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Returning to base

At a time of unexpected challenges when people seem to be more focused on protecting and fighting than embracing and expanding, what do we need?

Coffee cup against countryside.

I think we need to do all the usual things like standing up for the vulnerable, pushing for new and better ways of living in our world, but we also need to return to base regularly. We need to remember who we are and where we have come from.

I have lived in community several times. People with common goals and an interest in personal development tend to put in so much effort but what often results is even more conflict and constant challenges. People can’t see eye to eye over even the simplest of things. If we cannot live in peace in small communities what hope do we have of living together in the wider world? No wonder we put up fences and build new walls.

Sometimes it is easier to blockade rather than embrace because by embracing we make ourselves vulnerable. We can only be comfortable with this level of vulnerability if we know who we are and where we come from, in other words if we return to base.

Returning to base might make us think of an aircraft out on patrol that is then called to return to base, the place where it is registered, and stationed. But what does it mean for us? Is our material or physical home our base? What if our main base was something immaterial that goes much deeper than our physical home? It might explain why so many of us feel disconnected, fearful and separated. For me returning to base involves finding a time of stillness.

I notice with clients, when things get tough they become more vocal, frantic in the pursuit of answers. They go around and around in circles covering the same ground with no success, unable to see the wood for the trees. During the last big recession in Ireland I noticed some businesses thrash around changing their strategy over and over again trying to keep a float to appeal to different markets, when holding on to a core strategy and sitting tight might have been a better option. What is most useful at these times? Making decisions and sticking to them is one thing but another I believe is finding a place of stillness to recuperate and get things into perspective.

When faced with a big decision one of the best things we can do is to go to a place where there is no time. We experience this in different ways. It may be painting a picture or taking some photos, it could be going to a concert or a waterfall, it could be doing yoga or meditation but whatever it is, the common denominator is losing a sense of time. It is a peaceful place where the world feels ok. This for me is returning to base. It is who we are and where we belong, it is home. We cannot spend our entire lives there, we have to step outside, but we need home to nourish us, to build us and help us remember who we are.