Saturday, January 22, 2011

Called Home

So, I had the most interesting experience in the tea house yesterday. I no longer have an office on campus this quarter, so I study at Teahouse Kuan Yin in Wallingford. (They have a fabulous selection of teas, for those of you who also need remote offices.) Being Wallingford, Seattle's hippie neighborhood, I was privy to an interesting conversation at the table next to me. There were two women, both middle aged, who were at first talking about trying to get their kids into middle school. And then one woman said the following:

"Yeah. I put my occupation down as spirit healer. And if they don't like that, well, that's not a community my child should be in."

I was intrigued. The women kept talking about the journey, honoring your core, and all sorts of other new agey stuff. It seemed like one of them really was a spirit healer, and the other was a spirit healer in training. I'm trying to be better about listening both to my core and to my nomad's heart, and this was exactly what these women were discussing. I couldn't help eavesdropping some. And then I went back to my work.

On a study break, I happened to check my email. I have a trip to Europe coming up over spring break (which is why I've decided to grow from starts and not from seeds this year, but that will be discussed in a later blog post). My amazing mom, who does all sorts of genealogy work, had emailed distant Irish and English cousins to let them know I was coming. My cousin Eiblhin had written back the following: "I mentioned to your Mum that there is a flight to Donegal if you were interested in seeing the Cannon homestead. The flight from Dublin is operated by Aer Arann and takes approx 40mins to Donegal. My father would be more than happy to show you around the Cannon homeplace."

Now, Smiley and I had discussed doing this. But our time in London and Dublin is short, and Donegal would be rather out of the way. We'd decided that I'd better save visiting my ancestral home for a different trip. But for some reason -- maybe because the women next to me were talking about honoring the voice inside your heart -- Eiblhin's email got to me. Emotion spread upwards from my chest. And all of a sudden, I'm sitting in the Tea House, trying very hard not to cry. I knew that I needed to find a way to go see where my people came from while on this trip. I was being called home.

Even this morning, writing about it, I'm sitting here with my eyes watering. And I can't explain it any other way. That voice inside of me -- the one that made me fall in love with an impossible country (Yugoslavia) and the one that was practically screaming at me to teach middle school -- that same voice told me that I need to see where I came from. Why now? I have no idea. I just have to. Plain and simple.

My good friend Kevin happened to text me at the moment all of this was happening, and I wrote him a rather long text message with what happened. (One of these days, I will likely write a novel via text message. Mine tend to be long. And pretty much grammatically correct. U is a letter. You is a word.) I told Kevin "My heart is telling me that I need to go see where I came from in Ireland."

"Can't argue with your heart. It usually wins anyway," he wrote back. And he's right. In the daily battles I wage of head vs. heart, my head may be the practical one, but my heart dictates my actions. I'm becoming a middle school teacher because my heart told me that's what I need to be doing. I can't do things halfway. I either commit, or I don't. When Jason and I were dating, I remember telling him "my gut has decided that you're okay. So therefore, you are."

Same goes to all of you still reading this. My gut has decided that you're okay. So therefore, you are.

At this point in my own lifelong journey, I'm reaffirming how important it is for me to listen to my heart. It's going to win anyway. If I don't listen to it, I won't be happy.

I'm working out a Donegal visit with Eibhlin. Because my heart is telling me that I have to go see where I came from.

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