The mere mention of home stirs something comforting and beckoning in my heart and soul.
Earlier in my life I had a dream, over and over again, that I was moving into a larger home; some magnificent home that was expansive and roomy – wherever I might roam or explore I would not be crowded or limited. I could open my arms wide and wider still. It felt big and I felt free.
Or . . . I dreamt that I, marvelously, discovered endless nooks and crannies to the home I already lived in. Much to my delight I kept discovering places I hadn’t known were there before. A room here, an alcove hidden under the stairs, an opening in a closet. The feeling inside the dream was the same, over and over again, unmitigated joy.
Growing up I had coloring books and paper dolls. I collected all sorts of dolls and loved playing jacks and pick up sticks. I played hop scotch and caught (and let go) lightening bugs in a glass jar.
But all I wanted, longed for and yearned after was a doll house. A wooden, stable, two storied doll house, with wall paper and furniture, wainscoting on the wall, a stairway with a wooden bannister and a family of four that would sleep in the beds and comb their hair in front of the bathroom mirror.
Truth be known, I wanted to move right into that home.
It can easily be said this yearning for home was extra pronounced since my childhood was very difficult. And yet this longing for home runs deeper than that – I think our souls are calling us to remember our natural, essential self.
No matter how we distract ourselves, no matter what mask or costume we put on, no matter how many achievements or accomplishments we rack up it is not uncommon to feel displaced, unsatisfied, far from home . . . in an inner sense. Deep down we know we are not at rest.
We try hard to convince ourselves to feel at home, at rest, when we fit in, find the perfect-fit clothing or the newest computer or appliance, have enough money to pay all our bills, know the “right” people, have a loving family, discover the real meaning to life, are “on top of things”, and mostly, no longer feel frightened, or alienated, or misplaced, bad, or inadequate (in one way or another) about yourself.
Maybe you know, in your heart of hearts, there is more to life than you are living. Maybe you spend a lot of time looking for a sign or an answer to what that might be.
There is a very strong societal undertow convincing us that home . . . the very thing, the very sign or answer that will do the trick and make us feel alright, at ease, comfortable, is outside ourselves.
This illusion is widespread . . . the belief that deep contentment is dependent on someone or something external. Our world manipulates this hunger for the real: Drink the right drink and you will be . . . courageous, loved, fit as a fiddle forever. Find the right partner/have the right family and all will be right in your world . . . forever. If you are fortunate enough to be disillusioned, maybe even over and over and over again, you realize that what you are looking for is not “out there”. The longed for rest, the longed for home has little to nothing to do with the external circumstances, no matter how comfortable, cozy and just right our living situation or mind-state might be. And the longed for rest, longed for home has little to nothing to do with perceived safety or certainty. For sure!
Anyone of us fortunate to know this, really know this, can stop the vicious cycle of trying to find our deepest peace in the wrong places. And trying, trying by banging our heads against the wall in a useless attempt to control, manage or avoid the uncertainty and impermanence of life itself, and, of course, death, the really, really big unavoidable truth of the matter.
Home is interior, an inside job. Deep rest is a state of being.
Home is interior and a state of being that is not swayed by our thoughts and feelings that come and go, nor by the circumstances that we cling to or run from and also come and go. Nothing lasts forever. No matter how many comforts and safety you accrue it is only a matter of time until something changes, someone leaves or dies, and the very thing that you counted on as home has evaporated. No matter how many therapy sessions you have or how well you meditate, you will likely feel constricted or reactive at some point. What we are really seeking is the equanimity to rest anytime, anywhere, whether our world is stable for now, listing left or right, or even coming apart at the seams. What we are seeking is the spacious presence for all our thoughts . . . all our feelings . . . all our humanity.
It can appear to be such an irony – peace . . . home . . . rest is knowing (viscerally knowing) we are not in control, so much so, we are willing to surrender, let go of our stronghold on how we think things should be, how we wish things are, how we insist things should be when they aren’t . . . let go of our concerted (and ultimately useless) efforts to reign in our lives to our liking and/or how we feel. Surrendering the insistence that what has already happened shouldn’t have happened. Such an irony . . .
The irony . . . it is in the very giving up of the pretenses we use to fool ourselves, the willingness to stop performing (whatever role we have attached to) as if we will die if we are not liked or respected or accepted, in being willing to look, really look at how hard we are working to not “get hurt or rejected” and feel worthy of love . . . letting go of this attempt to make ourselves feel at home, all the while knowing, deep down, that we are at odds with ourselves; the giving up of all that can open us to the truly remarkable thing:
We are whole, worthy and well.
Our true home is the center-most depths of our inner being, in the all around, above, below and sideways space that fills us to the brim and beyond when we open to the reality of things . . to the truth and fullness that shows up when we are radically honest and real . . . when we show up as our natural being, in our natural state, when we are present. Present to what is true.
Being present is home. Being present in this very moment, always, is home.
That is where life is living itself.
This is where roominess, our opening ourselves wider and wider, our unbound rest, no matter what, resides. Contrary to what our tribal instincts tell us, genuine home is unguarded, inclusive, and universally sacred. It is opening to life’s movement, open to the humdrum, the miraculous, the radical, the unexpected, the heart breaks – humbling us, allowing us to see with fresh eyes over and over again, as everything appears and disappears, comes and goes.
Letting go of our desires and wishes for things/us to be different than they are opens us to the power and direct contact of the present. Accepting things as they are, as they have happened opens the door to profound creativity, unrestricted options, clear thinking, and heightened awareness.
Living inside this very moment the rain is just the rain, the tears are just tears, the twig is just a twig and the scowl on your partner’s face is just a scowl. Living inside the home of this very moment sorrow is sorrow, disappointment is just that and all the comings and goings of your life means no more than being present to it as it unfolds.
The presence of home is unflappable, dynamic, and wholeheartedly welcoming. Our job is to listen . . . to heed.