(Drawing By: Christine McFarlane)
What is Home?
I learned this exercise at a recent conference, the "Locating Compassion in Land Ethics" that was organized and held by The JHI Program for the Arts on Location/Dislocation and the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto through the March 23-25, 2012 weekend. In a couple of days, I will be posting a photo essay of that event.
The drawing I have included in this post was drawn when I participated in a workshop titled "Reconnecting With Place: Mapping the Interior Landscape," with conceptual artist, educator and PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies Program at Queen's University, Mimi Gellman. Mimi Gellman has been doing research on the metaphysics of Indigenous mapping and investigates the relationship between Aboriginal cartographies, Indigenous aesthetics and senses of place. Her concept of mapping is intriguing and I recall that at first when she asked participants "what is home?, I was initially hesitant about wanting to do the exercise. My mind changed when I realized that I was about to let fear guide me into not being an active participant. You know the saying "feel the fear and do it anyways".... well I did it. First I journaled it out in my ever handy book I carry with me, and then I let myself vision the concept of home-hence the drawing above. Here is what I wrote about home and what it means.... Its nothing earth shattering, but for a minute, after you read this, try considering what home means to you, you may surprise yourself with your answer or you may not. Its up to you.
Home is the path I have taken to regain my identity, to discover who I am and the place I take up in this universe, in my very body, my circle of friends, and my community.
It is a path that is long and winding, but gravelly and rocky because its been filled with many challenges. It is the wind that whispers around me, yet screams if I hesitate or question myself, doubt what I am doing or where I am heading.
Home is the relationship I have with my niece, the unconditional love I feel and the yearning I feel to be there for her as much as I possibly can, because its not only my duty, but my role as an aunty and a role model.
Home is the path I have taken and still undertake to learn about myself and others around me. Its being able to sit in silence, or be at home and know that it is okay to be alone.
Home is knowing that I am where I am in life and that its up to me, to be the change I want to see in life.