While driving home after an evening spent producing a Skype conversation for Omega’s Ecstatic Chant between Ram Dass in Hawaii and Jai Uttal with Shyamdas in New York, I was struck with the realization that everywhere in the world could potentially be home.
Home, for me, is no longer defined by my familiarity with my surroundings, it’s defined by how fully I’m able to inhabit myself at any given moment as well as the proximity of family and/or close friends.
During tonight’s event, Ram Dass told the crowd that his family jokingly referred to him as Ram’d Ass. Same letters, just a different pronunciation. Family is like that. They love you for all of your wonderfulness, but they’re always going to make sure you don’t take yourself too seriously.
For the past five months, my brother has been here in Rhinebeck working with me at Omega. This has been one of the best times in my life. Filled with running up hills and eating twist ice cream cones, road trips to Cooperstown and the homes of FDR, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, tick patrol and heron watch, mini-golf and movies, too much roughage and perpetual farts.
My brother is almost unflappable and always honest, short on words, full of puns and much wiser than his thirty years. He makes me laugh, he gets on my nerves, he helps me see the world differently. He hates it when I tag him in posts on Facebook which only makes me want to tag him more frequently. I’ll always be his older sister, but he’s definitely been one of my greatest teachers.
He showed me how to be adaptable by his willingness to be adaptable. He helped me realize that leadership doesn’t mean perfection. Personal failure is the greatest gift I could ask for because it gives me the chance to accept myself and the opportunity to try again. He told me that everyone, and I do mean everyone, has varying degrees of phoniness inside, so why hold it against them?
In two months, he’ll head back to his life in Chicago. I’m already starting to miss him. (Yes, I am the sentimental one.) I wonder how at home I will feel when I am at home then? He would tell me there’s only now. There’s no future, there’s no past. There’s only this moment. Now this moment, now this moment and now, this moment.
And, once again, he’s right. I am going to be what I am going to be. He will go wherever he is meant to go. I will stay wherever I am meant to stay. Right now just happens to be in this yellow barn by a pond with the ceiling fan humming and the cat watching me coyly while writing about my brother Michael.