This holiday season, I invite you to reconsider your experience of home. Usually the idea of home points to a settled and comforting living space. Going home for the holidays commonly refers to family gathering and an experience of connectedness. But it can be helpful to explore other experiences of home. For example, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh describes coming home as arriving in the present, savoring the moment.
Your ultimate home is within yourself. Is your mind a hospitable place? Your self-talk is a constant companion, but it often occurs outside of conscious awareness. Many people have critical voices in their head, offering negative running commentary. Instead of battling negative thoughts, develop and amplify supportive self-talk. Populate your inner world with encouragement and inspiration.
Consider your embodied experience. Do you feel comfortable in your skin? Being at home in your body involves noticing and enhancing how you feel, not how you look. What experiences feel comfortable and enjoyable? For example, you can come home by focusing on the sensory enjoyment of the smell of pine, light of the menorah, holiday music, warmth of a fire or the taste of hot chocolate.
We can also ground ourselves through connections with others. Warm relationships offer shelter from life’s upheavals. By sharing our joys and fears with caring family and friends, we soothe the body and mind. As the saying goes, home is where the heart is – we can find home by noticing where our love resides.
The home of our hearts can also be found in what makes life meaningful. You might find home in your faith. Your values are a compass pointing towards home. When you engage in purposeful action, you arrive home in yourself by aligning the actions of your body and mind with your convictions. You can find home in service for your community.
Finally, home is your physical living space. Your dwelling will feel more comforting when it’s a space for calming your mind and body, fostering connections with your loved ones and pursuing meaningful engagement in your life. But these things can happen anywhere, not just in your house or apartment. By attending to home’s other dimensions, you can make it portable, taking home with you wherever you go.
photo credit: Melanie DeFazio