"What do you DO in your everyday is what makes a life, not what house you happen to inhabit? A home is a place to come back to when you've been away, it's a place to invite your tribe in, it's a place of solitude and of rest and it's certainly more than bricks and mortar isn't it?"
If you've been following my Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that I had a fabulous time in Germany and Austria over the past few weeks but one thing that became very clear was a sense of 'home'. It's a theme that comes up regularly in my life, see here. I became aware of being somewhere quite literally foreign to my sense of belonging and yet, I felt completely at home on the road on my own. Which made me wonder, what is home? Is it a place or a feeling? Is it a connection to a community or a physical building? What is it which gives us such a strong emotional attachment to 'home'?
I accidently referred to my birthplace (Tasmania) as 'home' during my trip away and it got me thinking about what it means to me. I'm currently reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and it really puts into focus our place as human beings in the world. Traditional societies lived where food was plentiful or could be harvested but today why do we choose to live where we do? Why do we feel the need to move from one place to another? Why do some people never leave the place they were born? And is 'home' simply a contrived place in our species' active imaginations?
I'm constantly fascinated by those television programmes which show wealthy Baby Boomers moving to the countryside or another country and being obsessed with the house that they buy, but isn't a home more than the structure that you live in? What do you DO in your everyday is what makes a life, not what house you happen to inhabit? A home is a place to come back to when you've been away, it's a place to invite your tribe in, it's a place of solitude and of rest and it's certainly more than bricks and mortar isn't it?
I've spent my entire life looking for a place to call home and for a brief time in 2008-2014, I had it - I had a safe home to live in, a lovely community, close to family and all the services I could possibly need - and I let it go. Whatever it is within me that drives me to keep moving to new places, to new adventures, to a life full of variety rather than stability may be that primitive hunting and gathering instinct that humans stopped (in most humans) following with the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago. It could be a behaviour learned from moving away from my "tribe" at 4 years old and be residual trauma from that time, but it might also be a sense of not feeling at home within myself, within my life.
When I was away, without thought of ties to my everyday life to my kids, my partner, my job, my life - the things that seem to define me at the moment - I felt more like myself than I have in a long time, I felt at home with me, I felt aligned with the Universe, or whatever you want to call it, and I felt a sense of purpose in just being me in the moment. Travelling does more than create great images and memories, we can live in a way that is not contrived in a work-eat-sleep-repeat social slavery routine, there's a real sense of freedom with being on the road and being disconnected from societal expectations and lives - we get to define it ourselves. And in that space, while I was a long way away from my physical house that I live in, I felt, for just a brief time, at home within myself. So now, I have the excitement (or challenge) of finding that sense of home in my daily life, so my whole life feels like an adventure safely in the home that is me.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
"Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? ....What if it is learned consciousness?"
I've been contemplating the idea of duality lately and feeling it in both my internal and external worlds. When I look at the world around us, it seems that politics has become polarised into two different camps - the left and the right - and neither can see the other's point of view. In-fact we have lost the ability to have rational discussions on social media about the issues that affect us all. All mature dialogue has disintegrated into name-calling and physical fighting (even in our leaders) - where has our intellectual and sophisticated society gone?
The world feels polarised and our behaviours are becoming more and more irrational. There's a saying that talks about the left and right hand that don't know what each other is doing, but what's more important is acknowledging that we are more than just hands; we are whole and complete sentient beings capable of both great evil and enormous love and compassion with these hands. Both of those extremes exist within all of us at any given time.
But so do I, I feel polarised within myself. And if I'm feeling it, I imagine that many other people are feeling the same.
The idea of duality is a fairly recent one in human history. The first known written story/poem/epic ever written was the story of Gilgamesh from about 3000BCE. It was the very first written narrative to record combat between good and evil. From there our ideas in stories evolved to always include this dualism - light/dark, Isis/Osiris, God/The Devil. By the 5th Century CE the theology of the Devil was firmly established in our psyche. In more recent times, I too have been caught up in the Shiva/Shakti, masculine/feminine dualities of our beings.
The word duality comes from late-middle English meaning having a twofold character also shows contrast. But what existed prior to this? If this was the first concept of evil what existed before?
Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? What if we are in this internal battle with ourselves and others that simply is an illusion? What if duality doesn't exist as a part of the human condition? What if it is learned consciousness?
I feel this frustration that arises within me and I feel torn by this polarising force that just doesn't feel right for me. Maybe I'm living in this utopian world where I only want to see peace in and around me. But I do sense this duality within ourselves and the world coming to an end - we are coming to a point of conflict where the duality will cease to exist in its current form. Donald Trump, for all his flaws, has unconsciously highlighted this incredible duality that exists both within us and in our world and that's probably his purpose for being.
And yet, the solution is simple: to surrender the duality and bring the polarisation of each hand and into the place of the heart, the centre of all beings. The place that is love. It begins with us centering into love.
© Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"In the movie Chocolat, Vianne travels from place to place until she decides that the village is worth staying in, a place where she felt welcomed, but more-so a place where she can meaningfully contribute to the community."
I've been reflecting lately on what "Home" is and I guess it's been a theme throughout my life. When I was in my teens, Australian rock band, Noiseworks had a song called "Home" and their lyrics spoke of not being able to find a place and a constant longing to find this ethereal place.
