Depression Can Be Homesickness For Yourself

“When we don’t create or express, we get homesick …homesick for ourselves. We’re missing the richness, the beauty inside of us.” -Pam Grout

Depression …that grey, heavy, numb, sour, dark, muted, inertia. This is how we feel when we’re afraid to dig deep and express our innermost longings. Hint: our longings are usually a suppression of our creative energy.

The Mastery of Creative Expression

When I was a young girl, I lived in Africa. There, I was fortunate to witness the mastery of creative expression on a daily basis. Little did I know then how much those memories would serve me one day as the medicine I needed to reclaim my own creativity.

Woman Numbed To The Core

Fast forward twenty five years, and I was dealing with a dissolved ten year marriage, single motherhood, personal bankruptcy, poverty, and nine moves within seven years. I was now a woman numbed to the core.

And I was homesick…utterly homesick…to express…to create…to experience just a single drop of beauty…anywhere within myself.

Thankfully, in my desperation to feel anything, my memories of Africa and the soulful expression of creativity I witnessed there began to surface.

Some Memories Can Be Healing

One of the things I remembered that I loved the most was going into town to visit the local merchants.  There’d be a long row of squatting men either carving a piece of wood or shaving a chunk of soapstone.

The women had their babies slung across their backs while they beaded a colorful belt or sat weaving, by hand, a tumble of baskets among a slew of small children running around the Acacia and Jacaranda trees that shaded the side of the street where the goods were sold.

Contented, Joyful, Creative Work

It was the men who were the carvers and sculptors, while the women strung the minutest of beads onto fishing wire to make bracelets while chatting or humming away, seemingly contented with this daily task.

I can remember going with my mother to buy their local produce, the stuff we didn’t always have in our own garden. Things like avocados, spring onions, green peppers and tomatoes.

I always found it fascinating to watch who my mother would buy from. Many of the merchants carried the same things, but from what I could figure out, it was usually the one who had the biggest smile.

When The Soul Expresses Through The Hands

Their produce, along with their artifacts were displayed for sale on a simple blanket drenched with the smell of wood smoke from their daily cook fires.

As my mother would pick what to take home, I would stare in awe, mesmerized by the hands of the craftsman who could clearly see what I couldn’t in the piece of soapstone or wood that he was working.

In what seemed like a matter of seconds, I’d be able to see the shape of an old man’s face or the rump of an antelope as it began to take shape with such casual mastery.

Magical Gods and Wizards of Creativity

With the innocence that comes from youth, I thought these people were magical gods, wizards of creativity, transforming boring hunks of wood and soapstone into pieces of exquisite art.

And it wasn’t just this group of merchants sitting on a dusty street in the town where we lived.

The Divine Expression of Soul

Africa seemed overflowing with the spirit of art, music, dance, and creativity and everywhere we traveled, this talent, and these gifts could be found.

Inherent it seemed, in every African, was the divine expression of soul.

Social Privilege & Entitlement in the Western World 

Clearly, some forty odd years since I’ve lived there, (I live in Canada now) these fond early memories of creative expression still run deep.

They are the golden nuggets I dig for when my creative energy gets stuck.

They help me to stay open and tender whenever I start to think about how our modernized Western world with it’s untold social privilege and expected entitlement tends to bury the primal inner urge to express creatively.

A Priceless North Star

The priceless gift those African gods gave me was a north star that would one day lead me back home; home to my inner self.

heather fraser in africa

(My youthful creative expression emerges in Africa.)

For someone who had never felt comfortable being in this world to begin with, Africa and her mysterious ways was the exception. The sheer vastness of her, sang to me a song I completely and utterly understood.

She’d never have to explain herself to me; nor I to her. We spoke the same language she and I …the language of love…and this was no ordinary love to my ten year old self.

An Intimate, Absolute Reverence for Life

The native people knew her song too, way more intimately than me, and they sang back to her by throwing open their hearts, and giving thanks in return by way of their infinite and wondrous creativity. Their hands and voices created what their hearts felt so deeply …absolute reverence for life.

Connection of the Spiritual to Creativity

I think it was because of this solid foundation, the connection of the spiritual to art and song that ran through the soul of Africa, that I felt so at home there, even though I was just a kid transplanted from downtown Toronto in the 70’s.

Maybe this is why Africa felt like “home” to me, (with the exception of boarding school, which was traumatic) because I was immersed in a culture that remembered the richness and beauty of its spiritual origins, or maybe that’s just what my innocence chose to see and feel.

The Importance of Remembering Our Divine Origin

Regardless, I question how much of our civilized, modern world remembers and honors its spiritual and divine origins. Clearly if it were a majority, our children wouldn’t be killing themselves, and our elderly wouldn’t be discarded like human waste, out of sight into establishments, some of which tend to rob them of their dignity and independence.

Returning to the roots of our spiritual nature and expressing such, through the arts  -  music, dance, writing, painting, poetry, singing  -  is the way of joy and well-being.

Ancient Ways That Include and Connect Us

These are the ancient ways of any indigenous peoples that bring us together to create harmony, wellness, inner peace, and a balanced joy to our existence.

We have much to learn from them.

Our Responsibility to Express and Create Is Immense

To ignore what is inherently soulful within ourselves, to not express the part of our being that is the foundation and fundamental root of our very existence, is to live in a world of illusion, one we are responsible for creating.

What greater responsibility could we hold than to let go of the madness, the cloaks of depression and fear we have become so comfortable living in, that we often never question or even consider unnatural.

The World Needs Our Mastery and Our Gifts

The world needs our mastery, our gifts, our expression of that which we’ve been so desperately homesick for … ourselves.

It’s never too late to mine for the richness and beauty within.

With so much love & joy,

Heather xo

P.S. If you have friends, clients or colleagues who may be feeling homesick for themselves, send them this blogActing as a beacon of light in someone’s darkness can turn their world around.


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