“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Maya Angelou
My family is in the midst of a transition; moving to a new town, a new home. We’re spending time at our families homes before our move-in date. Currently, I’m in my hometown. I’m at the house I grew up in, driving the roads I’ve driven countless times in the past, sleeping in the bedroom from my teenage years. Only now I’m with my own kids and my husband.
From being here, and on the cusp of establishing a new life for my little family, the idea of “home” is on my mind.
People use the word “home” to refer to a house, a geographic location, a family, a feeling, often to the place of their upbringing. I think when we express the feeling of being “at home,” that we’re all referring to similar sensations; a state of feeling comfortable, accepted, loved, supported, and perhaps being surrounding by certain external circumstances that appeal to our particular preferences. It’s this sense of belonging to a people or place. I think this is a feeling that most people seek to have in their lives; to create a sense of being “at home.”
In my recent yoga teacher training, I thought about the idea of “home” a lot. As I was reading the words of BKS Iyengar, Baron Baptiste, and Ana Forrest, I kept coming back to this feeling that in my search to feel belonging in my life, in seeking to create “a home,” I had lost my sense of what that actually means. I was seeking it in the wrong places; particularly in things and people (my husband and kids especially). I can’t say that people and material things don’t contribute to our sense of comfort and homely feelings, because they do. But again and again, I was finding that on my mat, sweating like a nut, there would be these rare moments of presence where I was totally with all the struggles and ease of that moment. In those moments, I felt oddly safe- I felt a sense of acceptance. I felt a sense of belonging. I felt loved and loving. I felt “at home.”
From those moments, my definition of “home” has begun to change. It’s still evolving I think. But right now, sitting here in my parents cozy dining room with rain outside, my kids running about, I’m aware that despite my love for this place, it is not my home. The place where we’re moving is not my home. With my husband and my children, despite the wild love I have for them, that is not my home.
Home is within. Home is a state of being where all that you are right now, you accept it, maybe even love it. It’s a place of authenticity and self-love. To me, “at home” there is freedom. Home is the state of knowing that you belong everywhere and no where, that you are of no place, ethnicity, religion, and that these defining bits are mere shells. And when you can find that feeling of being entirely “at home” within yourself, then you’re suddenly free to love everything about the present moment and people in it without strings. Doesn’t that sounds like such a blissful freedom? For me, the challenge is to bring that feeling, that truth, off the mat and into my life.
What is “home” to you?
When do you feel “at-home”?