It resonated with me so much. It still does. It remains one of my favourite songs of all time. So I've spent much of my life seeking out this elusive "home". On the journey, I've been to some spectacularly beautiful places.
In 2011, I packed up my three children and with a four-wheel drive and camper trailer went on an adventure around Australia. I suppose in some way I was looking for this place to call home. I found it in Broome on Australia's remote North-West, the crystal blue water was my sanctuary every afternoon as I walked the Cable Beach and watched the sun go down. But the other thing that made Broome home was this intangible connection that I felt with the land and the people there.
Soon, I left Broome for a variety of reasons and moved to Perth where we have now moved three times in the five years we have lived here. I can't settle in this place. It just doesn't feel like home. I recently returned from five days away from Perth and I felt sick knowing that we weren't going home, but back to a house. So I question whether home is about the place or is it something deeper.
I am a seventh-generation Tasmanian and apart from Broome, my birthplace is the only other location that has truly resonated. But it's more than that. A home is just a place you live unless you have a community to belong to. With all our fancy houses and expensive possessions, what we are lacking is community and I feel that here, I don't feel a sense of community in the place that I live. Broome had a wonderful community and I feel right at home in my own birth-state around family and friends and the familiarity of community. Which made me wonder if home a place or is it something within us? In the movie Chocolat, Vianne travels from place to place until she decides that the village is worth staying in, a place where she felt welcomed, but more-so a place where she can meaningfully contribute to the community.
"Home" is greater than a place. It's a concept that is within us; a feeling of things being just right and that things are as they should be. I guess we can apply this same concept of belonging to relationships, jobs and other aspects of our lives. I think ultimately it's about trusting those inner nudges that we get that something is not quite right and being able to follow that and feeling at home within ourselves. Moving location, changing jobs, leaving relationships are just a way of trying to right this internal feeling of unease, when what we need to do in the first place is to trust that intuitive nudge that says "this is not right, this doesn't feel like home" and act on that.
May you find your home within you.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"In that time, I wrote lists of all the qualities I wanted in a partner, little did I know that what I should have done was written a list of all that I NEEDED. I had men come into my life in this time and I had convinced myself that they were exactly what I wanted, but they smelt my desperation a mile away and thankfully they knew that they weren’t what I needed; they knew they couldn’t give me what I needed."
Valentine’s Day, you either love it or hate it, or indeed have a healthy cynicism about it which I completely support. Valentine’s Day started as a remembrance to Christian martyrs and involved violence and bloodshed and women being hit by “hides of animals”, it had nothing at all to do with what we equate to romantic love. It has turned into a mass marketing juggernaut which taps into our insecurities about our relationship and indeed our social expectations to have one, when in reality maybe we don’t actually need a relationship in our life right now.
For 14 years, I was one of those people dreading the inevitable marketing nonsense that comes up around February each year which brings up feelings of rejection, dejection and hopelessness about being a single person when deep down we just know what an amazing person that we are if only someone would just give us a chance.
I spent so much time and energy lamenting my single status, thinking that something was fundamentally wrong with me, when what I should have been appreciating exactly where I was; able to create time for me, my kids, my career and my creative projects. That time of being single was a gift, not a punishment. That time was exactly what I NEEDED to heal my previous relationship, to do the inner work on myself and to parent how I wanted without the complications that come with step-parenting and blended families.
In that time, I wrote lists of all the qualities I wanted in a partner, little did I know that what I should have done was written a list of all that I NEEDED. I had men come into my life in this time and I had convinced myself that they were exactly what I wanted, but they smelt my desperation a mile away and thankfully they knew that they weren’t what I needed; they knew they couldn’t give me what I needed.
If you read back over my blogs you’ll see that I had gotten to a point where I had surrendered to single life. I accepted that I was okay with or without a partner, I had accepted the rejection to a point where I no longer took it personally. And then Kind Man arrived. You can read about it here.
Had I known, I should have asked for someone who loved and accepted me just as I am.
Because that’s ultimately what I needed.
So before you go and write down all the things in a potential partner that you want. Stop, pause and ask yourself what do you NEED at this time? Do you actually NEED a person in your life?
Do you need time on your own to grieve a previous relationship?
Do you need a person to support you with kids?
Do you need a person who is honest? Trustworthy? Kind?
Do you need someone who is good with money? Who is flexible in their sexuality?
Do you need someone who accepts your family?
Do you need a friend who is also your lover, adventure buddy and cheerleader? Or do you just need a sex with benefits sort of friend?
Do you need someone to party with? Have children with? Chill with?
Go through all areas: sexuality, family (yours and extended), career, time, love languages, financial, dreams/goals, values. It’s in narrowing down what you need that really makes it easy to find someone who fits you and more importantly accepts you.
To be honest, I didn’t have electric chemistry with Kind Man when we met, like I did with GSM (gorgeous sexy man), but his kindness and patience opened my heart in a way that immediate electrical sexual charge never could have and that chemistry has just grown so much into an exquisite slow burn because I trust him. I trust him not to hurt me. He is just what I needed.
Sometimes just what we need, gives us exactly what we want.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2018
 . https://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day