Home. This home. Our home for a time. A year ago felt like another’s home but sweetly called us to make it our own. It bore the promise of life anew. Alas, we discover wherever we go, there we are. We bring all parts with us to anything new...the good, the bad, the ugly. The backdrop has changed but the foreground looks and feels distinctly familiar. I think the same will hold true for that magical place we will travel to when we exit these bodies in search of what lays beyond. For a moment the newness will shock us into ultra alertness. Then we will realize it all looks and feels familiar. It is tempting to believe that being liberated from the bad and the ugly would be something desirable. Yet we so value our freedom to make choices, the same kinds of choices that brought us to where we stand right now. It is a benevolent gift to be given the freedom to choose the same or something different. This home we call The Nurturing Hearth carries our energy. It is becoming a reflection of those of us who take up residence here and of the visitors and guests who leave their indelible mark. Each time we change, the reflection looking back changes. Each time we make a change to it, the very difference transforms us into something new as well. Home.
Quite a few domain names were considered before settling on slowandsimpleliving. It won out for the depth and breadth of things it allows me to write about and the lifestyle choices it anchors me to. I have wanted to launch this website and blog for quite some time but each attempt to begin was met with my own internal confusion and indecision. I have been a little hard on myself for the "slowness" of the process and felt that surely I should be able to just whip this thing together. In my prior life as a priest I was accustomed to asking a question in meditation, quieting enough to receive an answer and stepping out on it promptly and without hesitation because that is how I was taught. I can't say that I was always 100% on board with the forward movement but, for the most part, I did what was asked of me as the consequences of doing otherwise bore too high a cost on many fronts. While there was much to be learned and gained from moving ahead swiftly, the neglect of the 5% of me that was not fully on board has come back to haunt me in ways I will revisit another time. The process I have been in since leaving my life as a priest serving a spiritual community and embracing my role as spouse, mother and "ordinary person" has been a very organic one. It has been a slower process of "feeling" my way forward each step of the way. With each stride the landscape and horizon shift just enough that the next step of the journey reveals itself naturally. In contemplating this it occurs to me that the process I have been engaged in is one of "re-branding". Before this transition, my primary self-identification was my priesthood. It defined who I was and was a statement to the world around me about what was most important and central in my life. The role of spouse, mother, therapist, adventurer came secondary and tertiary to that role. Being a priest was far more than a "role", it was a deep internal conviction about my life's purpose. From the clothing I wore to the rituals I practiced to the lifestyle I lived, I embodied this role with my whole being. It defined me and informed every aspect of my existence. Since doffing the clerics and leaving my active ministry behind, I have painstakingly tried to figure out who I am all over again and what my life is all about now. The roles of spouse, mother, sister, friend, employee, manager are fairly straightforward as they all carry with them a certain parameter of activities and responsibilities...but those roles do not define me...they are not who I am. Yes, I am all of them but so much more...as is true for everyone. My priesthood is still very much alive in a much more interior sort of way. It is what drives me at my core. It is a deep internal commitment to know what truly makes my heart sing and to do that in spite of whatever obstacles I might encounter along the way. In order to discover what makes my heart sing, I had leave that life behind me...a life and a role I never dreamed that I would leave. This deep internal commitment prompted me to change course, slow down and pay closer attention to the sacramental nature of the ordinary moments in my life with my husband, daughters and with myself. While certain aspects of that prior life were easy to let go of, much about it has been gut wrenching and hard. Walking around in clerics and a cross the size of a Madonna crucifix was a rare opportunity that I was blessed to have. It made me squeamish at times for all the assumptions people made about what it meant that I would wear such attire. It prompted stares and a certain flavor of conversation which only that kind of outfit could. It forced out the small talk and allowed me the chance to connect with people on the deepest level...for better or for worse. It forced me to get clear about what I knew to be true from my own internal experiences and what I was willing to stand on. In an odd sort of way, leaving and embracing a slower simpler life has done much the same. "Re-branding" feels like taking the gems of the original product and recreating the package through which the product finds its way into the world. In an odd sort of way, as I discover myself emerging on the other side of this crazy time of transition, that is just what I feel I have done.
Our pattern is so painfully familiar. I disrespect your need for closeness and sleep. You pull away. I reach out in attempt to find you but nothing is there...you have retreated into the safe confines of your shell. I feel the sting of your absence and am left feeling alone as a result. Ouch. I don’t know how to find you again...what I need to regain your attention or favor. I heed the call for time and patience. I rediscover the need for self love and the capacity to love selflessly that emerges from that simple yet strangely challenging and powerful act. I find the courage to lean in when my impulse is to run away. You emerge to meet me there.
Something in the way she moves reminds me of what it felt like to love movement for its own sake. It’s that feeling I perceive she has that drew me back to the beam, bike, boat, board, boulder over and over again a thousand times and more. She twists, turns, swings, rolls, flies as if one with the air surrounding her. She yearns to return to like movements with fervor and persistence. Learning is a by product of repetition but not the motivator by any stretch. The simple joy of movement compels her to stay with it. What would our world look like if we were each given space, freedom, support in finding our own rhythm...discovering the kind of movement that feels right...that allows us to move in perfect unison with its pulsation? What if all life forms were allowed this freedom? Watching her move makes me ponder the awe of being in a world that moves thus. I think this is the image that the Divine holds hope for.
Longings stir under cover of night in spaces that are dark and quiet. The impulse to create churns in the depths of our being where the mind is inactive and cannot interfere with Life reproducing Itself. Melody, poetry, architectural lines, paint strokes, babies...bubble to the surface of our awareness and convince us of their need to exist. We either numb to their sound, hear and suppress, or claim the voice as our own and label the creation "mine". Oh to listen, receive, give way to the birth of a word, an idea, a visual display of splendor, the sound of angels. Creativity is at our core. It is the flowing and flowering impulse that unites us all. It has the power to blend colors, dissolve boundaries. Creativity is gifted to us upon our arrival here. What we do with it is our gift in return...to the Giver...to one another. What we do with this gift may very well determine our survival as a species on this planet. Please help us, your creation, turn toward You, oh benevolent Creator this all powerful generating force that is the birthright of humanity yet a power we ourselves cannot possess. Help me open to your flow within me to be a conduit through which Your creation can emerge in whatever form or capacity You desire. Thank You Almighty One...Father and Mother, Generator of all.
I'm Kelly Isabelle.
Full-time workin' mama & spouse aspiring to live a slowly paced, sustainably minded, creatively expressed, clutter-free life shared with kindred folk.