Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Return: Rediscovering Home

“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
                                       --Charles Dickens

People tell me that that have enjoyed following the tales of my travels, and I am glad that my reports afforded them some pleasure. I have cured myself at least temporarily of severe museum deprivation after visiting so many marvelous museums in Guanajuato, Puebla, Oaxaca, La Paz and Ensenada.
Japanese quince and white flowers of  mystery

I certainly refreshed my imagination with new vistas, music, architectures and colors. I took in the astonishing beauty of the brown people of Mexico, and was touched by their warm, courteous ways.  How mystifying and delightful it was to have my ears and heart saturated with the Spanish language, so eloquently suited for poetry and romance.

I had memorable meals of new foods, sometimes pushed myself out beyond what was comfortable and met some new friends along the way.

A flood of forsythias

As I have probably said at least once, I am not one of those glamorous gypsies who is always poised to head out on some new travel adventure. My own travels are mainly of an inner nature.

When I say that to people, some of them look at me quite quizzically, wondering what in the world I mean. In the US, we are not a culture that elevates the inner life. Ah well.

Having tasted the expat fantasy and found it was not for me right now, here I am again in the town I sometimes call Ashlantis, where I have lived most of the time since 1977.

Ashland, Oregon is a place of much beauty and deep community connection, a place ornamented with artists, healers and real estate agents. Property values are high, white is the primary skin color, and for such a small town, there is plenty of culture, punctuated with a bit of pretentiousness at times.

A photo of the Rogue Valley by Penny Roberts

With close to 40 years' experience living here, I have witnessed a great deal of change. I have lived on a great many streets. I have many longtime friends. There are people and places about which I have definite opinions.
I have decided that it would be enjoyable and good to look at Ashland as if I were newly arrived. To appreciate it in the way a visitor does. To take a fresh look at the place and at the people I meet, and as much as possible, to engage the kind of openness and curiosity that I had while traveling, and do that right here in the home place.

In the Midst of Real Life: The Heart's Calling

Fortunate me. I have been welcomed into the large, comfortable home of a woman around my age, who has lived in the home for 30 years. She is a gregarious, warm, generous person who loves kids and loves to travel.

My new abode is up in the hills, near a big nature preserve and close to many hiking trails. My room is airy and spacious with a high ceiling and a big window that looks out onto pines, willows and manzanita. Stairs lead up to a small sitting area. The carpeting is confederate blue. My bed has a skylight over it and if I want, I can lie there and look at the clouds or the stars. There's a deck right outside my door. The whole house is welcoming and relaxed. It's a very good place to land.

Four months of travel gave me the opportunity to air out and in the process I discovered afresh what is really important to me. My spiritual path. Being close to my spiritual community. Creativity. Art.

I am a woman who from youth has always settled down in the midst of a community of artists, and here I am.  Hallelujah.

If you are a romantic fool like me, you know what it means to go to extremes following your passions.

Perhaps that is what it takes to shake things loose at times.

Sage's Play Full Voice Revival

Before I left for Mexico in late October, I had sold my house and car and sold or given away most of my belongings. I was convinced I was Finished and Done with Everything. Everything!

I closed my Sage's Play website down, closed the Sage's Play bank account and disconnected from the fiscal sponsorship that had allowed me to receive tax-deductible donations for creative aging projects.

Now I discover it all afresh, as I  I return to the work I believed I was done with it for good.  I am in the energy of revival, and in the gospel spirit, that can be a powerful thing.

I am working on creating a one-woman show featuring a juicy collection of some of the songs from our musical revue A New Wrinkle. I also plan to develop some online courses based on themes and issues from my book Songs of the Inner Life. (Check out the link for more about the book.) I'll be talking more about these projects here, and also in my long-resting newsletter, which I will be reviving as well.

As Mr. Fred Rogers points out, kindness is the way to ultimate success, and of course that includes being kind to oneself.  I find it interesting and a bit amusing to reflect on some of the ways that I learn and grow. It is all just fine.

Older and Wiser

As I've reported in the past, scientists are starting to get a handle on what has been known for centuries. In the past 10 years, researchers have been discovering more and more about the remarkable integrative and altruistic capabilities of the older brain. There was a good article in the New York Times recently that reported on some current research in that area. Their headline was Older Really Can Mean Wiser. (Speaking of no-brainers, duh.) You may find the article interesting.

 So here's to spring, to home, to creativity and playfulness and to embracing aging with resilience and the deeper knowing that comes from having lived quite awhile.

P.S. I have a Sage's Play page on Facebook, in case you would like to connect with what I post there.