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How we can feel at home wherever we are
There is a spiritual ideal which says that one should feel at home wherever one is. Or perhaps that one can feel at home wherever one is.
I know that in reality there are some places in which it is easier for me to settle and feel at home, and some places where it’s much more difficult.
Why is that, and what makes the difference? How can I feel at home wherever I am?
Turning into our street, after a long-drive home and a few days away, I feel myself start to relax. The dull artichoke-green wheelie-bins are lined up near the roadside. They have black waste-to-landfill bags stacked on top of them. When the wheelie-bins first arrived I watched that stacking habit spread up the street like a minor infection.
The orange-sulphur street lamps cast an unnatural glow on the scene. A silver Bengal cat crouches behind the wheel-arch of a plumber’s van. I must have seen this whole picture hundreds of times. More perhaps.
In reality, I know very little about the lives of those black-bin-bag stackers, or the plumber, or the family which owns five Bengal cats, however their presence is consistent. I have no idea what is changing behind most of the closed doors of this street, but the illusion of things remaining the same is a comfort.
And there is the clue as to what makes it easier for me to feel at home.
Part of me feels like there is a kind of safety in knowing how things are, in the predictability of the lined up bins and the presence of the neighbours skulking cat.
Another part of me knows that this feeling of safety rests on an illusion. There may be more or less predictable events, but nothing is certain.
I think it’s this uncertainty we are running from, when we run towards home. Or rather, it’s the reaction we have to this uncertainty, and the feelings it gives rise to, which creates an urgent impulse to find certainty in us.
How can we feel at home wherever we are?
Here are three ways.
Build a home for yourself where the chances for uncertainty are less, and where you can manage change and unexpected events as they occur. Make sure you can pay your mortgage each month, and that you have the right kind of insurance.
Find good friends to join or create a community of friendship; either locally or a network spread across the world. This web of friendship can hold you when life sends unpleasant surprises your way, and celebrate with you when life sends pleasant surprises.
Facing uncertainty and change
Worldly security is not guaranteed and even good friends can let you down. The way to a deep and lasting sense of being at home wherever you are is to face and accept the truth that everything changes.
It is easy to say ‘everything changes’, however the way to finding yourself at home is not in repeating platitudes but in really seeing and facing whatever is happening in your life right now.
We move towards being at ease with universal uncertainty through working with real examples of change.
I try and do all three of these in my own life, and it’s a work in progress on all three fronts. My income is getting more secure, my friendships are deepening and I try to work with uncertainty whenever it appears.
I still look forward to turning into our street after a long journey though.
Join us from February 6th us for one of our mindful writing e-courses Finding Your Way Home or Writing and Spiritual Practice. Find out what it means to be at home for you, whatever is happening in your life, or write your way to praise, clear-seeing, perseverance & faith.
Photo by by mugley, some rights reserved.