Coming Home

On one of the first nights in my new home, I awoke from a restful sleep in the middle of the night. My house is in the woods surrounded by many tall evergreen trees. There no curtains on the windows; even the previous tenants liked it this way.

As I awoke, I could see a light shining through the window. Not a day light, but not complete darkness either. It was kind of like the first light of the morning breaking. But the house was quiet, and I knew it was still night. It must have been the moonlight.

I got up out of bed and started to walk to one of the high windows in my second story bedroom. The cathedral ceiling is about 15 feet high. Near the top is a semicircle window about 6 foot wide and three feet high. It is big and beautiful and it needs to be to be able to see above the towering 100 foot evergreens surrounding the house.

On this night, the moon was full or close to it and as I walked towards this moon glow coming in from the window I could finally see the moon sitting just above the tops of these tall trees. The glow was coming from it barely shining through a dense fog surrounding the trees and house.

It was stunning and beautiful. I knew I wasn’t in Austin anymore. It was as if the hidden beauty of the area had gently awakened me at this perfect time to welcome me with this enchanted magical beauty.

It was a personal hello.

Since being here, I have had some awakenings about being where you are supposed to be and where you are not.

As much as we loved the idea of Austin, we could never really connect there. Not just with people, but with the land, the environment. Some said we should get out there, do more, find things to do in Austin to make ourselves happy there. We needed to change in order to adapt to our surroundings.

I guess this could be done, but at what cost? For those of you who have lived in many places like I have, I am sure this will be something you recognize. For those who have been in one place most of your lives, I hope this can be something to stimulate your thinking a bit.

Since I have landed in Northern California — a place not unfamiliar to me — I have felt home from the very first day. My family and I had searched for this feeling of home for over 2 years in Austin, but we never found. Our 8 year old boy right away said how much he liked it here and felt at home. He’s focusing better and interacting without the fog of allergies affecting him. Our allergies are gone and we can breathe and think better. The water here is some of the purest in the world and our skin feels different, we are even sleeping better.

But I knew this. Every time I came to visit this place for the last 20 years, whether for a few days or a few weeks, I have been welcomed with open arms by both the people and the environment. I have traveled all over the United States and a lot of the world. Only two places that give me this feeling. Both are in California, and I now call one of them my home.

I delved deeper into the experience of what is happening for me here. I realized that when I am here, I don’t desire much of anything at all. I seem to have a general contentment with just being. The environment and this place supports most of my spiritual, mental, and physical needs. I have pure, clean water, I have a beautiful home, but there was something deeper within my soul that is supported in this place.

I don’t have the worries I had in Austin, or even the worries I had in New York before that. There is a general peace and trust in the knowing that I am supported here even though I have no other evidence for this than the feeling of being nourished in a profound and deep way.

This realization that I feel so different here makes me ask myself, “What things did I crave to make up for that loss when I wasn’t feeling that?”

In order for me to live in Austin, without this sense of nourishment I receive here, I had big needs. I needed a big house with an incredible view. I need to eat out at the best restaurants to feel good from the food, or at least a #7 with Coke from Wendy’s ( I am smiling). I needed a nice BMW 7 series to make me feel good while dealing with Austin traffic, and surely hanging out with my Buddy Joe Vitale in his Rolls Royce drinking 18-year old Macallan Scotch, smoking the finest Cuban Cigars, looking at the newest handmade guitar he just purchased. While these things were fun, and they did distract me from this deeper loss, when the night was over and I was driving the 30 minutes from Joe’s house to mine, this loss would begin to percolate through. It was as if I had a sense of something missing, a sense of being on the wrong track… a sense of needing certain things to keep me distracted.

It was like I was selling my soul in pieces. It was like I was negotiating for what I would need in the present moment to not feel what was missing. What shiny dangly thing would I sell my present attention for?
The question always seemed to be, “What would I need to have in order to stay where I am not supposed to be?”

