All language is a longing for home.Rumi
I’ve been traveling a lot this year.
Before we started our travels as a family we downsized our belongings, moved out of our rental house, and put our stuff in storage. At the end of the summer, we decided to buy a house in Guelph, Ontario where we live, but we don’t take possession of that house until November. So a summer of travel was extended by a couple months.
Traveling, being without a home, sleeping in Airbnbs, hotels, RV’s, and friend’s basements has got me thinking a lot about the idea of home.
What does it mean? Where is it?
There is a sense of safety and security attached to the idea of home.
The dictionary definition of the word homebody is:
a person who likes to stay home, especially one who is perceived as unadventurous.
I’d like to challenge that idea. I think a true home body – someone at home in their body – is definitely adventurous. In fact, the biggest adventure you embark on, might just be the adventure of “finding home”.
While I’ve been traveling this year, I’ve been wrestling with the following question.
Why do I feel unstable when I don’t have a house to live in?
A house is a property that enables us “to do life”. It’s the space where we live. Our house provides a sense of safety and refuge, a place where we get a break from the outside world and feel at ease.
In the physical and financial world we think of owning a house and home ownership as the same thing. But I want to explore home ownership as an internal and personal reality.
Home ownership is you. It’s the totality of your mind, body, spirit, and heart. Every where you go, your home goes with you.
Let’s compare owning a house with this idea of home ownership.
Owning a house requires that you pay it off. You buy it from someone else.
Home ownership is a gift you receive. You were given you.
When you own a house the value fluctuates based on the market.
There is no changing value in home ownership. Your value is inherent and not dependent on anything else.
When you own a house you go shopping for a house. You make a decision about what to buy.
Home ownership within yourself is about accepting what is, accepting what you’ve been given.
Why do we not want to live within our home? Which is to say, why are we so resistant to living in ourselves? Why are we frantic to find other things to fulfill the longing for home?
Three possible reasons.
- We don’t believe it exists.
We believe home is out there, somewhere. And if we just keep working hard enough we’ll find it, out there.
- We don’t know it exists.
We don’t know that if we travelled in, we’d find it. We don’t know that home has a structure, an essence that is self.
- We don’t choose to accept it.
We can choose to say yes to the invitation calling us back home. Home is always calling us back, beckoning us, “come back to yourself”. But we have to choose it.
I choose home. I choose to come back to me. And the beautiful thing is that when I do that, why would I want to go anywhere else?
Traveling is when you physically choose to go somewhere else.
We get to experience new things, in our neighbourhood or in the world. This can be as broad or as narrow as we want to define it.
But traveling feels inconvenient and unsettling when you hold the belief that home is someplace outside of self.
On the other hand, traveling can be an adventure when you believe that home is internal and goes with you wherever you go, across town or across the planet.
Consider traveling light. Don’t try to carry all the comforts of your home with you, be those physical, mental, or spiritual. You’re already packed up with all you need inside of you.
Here’s a beautiful way to define and remember true home.
- H – onoring
- O – ne’s
- M – agnificent
- E – ssence
Home is oneself. The sense of home within you is the incredible truth of your power, belonging, magnificence, and strength.
The home that we live in, the embodiment of our self, is more valuable than any house or dwelling we could ever purchase, rent, or otherwise obtain.
When your sense of home is lodged within you, you don’t want to metaphysically travel somewhere else, you don’t need to be anyone else but you. And when you do physically travel, across town, across the continent, you’ll find that home just goes with you.
Join me in this episode as I challenge the idea that a homebody isn’t adventurous, re-define home ownership (regardless of what physical structure you live in), and reveal the reason why traveling can be so inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Media & Resources mentioned in this episode:
Music by Marie and Stephen Keech.