...

Thanks everyone for joining me on this new journey! May we all travel togther well!

Love your metaphor of the bird in and out of the vintage cage, though the cage is not a negative thing but a lovely sanctuary of origin and becoming. :-) Your newfound sense of freedom (both inner and outer) is wonderful to hear. And the word "hospitality" really resonates with me. May all we be more hospitable wherever we are...

Oh, another turtle woman. I love it. I do hope that even in the caretaking of your dad you are finding soulful time for you. Perhaps in the future there will be adventures in store for you again. Let's hope...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jan .. that sounds lovely - just to hear your news and be with you in the ambience you create from your words.

I'm feeling somewhat tied now - it's three years in a couple of weeks and I've never not been able to get up and go .. I love my home, but being single I love being out and about with friends - and having lived abroad - my friends be scattered (I suspect with my blogging friends very much scattered now!) day I'll catch up again, and as with old friends and new ones time doesn't change us ..

Looking forward to more journaling news .. enjoy being home and the rise and fall of the tide ..

PS - looks like I'll be a month behind! better late than never ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Anonymous said...

It will be such a joy to follow you through your blog/journal. I think it a very human thing: we want to be in the world, doing, and then we need to go within, being. I feel very much like that. There's no place like home but it's nice to leave it too.
Love to you!

Jan said...

Blessings! Wherever you are you seem to be someone who feels at home in their world. May your days be filled with family and friends, may your nights be filled with dreams of more friends and travel. Lovely thought. The day will come for you, I am sure.

Jan said...

I agree. It feels to me much like tension we often experience between being and doing...until we get to the point when we realize that even that is all the same. Simply life - without resistance. :-) May we all live with greater ease.

Lisa (Mommy Mystic) said...

Jan, I like this idea of journaling here. I have often thought of starting a blog for this myself, more along the lines of the personal blogs I visit, many by mothers especially, that really resonate with me. But I felt I just don't have time for two blogs. So I appreciate you doing this here...
As for your thoughts today, I do know this feeling exactly! And although I know what you mean about knowing that your peace is always with you, that you are always at peace wherever you are, and wanting to always feel that way, I also think it is also a great blessing that you have a physical place that is such a 'heart-home' for you...I do think we each energetically resonate with different places, so this is lovely!

Carolynn said...

I'm honoured to sit with you & listen to your musings. I've noticed a lot of us, have been feeling a pull toward change and quiet reflection. It's certainly been true for me.

I have always been one who can settle in and feel at home wherever I am.

However, I'm facing a new challenge with my new relationship because his home is very different from what I've worked to create in my life. It will be interesting to see how (or IF) I'm able to adapt to what has previously represented chaos and distress for me.

Could this be another life lesson...? *sigh*


Jan said...

I am glad that you are able to be at home pretty much wherever you are. I am not a turtle woman yet! (LOL) It does sound as if you will have to listen deeply to if this new "room" supports your energy or not. :-) With a new relationship, there always seems to be that period early on where we notice what soothes our soul or does not honor it. I do wish you the best of it. Good to know that you are "on alert."

Sharon said...

Jan, I love this idea! I look forward to seeing the view from where you sit. This is the type of sharing I envision in a community of women, which is what I find when I visit here.

Jan said...

Glad you will be with me on this next leg of the journey. Just sitting and noticing and reflecting is very good for me--especially taking the next step in writing about it. It helps lead me inward which helps give birth to those books! Plus keeps me clear about my process.

I just found the image of the woman with feet up overlooking the water. I couldn't resist making her my "logo" right now. It's a pretty accurate portrayal of how I sit and what I do see from where I am! Blessings!