And I was always up for the game. From the time I was a child, I have known this dynamic in me.
When I would go to Las Vegas, I would get stimulated by the lights and the new buildings, the glamour, the people smiling, the beautiful people all dressed nicely at their best. I was always hesitant to let go and enjoy this type of stimulation because a part of me knew that it was only sustainable for a short period of time. And even though I didn’t get into the scene completely, I would still come home and feel my body and mind get a little depressed after having the access to the constant top-of-the-line stimulation Las Vegas offers taken away.

I was aware of this. What was it like for those not aware of this? As soon as they got home and felt a biological depression of their central nervous system (similar to coming down off a drug like cocaine), they would be looking for their next fix, their next trip to Vegas.

Are you are doing what you don’t necessarily want to be doing? Are you living in a place that is not right for you? Are you with a person you shouldn’t be with? In a job you don’t like?

What are you giving up?

When I decided to go into the military years ago, I was promised all kinds of things to do it. Why?
Because there was risk involved. I might lose my life in the process and I was committed to peeling as many potatoes or cleaning as many bathrooms as they wanted me to during this contract. But if they gave me this shiny, dangly thing I could look forward to in the future, I guess I would give up my present life for their food and cot and the ability to do with me what they would.

How many contracts are you in like that? What do you tell yourself to make it okay?

As I continue fleshing this idea out, please write to me and let me know what you discover about where you are stuck and where you know you should be.

If you have any questions let me know. I will do my best to respond on the blog.

All in all, what I would like to explore with you is some territory I am pretty good at helping others navigate.
Let’s explore the depths of who you really are, what you should be doing, and where you might be living. Let’s discover how to get you pointed to your own true north, how to find your own personal home where you begin to feel supported naturally.

People asked me what I meant by teaching a different ho’oponopono than Joe teaches. Well it is not really that different. It is different in the approach and understanding.

I am going to be teaching how these spiritual practices can nourish you at a place beyond the temporary.
You go after a new car to get a certain feeling. However, that feeling is temporary. It wanes. It is only a fix: an agreement to put a band-aid on the real issue.

I say we explore and see about getting you nourished with flowing waters that don’t stop giving.

Are we supposed to trade the temporary for this? Are we supposed to settle for less? Should we negotiate in order to have it?

Should we suffer or be a martyr for lack of it? Should others tell us this and direct our lives for what they think it is? Should government control this, or even churches?

Or should you? My goal is not to tell you what it is that nourishes you or even who or where. My goal is to help you find the tools in you to discover it yourself.

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  1. Mark,
    I have been checking daily for your next blog.
    It was well worth waiting for.
    Keep up the good work.
    Sounds like you are much happier now.
    Give us an update on the book.
    Thanks again,

  2. I’m proud of you. Your ability to craft and mold hypnosis is something Ive always admired about you and still admire about you.

  3. I agree with Clay, this post was well worth waiting for. I do understand your sense of connection with place. I have lived in several big cities and small towns across Canada and each one had merits and delights. However since I was a small girl I always wanted to live in B.C. and eventually made my way to Vancouver. A few years ago I moved to the Sunshine Coast in BC. It wasn’t the most practical move but I knew it was home and that recognition came from a deeper part of myself. Everyday I give thanks for living here. Your blog has helped remind me to trust the pull I felt when I decided to put down roots here.

    It also draws attention to a struggle I have with information out there in the ‘self help’world which is whether you are happy or not doesn’t depend on the external – it is all a reflection of your internal world of being. That if you only change the way you look at things/people/places; the things you look at begin to change. Does that mean if you are unhappy with your living location you just focus on thinking positively about it so it eventually becomes more positive to you? Does it mean where you live is irrelevant and the job you do is irrelevant – if you just look at it differently it will change? I don’t know. I have found this way of thinking has resulted in me getting ‘stuck’ in certain situations. I do think that as individuals we do tend to resonate with different places. Some places do feel more like home; places where you can feel good in your skin.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this; how do you know when you need to change your thoughts about a situation versus when do you simply just need to change the situation?

    Congratulations on the move. Glad to hear your family is doing better.

