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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.


credit: Mariana Figueroa

credit: Mariana Figueroa




  1. The layers of this, a rich cake of meanings, fruit-filled, nutritious. ( but we, addicted to icing, roar off in sugared madness).
    Fleeing far from home,
    We wander about
    For pastel dream.
    Unable to re-insert,
    Wriggle into that,
    We cluster, eyes dreamy
    Around flaming fires…

    • Wonderful metaphors!
      And you’ve touched on something that I want to look at further… which is that being so far from home that we don’t even know it any more, we are left with nostalgia. And nostalgia is another kind of sugary treat. It’s another story we tell ourselves that can keep us from truly landing in aliveness.

  2. Guess I’m a little late to the game, but I really appreciated this post. I spent a good seven years trying to find home; no matter what city I moved to, no matter what I tried to do, I felt so disconnected from everything. I never felt at home. I see now that I was not even connected to my body, how did I expect to be connected to my environment? Not long ago, I read David Abram’s “Becoming Animal” (which I see that you’ve read as well). I have mixed feelings about his writing style, but overall, I enjoyed what he had to say, particularly the chapter about how our minds are enveloped within the mind of the planet. How we think we’re walking through space, but if you consider all the different molecules in our atmosphere, it’s more like we’re walking through soup!

    Years ago, when I was working with a plant entheogen, I really felt that we are all indeed inter-connected. And that if you allow yourself to really and truly feel your body and just surrender to who you really are, life seems to move through you, not the other way around. I feel this is how we were meant to live. That our minds and hearts are built to work in concert with the mind of the planetary system. When you cut your hand, I have a hard time imagining that your cells are thinking, “What I should be doing today?” Same thing when you get an infection. The cells work in concert with the rest of the body and just know where to go and what to do.

    • Granted, David Abram can be a little over-the-top. There’s a restless urgency that can seem overbearing. Contrived. I feel like his words are grabbing me by the collar and trying to shake me into aliveness. But I guess I don’t mind much because I understand the importance of his agenda. I don’t know if anybody else is really writing about this stuff.

      There does seem to be a greater intelligence humming underneath it all. And I’m not referring to traditional ideas of God. More like the way that everything belongs to everything else. Impeccably. Surrendering to the flows of this interbeing is perhaps our natural state. Our homecoming.

      Thanks, dear storyteller, for the fabulous comment. Hope you stop in again soon and share more thoughts. 🙂

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