Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

To Belong to Your Life


“There is only one life

you can call your own

and a thousand others

you can call by any name you want.”



To belong to your life is the common thread that weaves its way through all of humanity.  There are those who carry this theme outwardly through their lives and their work, such as poets, artists, healers, spiritual masters, humble teachers, and other mindful, benevolent beings.  We all, though, have a need to belong to our lives whether we do it in such an outward way or not.

This need in us to belong to something or some place or someone is born with us the day we enter this world.  For our very survival we must belong to our mother’s; newborns turn their heads to the scent of their moms opening their mouths and rooting their beings to the true north that will sustain them until old enough and strong enough to survive in this world.  A baby which has food, shelter and clothing, but lacks love, will either wither or die, failing to thrive, or live in a perpetual state of uncertainty and panic, always seeking to fulfill an unmet need.  No doubt some of our worst criminals, aggressors against society, were neglected and deprived of love and warmth and the generosity of spirit at birth and throughout childhood. 

Yesterday was our beloved national holiday, July 4th, a testament to real Americana.  Hot dogs, beer, family picnic, swimming, fireworks and bonfire at the day’s end.  As the sun set and night fell upon our beloved celebration of all things American and free and true, with the last light of the day fading into the dark sky, a fire was lit on the beach of driftwood carried ashore by the winter waves, providing the backlighting for the children sitting along the beach wall.  All their little bodies perfectly silhouetted as they made memories in their minds that would imprint upon them for years to come.  They would remember in the cells and fibers of their beings the way this day smelled, sounded, looked; the fire a culmination of the day of friends and family that would be a signature on their hearts for always. 

These days are a part of the patchwork of the quilt of life we piece together as we find touchstones of belonging to our lifetime.  Just as the other night while I first lay in my bed alone after a long, full summer day, I was reminded in a very visceral way of my childhood bedroom and the way it felt sleeping there.  The way the moon on a hot summer night would peek in my bedroom window as it rose in the night sky and the soft touch of the night air breathing across my skin, cooling my young body.

I was transported back, if only for a few moments, smelling and sensing my childhood all across the surface of my body, my family home, my small bedroom, and the way it felt at night refreshing me, sealing me off from the turbulence that lay outside my bedroom door.  The wind and moon always had a way of transporting me not away but within my body and reducing the inner turmoil if only until the next morning.

These are not so much memories we call up to transport us from our present situation but spontaneous sensory, cellular reminders that take us into the center of all the life we have lived, all the places we have belonged.  They will continue until the life in us has gone out adding patches to our life’s quilt, a testament that we do indeed belong to our life.

(Quote from ALL THE TRUE VOWS, Collection of Poems by David Whyte from THE HOUSE of BELONGING)


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