Ah, February. The month of hearts and flowers. The month in which, if you do not have a perfect relationship, all things conspire to make you suicidal. As a freshman at Harvard, I once went to the campus health service psychiatrist to explain that I was so buried in sadness and hopelessness that I was afraid I might simply might collapse and die on the cobbled streets of Cambridge.
“I think I have depression,” I told him.
“No,” he said, “this isn’t depression, this is just February.”
He was wrong, of course (I was depressed as hell) but he was also right. The month of February can be a cold harsh slog for the heart. It can make you feel very much alone.
I have had many difficult Februaries in my life, but this—I am overjoyed to say—is not one of them. In fact, I often feel as though I’m five years old and having a wonderful dream. As a child I was obsessed with nature and animals. Now I wake up in the morning to see deer daintily stepping past my bedroom window, a host of feathery angels eating at the bird feeder I put up, and a bobcat hunting in the pasture just beyond the fence.
Of one thing I am certain: I do not deserve one tiny bit more happiness than any other human being. (Except maybe Stalin; Stalin didn’t deserve much.
I believe the reason I’ve been given so much joy is very simple. Fairly early in my life, after having one of those near-death experiences everyone talks about, I set out to live in a way that would bring me home to my true self. Whatever felt like peace, truth, and spiritual freedom, I would do. Whatever felt like captivity, suffocation, or injustice, I would not do. It really is that simple, though there are times when it is not at all easy. (I’ll be describing the exact procedures in my telecourse that starts February 5th.)
Many people take umbrage when someone sets out to find his or her spiritual home. If you embark on a similar journey, you should expect some people to be shocked, to be angry, to tell you you’re breaking the rules. That has certainly been my experience. However, the rewards are inexpressibly wonderful. Heading towards that inner home will take you places—both inside yourself and in the external world—which your heart will recognize as its native environment, even though you have never been there before. I would go so far as to say that this may be the purpose for human life; that we are set free into a lonely universe like homing pigeons meant to find our way back to joy.
This may sound odd, but I have something I call a “song angel.” Very often when I’m especially desperate for answers I will hear snatches of a song or poem I barely remember. If I Google the lyrics they always turn out to be precisely the answer I needed.
When I bought the little house in the big woods that is bringing me so much bliss, my horse whisperer friend Koelle also moved to the property—a necessary condition of the move, since I know as much about running a ranch as chipmunks know about calculus. (Interesting factoid: chipmunks spend their entire life hiding food, but have a memory span of only 3 minutes. This means that they are constantly searching for things they have hidden from themselves. This is why chipmunks are my spirit animal.) Just before Koelle moved to the property, I was on the computer and I suddenly developed the conviction that I needed to know the American Sign Language gesture for “home.” The way I Googled my request brought up a short video by a young man named Colby Moses who signed a song called This Is Home by the rock group Switchfoot. It was immediately clear to me that I should play this song to Koelle when she moved to the ranch. It felt perfect because not only had Koelle roamed the world learning her craft without ever having a real home base, but she was also having trouble with her ears and I knew there were days where she could barely hear at all.
So when Koelle moved into the ranch several months before I did, I gathered all our friends who had come to help with the move and showed them Colby Moses’s video. We all wept copiously. And that, I thought, was the end of that. But six weeks later, when Karen and I moved to the ranch and turned on our television to see if it wouldwork, guess what was playing on the TV? Oh, yes it was. This is Home by Switchfoot. It was only then that I Googled the song again and learned that it came from a movie about Narnia—a magical land where the animals can talk that had obsessed me since early childhood.
Now, please remember what I said in the first part of this newsletter: we come home in the material world when we come to the truth and liberation of our real selves. Please humor me by joining me in a life coachy exercise, right now. First, remember a time when, even if only for a moment, you felt safe and loved enough to relax your defenses and let go of your fears. Remember a time when you could breathe a long sigh of relief, knowing that in that moment, nothing would harm you, nothing would shame you, and there was nothing to guard against. Hold that moment in your memory until it fills your mind and becomes your present moment. Then click on this link—This is Home—listen to my song angel and feel the truth of the message.
I don’t know what my song angel actually is; I don’t hold any religious opinions or beliefs but I do feel (and experience confirms) that there is Something guiding us toward the places we belong, in our hearts and on this planet. So here is the challenge: Once you get to you inner home, don’t go back to how it was. NEVER go back. As the song says, you were created for this place even if you have never known it. You are a miracle, and you are not alone.“