The Freedom Of Home

“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”?

The Search for Greener Pastures.

Early tomorrow morning, my family will be moving out of Texas. I moved here in 2009. Neither my husband nor I are from Texas but we met here in 2010, and with the exception of 2 years in Europe, we’ve been here. Now in search of cooler temperatures, nearness to family, scenic mountains, among lots of other hopes, we’re leaving behind something (and someplace) really good in pursuit of something great.

So this is what’s on my mind; Greener pastures.

When it comes to ditching something good in pursuit of great, I’ve felt both support and resistance from family and friends. I have no strong emotions or ties to either responses; these decisions are mine and my family’s. However, I’m interested in how diverse, how on very opposite sides of the spectrum (one being YES to changes, even big, life-altering ones. The other being NO. NO. NO.) many people are. I understand that adhering to structured beliefs, taking up a view of the world that is black and white, lends sense and organization to a pretty confusing place. But I’d argue that needing to consistently understand and simplify decisions and situations also robs us of vital growth experiences. The world is not black and white. We live in a world of grey. The trick, then, is to learn to see and judge your life and decisions with a sober view of what you have, what you want, to what degree various changes in your life could benefit you, and (in some cases) how much risk can you and your family take?

Happiness and contentment are not products of our outer worlds. But our environments, the jobs we do, the nature we are (or are not) surrounded by, the hobbies we enjoy, the households we create, the cultures we participate in- these things shape our lives, help us instill them with meaning, and simply help us have more joy. So from this perspective, I’d say that making changes that allow you to do more of what lights you up, to feel and see what lifts you up- well, that’s makes a lot of sense to me.

There are those who will endlessly be seeking something better, to have more, to be more, chasing something new to be happier, never still long enough to experience the joy of any given state. There are also those who will stagnate while defending their choices and fears using reason and “wisdom.”

And there is grey area, as there always is- the necessities for life do not allow many to up and ditch a job and lifestyle that is working and supportive. But the sentiment I’m aiming to share here is applicable on all levels; giant and tiny changes. Between the restless and stagnating folks out there, there is a world of grey. Where are you on this spectrum?

Are there changes in your life, small or large, that may give you a healthier, happier, or more interesting life? Are you so busy being busy that you never stop and smell the roses? Are there places in your life where the pastures are pretty lush if you’d only take the time to notice? In what ways do you feel called to growth? Do you resist change? Do you resist the moment you’re in right now? And most interesting to me, how do you judge and measure these things in your life?

talk to me.

 

That’s all for now- Strawberry Moon, Chapter 3 out tomorrow!