From the Himalayas back to southern India I find a feeling of familiarity, I’ve been here before. Familiarity feels homely; I feel a relaxation in sights and smells my senses recollect from my last stay here.
Summer is blossoming in Europe. My social media is full of photos from back ‘home’. Seeing the English rolling hills and green pastures of my childhood, my heart feels a belonging much more intensely familiar, a familiarity that brings longing and an ache in my heart. Then I see the Swedish midsummer sun and the stunning city of islands; the memories they invoke pull my heart in the direction my adult home in Stockholm.
Having now been without my own physical house or apartment for eight months and away from Europe for six months the concept of where or what home is to me feels rather confusing.
‘One this is for sure, living abroad will change you.’ ~ Mats Igeskog
Many of the years living in Stockholm my mother was also living there. During that time Stockholm was unequivocally ‘home’. I mused with my friends that where your parents are seems to bring a notion of ‘home’ with it. My mother has now moved back to the town where I grew up in England, and the feeling of Stockholm as home has been cast into question for me. Now I’m coming up for six months living in India and I have no idea where I call home or where I might ‘go back’ to or if indeed I wish to ‘go back’ at all.
In fact ‘going back’ is exactly what I do not want to do; I want to go forward. I chose to move out of my comfort zone, and my ‘home’ because I want more, I’m looking for new experiences to catapult my mind outside the box in which I’ve been conditioned. Although staying put or moving back to a previous geographic location does not itself mean my personal development needs to stagnate or regress, the risks of that happening do increase. When I am tired, low and longing for comfort ‘going back’ is a tantalising option; when life feels tough and I feel weak the security and familiarity of what I have known before tugs at me.
‘Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.’ ~ Robin Sharma
Why is the notion of ‘home’ one of such importance to humankind? I believe the concept of ‘home’ and a feeling of belonging comes hand in hand with most of our attempts as humans to make ourselves feel safe, to create an illusion of security. For the same reason we strive for the permanent job contract with pensions and insurances and we long for the marriage vows that ensures we will never have to be alone. We spend most of our life trying to safeguard ourselves from change, or more importantly change that we perceive to be negative that cause us suffering. Knowing where we consider to be ‘home’ aids us in our illusion of stability and control.
In actual fact, in the blink of an eye our entire life circumstances can be turned upside-down, we can loose loved ones, homes, jobs and money without a moments notice. So living a life where I don’t know where my next step will take me is actually living closer to the truth of life than living with false sense of built up security. Having said that, I never said I was finding it easy; but it is becoming easier and easier as the months pass and I experience first hand how life is providing for me and guiding me in ways I would never have come up with if I was restricting myself to my own limited thoughts and planning.
I realise that at the end of the day I can’t have it all, I have to say goodbye to England’s rolling hills if I want to live amongst the Swedish islands; I have to bid farewell to the midnight sun to experience the Indian monsoon. The same goes with the friends and family who I have in each location, I must endure separation from loved ones to be with others I love and to meet new people who inspire in new ways. I cant have it all, not all at once.
I find myself drawn to the lyrics ‘Take me home to the place I belong’ ~ John Denver, Country Roads. I long for a sense of belonging. That belonging most of us look for in external situations and relationships, but we will only find a true and constant home when we reside in our own hearts. The home in our hearts is sometimes known as the soul, higher self or, if you are comfortable with the word, God. I have yet to truly find this home within my own heart, the garden in my soul, but I am certainly closer than I was just six months ago. By taking myself away from my old concept of ‘home’ and outside my comfort zone I believe I have placed myself in fertile ground where I have all the opportunity to continue to cultivate my home in my heart, the place I belong.
I’d love to hear from you
Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Pass it on
Enjoyed this post? Then please tweet it, share it on Facebook or send it to friends via e-mail using the buttons below.