Hey, welcome home. Now, what on earth do we mean by that?
Welcome home. It’s a huge subject. Sometimes the moment we say the word ‘home,’ what greets us is a kind of wrenching pain, because there are a lot of healthy places inside of us that actually know exactly what we mean by ‘home.’ We know it, and we are pained by the difficulty of matching that healthy longing for ‘home’ on the inside with something in the outside world.
At the root of the pain that we often feel when we hear the word ‘home’ is a doorway into honoring and investigating, “What is it that I know about ‘home’ in my body?” What is it that I know, from an incredibly long line of ancestors who had many, many experiences, and who passed on to me a feeling about something called ‘home’–sometimes in the form of a yearning, and sometimes in the form of a really good exhale?
The confidence of our knowledge of ‘home’ inside, as the body state, is very, very important. I suggest that some of the people who are most at home, and know best what the feeling of home is, are nomads, because they are not attaching their sense of home to an external place, to a set of behaviors, or to a bunch of external parameters. Their sense of home is felt as an interrelationship with where they are right now.
I think that a lot of us right now would benefit from learning the lessons of being a nomad, even if we don’t pick up and move around the country, because it’s not actually about that. It’s about making home an internal responsibility for creating relationship to where we are. It’s completely different from being a homeless person! I have personal experience with both.
When I was a little kid, I had a hard time eating when I wasn’t at home. This was very difficult for my parents. Then as I grew up, I still felt the same way. I’d managed to choke down a few things in restaurants, but I still didn’t really feel comfortable eating, except at home.
Then, in my early 20s, came the time when it all fell apart: I lost my house, lost my job, lost my wife, all in the same week. I did still have a car, though. It was November, and I decided, “Well, I’m gonna get in this car… and I’m going on sojourn. I guess I’ll go south since it’s November, and I will be living in my car with some cans of beans.”
My biggest concern was, given that I don’t eat unless I’m at home, am I actually going to eat those cans of beans? As I drove away from what used to be my home, I wondered whether I was going to starve to death.
Instead, I became a nomad, living in my car, and working here and there as I found odd jobs in various towns. I was “homeless” for nine months, but I had a revelation of “home” as being where I am in my body. This body was my personal tent that I took with me absolutely everywhere. Far from being a disaster, being a nomad was a healing transformation for my Earth element.
We are at a time, globally, where we need to give up small, entitled, rigid notions of comfort and home–which absolutely does not mean giving up notions of comfort and home! Comfort is great. Home is great. We need that feeling. But we are ready to be freed into a much more reliable and genuinely centered relationship to the comforts of home.
To join the discussion, find us on my Perennial Medicine discussion listserv (all are welcome).