Home Is Where The Heart Is
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.“ – Maya Angelou
I want to talk about that feeling of being “at home,” since I’ve been spending a lot of time visiting the place where I grew up. I invite you to join me on this journey of coming home and explore ways in which it can strengthen you, just as it has for me.
This visit has helped me rediscover who I am, who I want to be, and who I am becoming. It is giving me the opportunity to create myself anew in this ever-changing world so that I can continue to live the happiest of lives and make an impact as a coach, parent, sister, friend, and citizen. In my years as a coach, I have found that every human being has a deep desire to have this feeling of being “at home,” which often translates into experiencing a deep sense of belonging. Some people fulfill this desire by starting a family; others find a home in their careers, communities, or in their religion. There is no right or wrong. An individual’s sense of feeling at home is made up of a variety of elements.
Fall is a period of transition. Someone once told me that the Creator of the World made fall and spring seasons so beautiful to teach humanity that transitions aren’t bad, even though they often can feel that way in the moment. As we go through this fall transition and look towards a new year, I’ve been looking inward and asking myself three questions:
Where is home?
How do you feel about your home?
What do you need to change so you feel at home more often?
Most people would describe home as a physical place where they currently live or grew up. The physical concept of home expands when you talk about social integration: friends, work, spiritual/religious community. In our minds, we mix it all together, but home is not just a physical location. It’s where our friends, work, or place of worship are, as well as all the other things that are a part of our lives. Research confirms that most business executives on relocation assignment fail, due to their family’s inability to integrate socially. While the executive is busy with his or her job, the family struggles and fails to integrate. They ultimately want to return home (the place of familiarity) due to daily stress and anxiety.
In our minds, bodies, and hearts, we relate to home in many different ways. Food can remind us of home; so can certain places, people, or conversations. I recently walked by my old elementary school and saw the place where my friends and I played catch for four years. I walked across the street and recognized the old shoemaker we visited on a second-grade field trip who is still there. These memories brought me back to a feeling of home.
Several years ago, during a conversation with a coaching client, I realized that our true home and the home we look for can only be found… inside ourselves. My client lived in a great house in the mountains with her loving family and had a job that gave her time to exercise, meditate, and travel. But she was miserable. She was unable to appreciate all of this beauty because she was filled with self-judgment, low self-esteem, and worry that she would lose it all.
“Home is where we feel good that the heart itself is true.”
It took a while for her to see that her true home was really inside of her and that belonging and feeling loved was something she needed to believe in in order to experience. Once she could let go of her old beliefs, heal past memories, and move from judgment to acceptance, she was able to enjoy her life in a whole new way.
This year I will be in my hometown (in Germany) for the Jewish High Holidays which is a religious and cultural “restart” for those that celebrate it. I am usually in Israel with my child, but sadly this worldwide pandemic has made it impossible for him to come to Germany. However, I am celebrating important inner victories, specifically my renewed relationship with my family. I am proud to have made the time to heal old wounds and create new and happy experiences by practicing letting go, trust, and loving-kindness.
I am more authentic than I’ve ever been before, making me feel more at home with myself. When I sit back in the evening and reflect, I feel that I’m doing exactly what my heart is telling me to do.
The expression “home is where the heart is” or “home is where we feel loved” can be expanded to include “home is where we feel good that the heart itself is true.” Our home is our true self. When we are solidly rooted in our home, home can be anywhere we feel good.
Where is home; how do you feel about your home; what do you need to change so you feel at home more often? These questions may make you feel uncomfortable or anxious. It takes courage to find your true home and enjoy it once you find it. But the goal for us all is to be able to match feeling good about where we are and feeling at home in our heart.
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