A Place to Be

I had a lovely meeting this weekend with small Druid Order, filled with people utterly dedicated to their Druidry. It is always such an inspiration to meet up with these folk, to hear their stories and their views, to hear their physical voices and to be able to reach out and touch them, hug them, share food and space together. Each time we meet, prayers are said and dedications are affirmed, and each time it is deeply profound. Though my dedication remained the same as it had two and a half years ago since the last gathering, still there were new components to my personal story that are poignant to the words I had spoken, witnessed by those souls and held in the beauty of a garden in Stratford.

At this meeting was my old teacher, Bobcat. Never have I seen her looking so strong, so wonderful, so at peace, shimmering with vibrancy and yet coming from a place of deep stillness, utterly rooted to the landscape. I had to email her later, to tell her so, and she replied that I has looked wonderful too, wholly comfortable in my skin, even if I am still finding what sort of a place to be.

Indeed, being an immigrant to these lands, I have had to develop a relationship with this environment that is so different to that which I grew up with in Canada. And yet, after a recent DNA test, I have found that my heritage is over half British, more so than Western European, which was a bit of a surprise. As far back as the family can remember, which is to about the mid-19th century, the family is Dutch, pure and simple. However, somewhere further in the reaches of time many of my ancestors came from and lived upon these lands, not so far from my Dutch ancestors, whom I connect with simply by walking down to the shingle beach near where I live and looking out across the North Sea. Is this where my British ancestors came from? It’s all a mystery…

Ever since I came to the UK, I’ve tried to find a place to be. With my heart torn in two places, between what I consider my homeland in Canada (nevermind all that Dutch ancestry, where my parents and their parents and their parents were born) and the British Isles it’s always been a bit of a tricky thing. Nearly reaching the point where I have lived in the UK for as long as I have lived in Canada, the issue of home and place is at the forefront of my thinking, not to mention the coming referendum.

And what Bobcat said was true, as I reflected on it during meditation at my outdoor altar this afternoon, taking a break from organising lectures for our upcoming Druid College Weekend, and getting the next two books underway. Having recently handed in my notice at the concert hall where I work, I’m now going full-time as an author, dancer and all-around self-employed person. The time feels right, and I am wholly comfortable with who I am at this point in time. I am thankful for my many blessings, the good and the bad, that have brought me to this wonderful point. But there is still the issue of place, of where I belong. For me, place has always been important.

Perhaps I need to find out why I need to belong anywhere. What is it that drives this need? Perhaps I simply need to connect with my newly-found ancestors of this land, and therein the answer lies. Perhaps I just need to let go of the question altogether, and simply “be”.

13 thoughts on “A Place to Be

  1. Hello Janna, I would COMPLETELY SUPPORT: Just simply BE, who you are. This is the Being that I have come to greatly respect and admire. Your own Being is unique and natural. Here’s a quote from Alan W. Watts that you may appreciate:
    “You didn’t come into this world, you came out of it. Like a wave from the Ocean, you are not a stranger here.” (Alan W. Watts)

    Also: ” “Our ability to cognitively abstract our contact with the world constantly takes our sensory experience and hides it under a veil of thought. The resulting loss of connection is, I think, the greatest ill that plagues humankind. It is the cause of many problems in the individual and in society.”
    (Dr. Mark Germine, Editor-in-Chief PsychoScience Journal)

    Always your Friend, Dan Shelton (EarthSoul)

  2. Hello Joanna, I can usually NOT confirm that my comment gets through, so here is another, for Support. Your question on “A Place to Be”: “Perhaps I just need to let go of the question altogether, and simply “be”.” I simply want to Support You being You. I respect and admire who you are, all your work, and that you BELONG to this Earth/Universe. Always your friend, Dan Shelton

  3. Hi Joanna,
    thank you for sharing! I experienced the same longing and found, living now 22 years in the south of germany – as long as I lived in the very north, where I was born, that I am now as well rooted here. Seems to be a typical process at last 🙂

  4. I think that it is very easy to become bogged down in thinking about where one should be and so on and I have been down that path myself. But the older I get the more I think that it IS important to simply “be”. Blessings to you

  5. I, too, empathise with that dilemma Joanna. Quite a few years ago (well many actually!) i had an old VW campervan when i was agile enough to pull on a wetsuit and surf…we would travel the length of the country and park up wherever. There was a bumper sticker which was popular at the time… “home is where you park your camper”.
    Because of moving around so many times with work….i struggle to feel within myself where home really is for me. I can’t say that i can sense any meaningful connection with the place of my birth, nor with where work took me, nor really with where we live in retirement.
    This brings me back to the bumper sticker…..maybe there’s something profound there. Perhaps it is sufficient to come an appreciation of the spirits of place where we happen to find ourselves at a particular time in our life…..if we move, then home will be something to be discovered afresh.
    John /I\

  6. My experience resembles yours: grew up in North America (USA though), family Dutch for generations, took the DNA test and was surprised to find a solid quarter of my DNA to be British. Eventually got my dad to take the DNA test and discovered that he’s almost half British which makes almost no sense if you go by family names and recorded locations over the last two hundred and fifty years or so. My significant other thinks it may be the case that they were members of independent Christian congregations, which were outlawed in England in 1593, fleeing from religious persecution in droves to the Netherlands (other places as well, of course). Most of my ancestors that came to North America did so during the1800’s, so many generations and over two centuries of melding into the Dutch culture would have occurred while still largely remaining clustered together, thus maintaining significant British DNA, due to their religious ties.

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