Integration — Finding Home Along the Way
…or what it means to be a nomad and find “home” along the journey.
In the last month, my first as a nomad, I have explored Mexico, starting on the Pacific coast, and then moving inland, while having adventures and meeting my tribe along the way. I met many fellow adventurers along the way who have helped me navigate the physical landscape, as well as helping me experience myself in new ways.
After leaving Guadalajara (see previous post), I spent a week in San Miguel de Allende, perhaps the most magical town I experienced to date. This quaint town is one to which many expats flock from the US and Canada. Tourism is alive and well, and yet, for me, a magic was woven into the hustle and bustle. The moment I arrived, I felt a song in my heart and a lightness to my feet. Even though this was a new place for me to explore, somehow my feet understood the terrain and could navigate the streets effortlessly.
The first evening, I found my way to the Parroquia, or town center, just at twilight. Before me the central cathedral rose, a majestic sight, a gothic structure that rivals any Disney castle in magnificence and beauty. I had dinner plans with a new friend, Emily, who I had met on the bus ride to town.
The synchronicity of meeting a new friend that I could talk to about topics such as spirituality, creativity and angels — topics near to my heart and, in English no less — were tempered somewhat by the understanding that San Miguel is a hub for eclectic and creative people and that these types of meetings do happen in this town. Still, for me this was a synchronistic event, the ability to connect with a new friend who I met on the bus ride over to explore and enjoy this part of the journey with.
After having dinner with Emily, we went back through the town square, and this time I had another glimpse of the cathedral, this time all lit up against the darkness of the night sky. My heart swelled in my chest to see this amazing structure, dedicated, as the entire town is, to “San Miguel”, otherwise known as Archangel Michael. The cathedral was still open for just a few more minutes so we had the chance to go in and experience the magnificence inside- sculpture, paintings and other artwork adorning the walls and structure. This opportunity to see the cathedral, just as it was closing and without the crowds usually gathered here, felt like a special gift from the Universe. It felt like the arms of this town had opened wide and welcomed me into her loving embrace.
San Miguel was a symphony of sounds and colors with murals along ancient alleyways and a large arts complex on one side of town. My week coincided with Semana Santa, or “Holy Week” where reenactments of the death of Christ, along with numerous other rituals, precede Easter Sunday, which in Catholic tradition marks the rebirth of Jesus and beginning of new life.
This week in San Miguel de Allende I continued to experience the full immersion in another culture including food, language and rituals. The deep seated integration of Catholicism, with numerous rituals, alongside the expansive commercialism, creates an eclectic mix of expressions. The sweetness of the interactions with people mingled with the beginnings of weariness on my part.
I began to question “What is home?” After several weeks on the road, with no home to return to, it began to sink in that I didn’t know where home was, or what I would like home to be. I began to feel ungrounded , and so, upon leaving San Miguel de Allende, I began to question
Where is home- physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually?
Where do I rest and take stock of my life?
What activities comfort me?
Who do I want to spend my time with?
What inspires me?
These questions came with me to my final stop in Mexico, Mexico City. I arrived mid-week to the noises and commotions of a large city, so much a contrast to the gentler activity in San Miguel. I took the time to slow down and take stock of my needs and desires.
After four weeks in a foreign culture where the language, customs and ideals of the people around me are so new and different, I needed some time to integrate who I was before the journey to what I have learned along the way. I am finding that the best way for me to integrate new experiences is to get quiet, listen, and establish methods of reconnecting to the stillness within.
When I arrived in Mexico City, I took several day to go really slow, get a massage, and listen to my inner yearnings. From this place of stillness, these answers began to unfold:
Home is possible when I listen to my inner needs and practice gentleness when my inner needs don’t match with my previous expectations of what or where I think I should do or go.
I can give myself permission to sit with what is and re-group, and choose based on what I truly need in any situation. I can tune within to my inner world and center. From this place of centeredness, I can make choices that help me feel more at peace with the world around me.
Every experience is simply that- something to be tasted and explored. It is my choice what I want to keep and what I want to discard. There is no pre-conceived map. I get to choose the route, moment by moment.
In light of these insights, I chose to cut my trip in Mexico a bit short and return to the States for a while. I am still a nomad, yet choosing which soil nurtures me on this part of my journey.
And so what am I learning?
We are all travelers and nomads in many ways. We get to explore life in ways that bring us joy.
Home is possible when we are in tune with our heart. Finding our passions and relishing the magic of the moment is a lifelong exploration.
As I take time to listen to my heart, the answers show up — often in subtle and silent ways. I can trust that I am being guided aright.
And so, dear reader, I ask you- what inspires you to feel a deeper sense of home? What inspires your sense of magic on this day?
As my new friend Emily says, “It’s all about the Journey!”