Many years ago I met a wise elderly woman. In her youth, she told me, she learned from a Jesuit priest that the most import thing in life is to be at home with oneself. There you will find that you never are lonely. The expression in Latin is “Habitare Secum”. It resonated deeply with me! It seized me! How can I be home with myself?
After the woman and I separated, I named my psychotherapy practice to Habitare Secum. What could be a better name? But still, the longing and the question was there.
Then in summer 2012, I got to know Focusing and Whole Body Focusing for the first time. It was like a revelation and a healing bath of presence, warmth, compassion, gentle interest in the connection with the focusers. And an answer to my question of Habitare Secum began to get contours.
And on that road I’m walking ….
With great affection to you all focusers!
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5 thoughts on “Habitare Secum”
I thought I would walk away and enjoy your experience of meeting that priest that day and how what his words have affected you so deeply. And you seemed to know how it awakened something very profound in you the moment it happened. Later the words were there as part of how you work with others. But one memory awakens another and it is about me meeting a Trappist priest uninvited that day at a time when I was searching for a sense of self and I was sure I had lost it.
He came into my room in a monastery where I was spending the night, without apology or permission just took my hand, and nodded that I join him gazing out there into the barnyard on that early spring day. I did, and all he said was “you are a good man Kevin.” and then left me. My body came totally alive to myself. I could feel something in me recognizing the truth of who I am! I was totally shocked and scared and ran away as fast as I could. But that feeling would never leave me. No one had ever said these words to me, at least not in the way that it touched me like this. I had awakened to my truth and I can see now how it changed everything! Kevin
Thank you, Ulla-Stina, and also, thank you, Kevin, for sharing what came for you.
I love that question, “How can I be at home with myself?” I spent most of my young adulthood not being at home with myself, and assumed being-me meant blending into the image that others wanted of me.
Focusing, and Wholebody focusing, have showed the way for me to get the ‘right distance’ from others so that their wishes don’t define me, even while I can be in relation to them. Connected, but not merged. A life-long process.
I’m interested in Kevin’s comment: “…No one had said these words, at least in the way that it touched me like this….” and this makes me even more aware that there is so much more than the words that speak. It seems to me that the monk had a very deep sense of what he was saying and he spoke without any personal ‘agenda’, he simply spoke the truth as he saw it. And Kevin did hear it, despite his initial wish to hurry away; the truth didn’t leave him. I am thankful to that monk and to others who speak truth with an intention for good.
Thank you Ulla-Stina for the beautiful story, and the image that expands its felt sense.
I was drawn to read this blog among all others today because of its Latin title. I learned Latin in school, sang in it in the church choir, and even taught it briefly to high school students when I was in my twenties. I have long since left the church – it’s a long story that has to do with both me finding my own spiritual path and also learning about the church’s history of oppression.
But many people over the generations walked the Catholic path, lived in Spirit through the medium of that faith. Many gifts were given from the heart because of it. Like Kevin’s story of the Jesuit priest, those gifts live on. Kindness is kindness wherever found.
Kindness is kindness wherever found. Ditto
I was deeply touched by your experience and your connection with that larger experience of ourselves that is so hard to name. The name wholebody focusing was a name that came out of the blue for me to point to such an experience that you describe here. Kevin