Gran's Apple Butter Blog

December 4, 2010

Going Home, Excerpt: Pendulum Swing (3/IX)

Filed under: Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Life Journeys,Mikey — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 10:36 am

Chapter 3 – Pendulum Swing
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Looking at all this on a personal level, I realized I’ve been on the move in search of home for many years. Having inherited Gran’s flair for the metaphor, I decided my path had also been a reflection: In fact, on a very small scale, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the path humanity has taken since the dawn of his- (and her-) story. In my mind, this only confirmed that we, as a group, really are on our way home now. We always were, we just took a roundabout route, our collective version of forty years in the wilderness.

At first this idea seemed a bit grandiose (even for Mikey), yet the more I thought about it, the more similarities I found. Like society thousands of years ago, my path began in a very set place – a place in which I was sure I knew truth, where I found great security in that knowing. But as I grew older, I started to see what looked like cracks in the shining finish of that world. Things that didn’t add up, at least not as I was currently defining them.

I knew that to question was to doubt, and to doubt was to condemn myself, just like the Spanish Inquisition. Yet how could I not doubt, when my beliefs were based not on my own experience, but on the faith of my fathers? And so, like the human race turned to the Age of Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution, I struck out on my own, so determined to find answers that I tossed out the baby with the bathwater as I began looking for what I could know.

I went pretty much full circle, ran the whole gamut, trying everything from full-time play to overtime work, from education to travel to philosophy to science to materialism to success to community service. Yet the hole was still there. Like Tina had found, all these things I had learned and discovered didn’t fill my emptiness. I saw this void reflected around the world, with people stretched to the max, stressed to the max, some living the dream, some living a nightmare, with far too many simply empty inside. In all our searching, we had not found our home “out there somewhere.”

It was exhausting, running in all those endless circles, and so my steps slowed, physically, mentally, emotionally. What was the point of hurrying, if I didn’t know where I was going? Yet somewhere along the line, my path had begun to curve, and I walked ‘til I completed a circle, arriving to swallow my own tail, to end at my beginning. I found myself in the same spot, familiar as a favorite pair of hiking boots, this time with an entirely different perspective and a better pair of socks. Socks that came with years of experience and enough knowledge to know that I didn’t know, hadn’t learned much of anything really, and if I continued looking to external sources, I never would.

Pulling on those socks, I realized there must be a better way to fill the bottomless pits I’d been shoveling information, effort, and achievement into all those years. Einstein was right: You really can’t solve your problems at the same level at which you created them. I finally learned that well enough to be humble, to open myself to truly learn, to listen to that still small voice within.

And so I began to retrace my steps. Along the way, for the first time, looking inside to see who I really was and why, who I wanted to be, and how I could get there. Perhaps most importantly, I stopped asking others for their truth and began looking inside for mine. I didn’t think I knew the answers for everyone else, but I thought maybe, if I dug deeply enough, I’d find the answers for me.

After all, I’d spent all this time learning everyone else’s answers, picking and choosing which ones I’d wear that day, ‘til the next mood struck and it was time to change my socks. Nothing had stuck very deeply in those holes, the ones I’d tried to fill using other’s knowledge, rather than trusting my own. True, it had worked fairly well, until I reached a hole I couldn’t patch with the same equipment, and I had to start looking outside my old way of being for the raw materials from which to blend this new creation.

All the knowledge I’d accumulated had helped me figure out what I believed, if only by noticing that I didn’t agree with this, that, or the other. The methods I’d learned – scientific observation, a careful skepticism – had served me well in the beginning, but after years of demanding proof of everything I’d consider, it hit me. Just like the boundaries-become-walls I’d cultivated around my heart, the ones that eventually became more like cages, these rigid ways of thinking no longer served my highest good.

Instead, just like those walls, they’d begun to keep the good things out, as well as keep me in. Now it was time for this to change. For me to observe with the eyes of Spirit as well as the microscope, and to hone my negative skepticism into positive discernment. For me to slow down and start listening in a new, different way.

Gran said this was just another cycle we repeat over the years – thinking we know the answer, following one clue wholeheartedly ‘til it fizzles out, then throwing the whole thing away and looking for something else. Humanity had done the same thing, following a pendulum swing that began with superstition,  religion, and a fear of nature, then swung to philosophy and creative thought, back to religion, and out yet again to science and materialism. Not finding our answers there, we are now hovering between these extremes, with nervous false starts this way and that as we seek a point of balance.  

That was the beauty of it, Gran said: New ideas are introduced with each wave, ideas that calm the wild arcs of the pendulum, bringing it closer and closer to center, each swing growing more complex while simultaneously growing simpler, as we find the resting place between our hearts and our heads.  

The sweetest part was that these ideas aren’t even new, Gran said. They’re really very old – we just don’t recognize them because we haven’t seen ‘em in a long, long time, kinda like Great Aunt Fay and Uncle Joe out in Indiana.


Wiggle Room

At the end of that little front porch session, Gran had reminded me that we’re only starting to understand what home means, how many forms of home there are that we can aspire to, and how many paths there are for us to reach that Big Front Porch with our name above the door. Then she reminded me that all this was only our opinions, so we shouldn’t get too carried away with ourselves.

I was pretty sure everything I had said was spot-on, but Gran said it was sometimes good to leave ourselves a little wiggle room, to learn something new or change our minds. No matter who said what, Gran suggested I always ask myself if the words felt right, if they resonated in my heart. As Frances Bacon put it: “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but weigh and consider.”

Gran’s Big Picture sure was beautiful. All these roads, these homes, these reflections, and all of us headed down the path together to a big home-coming we’ve been preparing for since the day we were born. Yes, that was a beautiful picture…….

NEXT WEEK: We’re starting Chapter 4 – Home Base!

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set. Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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