Making Ourselves at Home
It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances. ~ Derrick Jensen
Because we’re so used to it, the extent of our alienation from the present moment is impossible to grok. We live everywhere but here. Pretty much all the time.
How often are we actually aware of physical sensations? Of the more-than-human world unfolding and flowing around us and with us? How often do we notice the constant, colossal outpouring of creativity in which we are contained? And when we might occasionally glimpse it, does it mean anything to us? Are we able to respond?
Derrick Jensen writes with compelling rage about the impact our collective trance has on how we treat the natural world. And he’s right. But this pattern of refusing to truly inhabit ourselves and our place has a similar impact on every domain of human life.
I don’t mean to downplay the ecological consequences of our dislocation. Rather, I want to point out that it is not separate from all our other problems. I would argue that we essentially only have one problem, which is that there’s nobody really home. And I mean “home” in the fullest possible sense.
We are rarely in contact with what is actually real. We are busy off spinning stories about the past and the future. Stories that are composed of carefully nested abstractions that generally have something to do with our status or position in the make-believe realm of human worthiness. Because underneath all of this is a sense that we’re not OK and we don’t belong. We’re not home.
The healing work for most of our problems is the same. To make ourselves at home. In this moment. In our bodies, in our lives, in our earthly places, in our relationships with each other and all the other beings that are with us on this journey.
I think that’s the task before us. And given our starting point, it won’t be easy. But I think it could be fun.