Updated: Mar 14, 2019
Children love nests, burrows and dens. They are fascinated by where animals live. For a child, a bird's nest is a wonderful thing. Lined with feathers and snug, it promises safety, warmth and protection. A bird's nest is a perfect home. The word nostalgia, comes from the Greek words nóstos and álgos meaning, a longing for home. As we grow into adults the need for home and all it promises calls to us just as strongly as ever. The desire for a nest grows into the longing for a village. A place where we belong.
Finding a home in the information age.
The ancient philosopher Heraclitus once said, "No one ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river, and they're not the same person." Pointing to the reality of change. Things have really sped up since then. Nothings stays the same for very long. We're routinely called upon to update our phones, our contacts, our lives. We change jobs, relationships, schools. Updating our lives has become an expectation. Yes, a new phone, or fancy camera can be exciting, but in the midst of buzzing change we can be left feeling rootless.
In the last blog I wrote about, 'building a village where we are '. Looking into this process, we realize the importance of roots. If we want to be strong and flourish, then we need roots. Our roots connect us to the place where we live. They provide the sense of warmth, safety and security that we long for. How do we grow strong roots when restless change is all around us?
Growing strong roots. From birds nests to cats.
A cat usually has a favorite spot. It will sit there. Rooted and grounded. Fully present. Where are your favorite spots? Take a moment to think about them and connect with how they make you feel. I love to sit in Boscanova cafe, in Boscombe. Either with my books, or sitting and chatting with regulars. I don't stay for long. Usually 30 minutes. The time it takes me to drink my one coffee of the day. I enjoy the smells of food cooking, and the fact that it's usually pretty busy, with people chatting, laughing, and having work meetings. I soak in the atmosphere, just like a cat by the fire. I recognize the people that work there, even though I don't know all their names. They're familiar, I recognize their voices. I get a feeling of warmth from Boscanova. So I know that this cafe helps root me to the place where I live, to Boscombe. It's part of my village.
In the 'old days' generations of families were firmly rooted to a town, city or village. It was easy to belong, and to feel that you were part of something larger than yourself. Today, in the global village of the world, many of the people, places and things that we love are spread out. There is no central village- tree we can all sit under. Instead, we have to make a shelter, a kind of central tree in our 'imagined village', by cherishing the people and places that are already around us. Hold dear your 'cat spots', the places where you grow a feeling of connection.
The longing for a place where we belong can be satisfied by valuing where we are. We grow our roots by stepping into our local community. We strengthen our roots by making the effort to know the names of the people around us, and by showing an interest in their lives. Growing roots is simpler than we imagine, but we have to keep at it. We can't just water a plant once and expect it to live. As long as we live with the plant it needs watering. As long as we want to love where we live, this needs watering too. We water our village, and nourish our roots by cherishing the people and places that are already around us.
This blog has taken us from the safety of the nest, to the cat that would love to get into the nest, to one of my cafe-cat-spots. Where better to end up than on the beach?