“To be at home is to have a place in the scheme of things — a place where we are comfortable; know that we belong; can be who we are; and can honor, protect, and create what we truly love. To be at home within one’s self, place, community, and the cosmos is to feel whole and connected in a way that yields power and participation.”
People came to walk El Camino de Santiago in Spain for many reasons. Some were looking for direction in their lives. Others were leaving past relationships or careers and needed time to hit the reset button. Some were simply on vacation while others were seeking new horizons within and without.
But when you cut through all the details of all the stories that brought us to the Way, we were all looking for a new way of being in the world. To “…be who we are…[to] honor, protect, and create what we truly love.” But all the things we wanted from our pilgrimage, all the things we wanted to be at the end of it, were really about how we wanted to be at home.
Because, to be in the world at all is to be in relationship to it. As Sharon Parks said, “To be at home is to have a place in the scheme of things…”
This is the point of the Hero’s Journey. This is why your pilgrimage begins when your Camino ends. Returning Home with your Gift is the key to transformation because it is only in relationship to each other that we find our sense of identity and our lives have meaning.
Even a vagabond knows himself in relationship to others by the distance he keeps. And a former inmate wears invisible shackles to work long after serving his time. Because we define ourselves, and each other, by the way we participate in the world.
“To be at home within one’s self, place, community, and the cosmos is to feel whole and connected in a way that yields power and participation.”
He who seeks to be a hero unto himself, who seeks transformation for his own gain, is no hero at all. He is a villain. He has slain the dragon only to hoard the treasure to himself, and in so doing, he becomes the dragon.
The Hero brings the treasure home and gives it away. After all, what need does he have of gold when he has discovered the power to slay dragons? At last, it is in relationship to the community receiving his gift that the adventurer knows himself to be a Hero.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all of our exploration
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
~ T.S. Elliot, “Little Gidding”