Expanding Our Borders

Coming Home

This past week I arrived from the US into the airport at Shannon, Ireland.  I was excited to be coming home.  I've only been to Ireland a few times but each time I connected strongly with my Irish roots.  My mother is a Murphy and her family immigrated to the US during the Irish potato famine in the 1850s along with two million other Irish people who left their homeland to start new lives in the US, Canada and Great Britain.

When I passed my passport through the hole in the glass to the customs agent at the airport, he thumbed through my passport at the pages and pages of stamps, including one from being in Ireland just a month ago.  Then he glanced at my customs form.

"You're a teacher?"

"I teach a movement class for women," I responded, not going into the explanation of Qoya, the class I would be teaching in Ireland this week.

He scanned my passport.

"You travel for fun?" he asked.  "Why are you going to all these places?"

I didn't know how to answer his questions. I travel to discover, to connect and to follow my curiosity. I travel to be of service.  I travel for stories and for inspiration.

"Why are you back in Ireland so soon?" he continued.

How do I explain how clean the energy feels in Ireland?  Or that I'm teaching a class that is helping women to connect to their sacred source of wisdom on an island the ancient Greek considered to be the Body of the Goddess?  And, I want to finish writing my book on the land that has nurtured many writers.
Costa Rica 2013 photo by Lori Berkowitz

"I'm visiting friends," I said.

The customs agent slowly inspected the pages of my passport: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Norway, Ireland, England.  And those were just the stamps from the past year.  It felt odd to be questioned about wanting to come back into a country where I have roots.  Why do we have borders stopping us from going anywhere in the world?

It made me wonder what borders we put on ourselves and how we live every day?  Who do we need to give us permission?

He finally pressed his stamp firmly down on one of the few open spaces on my passport and slid my passport back to me and without another word, waved me through.  I think my Irish ancestors must have been smiling.




Next month, I will be returning to Zimbabwe to host the Giving Thanks Service and Safari retreat with Qoya founder Rochelle Schieck.  Women from the US and UK will be joining us for a week of service at the school supported by House of Loveness, a visit to Wild is Life Animal Sanctuary, games drives at a safari park and daily Qoya classes.

There are a few spots still open for the retreat.

If the soul of Africa is calling you (and you would like to wake up and go for a walk with a rhino), please consider joining us for a magical week in Zimbabwe.


House of Loveness founder Betsy Blankenbaker at home in Zimbabwe










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