"Home – that blessed word, which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven, and helps to carry it thither, as on an angel’s wings."
Lydia M. Child, American novelist and activist
While walking in the park last week, a turtle crossed my path. To save it from careless drivers I picked it up and carried it across an adjacent road to the nearby pond, then set it down and wished it well. As I continued my walk, I wondered what the turtle thought of me, and of my interference. Would it tell its turtle friends about its human encounter the way a person might talk about an alien abduction?
The next day, when someone mentioned the word "home" I remembered the turtle, whose shell provides both shelter and protection. A turtle generally roams about its territory; it doesn’t make a nest, or come and go from a burrow. It carries its home on its back.
I can relate to the turtle and its "mobile" home. My very first home was literally a mobile home. I don’t remember it, as my family moved before I was a year old - in fact, my family moved households twelve times before I was graduated from high school.
A mobile home engenders a sense of freedom - of traveling around, setting up camp for a while, then moving on. Several indigenous peoples around the world have long histories of doing so. Native Americans come to mind, as do the people of North Africa and the Middle East in their tents and caravans.
There’s an efficiency in such a lifestyle. One takes along only what one needs. There are no collections to carry, no big stores of things to schlep around, no heavy furniture to move. Sometimes I feel a longing to take an extended road trip across the United States and explore the places I haven't yet seen.
And yet, I also love the idea of settling in one place for a while. Putting down roots. Nesting. “Come on in, stay a while, relax! Make yourself at home.” I love everything about home: I love making a home, I love staying home, I love living in my home.
Numerology, totem animals & archetypes
It's no wonder. Both my given name and birth date numerologically come out to the number six, suggesting that I desire domestic comfort and beautiful surroundings. Both the turtle and the beaver have come up as totem animals for me. And I claim the architect as one of my archetypes - my affinity for architecture emerged at age nine, when I got a room of my own and began drawing floor plans with every possible arrangement of the furniture in it.
This passion for creating harmonious surroundings continued well into my adult years. More than once I considered a career in interior design. And while I am wholly satisfied with my ultimate vocation, I enjoy doing those activities at every opportunity. Whenever I teach, inevitably some students arrive early; a few want to help set up, while others like to watch and some even make gentle fun of my determination in arranging the classroom space "just so." But the space has to feel right - anyone who has studied feng shui and sacred space, as I have, knows how important the environment is to the activities that take place there.
Recently I have been reflecting on the subject of home in other ways. A personal decision is currently before me: whether to keep my former home of 20 years or let it go to the universe. The situation prompts me to ponder other important questions: Where do I want to be? How do I want to live? What do I want my home to be like?
We build and nurture the physical spaces in which we live, and so our homes are outward reflections of our inner selves. For example, if we live in a cluttered environment, it is very likely that we also experience mental clutter or confusion. Conversely, if our home is open and freeflowing, we are more likely to move with the energetic currents in our lives - "in the flow," so to speak. If our home is productive and prosperous or stuck and poor, easygoing and fortunate or uptight and unlucky, healthy and thriving or decaying and ruinous - whatever the characteristics of our home may be, it reflects who we are and how we experience life.
Our physical homes are where we relax, rejuvenate, recreate, and reflect. I invite you to spend a few minutes in reflection now....
What is the first impression your home gives to the world? (When you ask yourself this question, what words, phrases, colors, sounds, aromas, and so forth, immediately come to mind?)
If your walls could talk, what would they say about you?What would you like them to say about you?
If you could have your "ideal home," where would you live (beach house, cabin in the mountains, big city high rise)? And what would you be doing (laughing with friends, eating dinner with family, getting some “me time”)?
What keeps you from living in your "ideal home" (schedule, money, location, attitude)?
What can you do now to bring into reality one aspect of your "ideal home?" (Brainstorm several ideas, choose one, and commit). What did you choose, and when will you finish this project?
Feeling at home
The following is a meditation that I lead in many of my workshops. It is a variation of a meditation practice called "Safe Harbor." Read the instructions below to get the general idea, then put the instructions away and allow your higher self to guide you through the process, using any and all of the subtle senses available within your imagination.
Get into a comfortable position, and take a few comfortable breaths. Let your body relax with your breaths. Close your eyes if you’d like.
Allow your mind to think of a time when you felt at home: in yourself, in your spirit, in your body, in the world, or in your heart. Let your mind wander free for a few minutes while you do this.
Now, focus on this "space" in which you felt at home, and allow yourself to experience it fully, in this moment, as if you had never felt it before. Let yourself feel with all of your senses - see with your mind's eye, hear with your inner ear, simply know what you know. And breathe with each sensory awareness, each inspiration, as it comes to you. Allow the experience to infuse you, to teach you, to bless you.
Bless the experience in turn and give thanks to life for the gift of being at home. Now bring your awareness back to the room, to the chair you are sitting in. Gently move your hands and feet, take a deep breath, and when you are ready, open your eyes. You may want to make notes in a journal about your experience.
This is a very gentle meditation that can be beneficial to practice daily for ten minutes in a session (if you like this meditation, after a few weeks you may increase the time to twenty minutes in a session). The point is to allow it to happen. Let yourself go within and sense in what direction your higher self takes you.
"The goal is a place, a way of being, or whatever you find that is so right, so 'at home,' so natural to your basic being that you feel completely safe, secure, 'right' in it."