  4. Ah……..your Coming Home blog is so familiar to me. As a young teen I couldn’t wait to get out of the country and into the city where things were happening. And, as I realized much later in life, it is much easier to hide from yourself. I have come full circle and am now back in the country with my animals and that beautiful wide open sky.
    I moved away from my friends and everything that was familiar to me. I had to – when I drove into the driveway of this home (just to take a quick look) I knew I was supposed to be there. Now when my friends come to visit they remark at how peaceful and good it feels.
    I’m struggling to get caught up financially from moving here, and the temprorary hand-to-mouth existence does pump up the anxiety level. But the thought of having to leave this place gives me much more anxiety – even fear. It’s like being told that you are going blind and you only have a few more days to see. I just cannot imagine what life would be like somewhere else.
    Whether this place is my permanent home, or whether this place is exactly where I need to be to be nourished right now, I don’t know. I don’t care. I know that the knowledge will come if need be. And until then I can trust that my home is exactly where it should be for the now.
    Thank you, Mark, for providing an opportunity for me to step back for a few minutes and appreciate what I have and where I am.

  5. Mark – Good for you! I’m glad you have found the place which satisfies your real desires rather than just the temporal ones. I look forward to your blog posts, as always.

  6. Mark,

    Congratulations on your move! I have visited Shasta a number of times and agree that it is a special place.

    Having lived in a several places, I have noticed that there are two aspects to a location — the physical environment and the people in the area. Shasta is blessed with spectacular mountain beauty and a collection of spiritual seekers.

    I have a theory that the people living in any location create an “aura” for a place that attracts and repels others depending on a person’s vibration. That aura influences a person’s choices and desires. (There are studies that show that a group intentionally meditating can cause the crime rate to drop in a locality.) And, as a person grows and changes, the aura that was most attractive at one time becomes less so at another.

    So I am excited for you. You are embarking on a new, perhaps more spiritual, adventure than you might have had in Austin. You are walking your own perfect path.

  7. Hi Mark, this is your friend Ed. (Valderrama) I haven’t read much of what you’ve written lately but really liked this piece for its quality and content. Congratulations on maintaining the high quality of your ideas and your enthusiasm for all this time.

  8. Dear Mark,

    I delight in all your remarks! Thank you for sharing thoughts that remind me of myself over the years – though not recently – (now there’s a clue, Maria, if you’re paying attention)!

    Living in the woods in northern Nevada for most of the 1990’s (three tenths of a mile from the California state line) I could relate to your loving the trees and the fresh air and water and all of the outdoors. Then I moved back to the mountains of NC in 2000 where I was born because I thought I ‘should’! (I had forgotten it’s never a good idea to do something “I think I should do”, instead of “I know I want to”.

    Living in the woods in NC was much colder than living and skiing in Lake Tahoe where the temperatures were lower – the humidity factor! Most people would be shocked at what I just wrote. Like you, I’ve lived in many places. Now, I’m contemplating a move from Myrtle Beach to where? My grandchildren are in PA and I have a son there and a daughter in Nashville, TN. Humidity drains me! Being in the outdoors invigorates and sustains me – and yet, as I am in my 60’s, there’s a lot to consider, though I’m in excellent health.

    I’m determined to follow my “inner knowing” and NOT my “inner fearing”!

    Mark, my life has been complimented with your input several times. It makes me happy to know that you and Kathy Zant and your children are happier in Mount Shasta than in Austin. Shasta has such inspirational energy! I’ve been there and have wonderful memories which still bubble through “I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

    One of the benefits of following your “inner knowing” is that you and Kathy will be more available to one another for quality personal time in addition to working as a couple. You’ll make the opportunity to express your appreciation for one another more frequently! Your children will be happier too, because you are! God bless you, Mark. Please give a hug to Kathy and your children whom I enjoyed meeting at Zero Limits Seminar 3.


  9. Forgive my double dipping. As a dedicated contrarian, I want to present a different take on your idea of finding the ideal place to live in. As a kid, I commuted between my parents in Mexico and my grandparents in Florida. This entailed not only a change of scenery, but two sets of relatives and friends. After a while in either place I would become restless and want to go back to the other. As I spent most of the time with my grandparents in Florida, I only remember two pieces of advice from my father. One was after telling him of how I argued in favor of Beethoven being the greatest musician with my high school band mates in Florida. He said: “You kids can argue all you want over Beethoven Tchaikovsky and Brahms, but Bach is the daddy of all musicians.” About fifty years later I chanced to eat at the same restaurant table as one of his ex pupils. He still remembered my father telling him: “Bach is the Holy Ghost of music.” I got a kick out of how he used a common down to earth phrase with me and a high falutin’ one with his pupil. The other piece of advice referred to my constant dissatisfaction with wherever I lived. “Happiness,” he told me, “does not originate in the outside world, it comes from within.” I’ll admit it took me many years for me to accept the idea, and tend to agree with you in that I would almost certainly feel happier if I lived where you do.

  10. Hi Mark,

    I love where you are sharing from. Not only have you moved on the outside to where you need to be to fully live, you are living fully from a place on the inside that will truly rock the world.

    Hugs and love to you and yours Mark,

    Twenty Twenty

  11. Hi Mark,
    So happy to hear your family moved to Mt. Shasta!Howdy neighbor!
    More importantly you followed your heart in a big way .I think there is
    something in moving to a new place physically helps us let go of
    what is not serving our highest good any more.

    Yey to new adventures,Marcia

  12. In 1989 I move back to Vancouver Island. Before long I found that missing in my soul that you are talking about and descended into smoking something to keep me going day by day. I sold myself to the high, which when you do so many isn’t really but on you trudge. For me, it wasn’t just that life looked and felt crappy, I couldn’t handle it when it was too good also. I just wanted it to be one thing and then someohow I felt I could deal with it or escape from it, until of course it all came crashing down around my head and I moved…..to the city. Vancouver, lights, excitement, energy and eventually people who thought like I did, well at least they said they did. They had a basic spirituality, or they said they did. They believed in postive energy and through them I grew and learned, was coached and mentored, until life took me on. Now, I still live near the city, in the burbs, a new wife, a new son, a new life, but the feeling of belonging still eludes. And so I search, wanting something simpler but building something even more complicated hoping again that it will be the means to the end I search for; all the time wondering where the dash is disappearing to, the dash which is life and eventaully will define my life Born 1959 – Died 2***. I am giving up, selling out a simple life where I could grow food so tasty and pure, where the water is clean and exhillarating, where moments spent outside with my son throwing rocks in a river or making forts in the woods would turn into a lifetime of memories for him, for us. I am giving up feeling truly in touch with spirit for as you have discover Mark, when one gets close to the mother, to the earth, on gets close to their true nature, to the spirit they truly are. I am giving this up in the illusion that I have to stay, for work, for soemthing that if you really asked me what it is, I couldn’t tell you, but I know it is grounded in fear. The fear that if we just up and left it would all fall apart and we would have nothing and at least this something is something we have and fear drives me to hold on. Wow, thanks for letting me share, this felt cathartic to say the least.

  13. Hey Mark I don’t know that the place I envision even exsists. A place thats not been chopped up and spoiled by the hand of humanity. Yes I’m big into nature and the energy it creates in the most simplistic way.

  14. Mark;
    I don’t think it’s just location, it’s all the “contracts” you mention (relationships, jobs, etc.). And I love your line about selling your soul one piece at a time… kind of like a lobster in a pot; we don’t realize how cooked we are until it’s too late… Something about this whole conversation reminds me of the movie “The Electric Horseman” from 1979…

  15. Hi Mark!

    Great to here that you all have landed! What a great read your blog was for me. It has sure started me to questioning myself…..and almost envious of you all to just pick up and move. I have had a stirring in my soul to move….and have tried a couple of times…but always come back here to be with my Mom till she passes on. I do know that where I am at is not “it”, but really don’t know where my heart and soul belong. Any suggestions on how to know? This might be a conversation for us to have. Let me know.


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