Return Home to Yourself

There's no place like home. Our familiar safe space, a shelter in which we can relax and rest. The word itself - home - can bring many different associations, vibrant memories, and diverse definitions. 


For some, 'home' is a suburban house in which they spent their childhood years. It unlocks old flashbacks in their full richness: the kitchen where mum would cook dinner, the specific shape and color of the mailbox, the room that used to be shared with an older brother, perhaps a garden where dad would make a barbecue during summer or the attic filled with random heirlooms and too many boxes… 


For others, ' home' brings to mind more of a metaphorical association: a value of unconditional love and support, which we give and receive from the family members and loved ones. A home, in this case, is more about this shared sense of belonging. 


What if you are home to yourself? Have you ever thought of this idea? 


When we look closely and observe the natural world around us, it seems like a true home can be found wherever we want it to be. Let's take birds as an example. These animals know exactly what they need to feel at home. They make their nests anywhere they want, which gives them so much freedom as a result. 


Our bodies, minds, and souls are already our homes, whether we are conscious of it or not. We carry them with us always, and we spend 100% of our time with them.


When we nurture the body, the mind, and the soul, we thrive. We have the power of calming and grounding ourselves. We can create a home by returning to the essence of who we are, by honoring ourselves. 

The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.

Let's look at this quote with the "I am my own home" mindset. In that case, leaving home is going outside of yourself, shifting your attention outside of your body, mind, and soul. We do that every day, really.


We are mostly busy during the day with our jobs and never-ending to-do lists, and leaving home can, indeed, feel good. We can be productive - we get things done. It's not only satisfying, but it also gives us a sense of accomplishment. 

On the other hand, we have the act of coming back home, which can be interpreted as coming back to ourselves. The return of attention to the self, the remembrance of our essence. We don't do that too often, right? Our focus is, in the big part, external. It can feel like society doesn't stress the importance of checking in with ourselves. A way to come back home, to our inner shelter, can be a mindful ritual that, by its nature, makes us prioritise the present moment. 


Norman Fischer, a poet, author, and Zen Buddhist teacher, says that "spiritual practice in all its manifestations is the practice of coming home (…) the journey of return to who we really are", and I couldn't agree more. When we go into the outside world, we have our jobs and tasks to do, which require us to fit into many socially imposed roles. As a result of that we disconnect from the core of who we are little by little. That's why I believe it is so important to come back.


When we do, we can let go, release ourselves, and permit ourselves to live freely in our most authentic form


We're already equipped with everything we need to celebrate our inner homes. With all their intricacies and mysterious ways of being, human bodies work on their own without us realising it. Our hearts keep on beating, and our blood keeps on pumping through the veins. Establishing awareness in the body by just sitting, breathing, observing the sensations, and witnessing whatever arises is enough. With each inhale, we renew the life that buzzes inside us, and with each exhale, we let go of life


After all, human life begins with an inhalation and ends with an exhalation.


Another interesting thought on the topic of a home was unraveled to the world by Maya Angelou in her book "Letter To My Daughter". In the first chapter, titled (yes, you guessed it) "Home", she presented her personal theory that no one ever leaves home and everything attached to it; the good, the bad, and the ugly. She wrote:

I am convinced that most people do not grow up; we find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry an accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.

It's such a pleasure to read her words! Beautifully put together, the essence of an old truth, ancient wisdom. I also believe that we never really leave home. We carry it because home is what is inside us - "a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do", Angelou goes on. 


That is exactly why taking care of ourselves is so important. It is where we truly belong. Each of us wakes up in the morning with a choice of either being a stranger to oneself or a best friend. I invite you to choose the latter. Choose to treat yourself with self-kindness and self-compassion. It doesn't matter if you practice that in the morning, in the middle of the day, or the evening - try to squeeze an intimate moment with yourself even (or especially) in the busiest, most hectic days. A way of returning home can be a mindful ritual like burning incense or a relaxing meditation with a linen eye pillow.

To sum up, I left the best for the end…


One of my favorite writers, Gregory David Roberts, touched on the subject of home more than once in his excellent book "Shantaram", which I truly recommend to every single person out there. It has the power to transform lives as it did mine. 


The main character, Lin, found the feeling of home in the city of Bombay, which he fell in love with. All of the colors, spices, buildings, bursting busyness of the city, the energy of constantly moving crowds from one place to another, people of different ethnicities, their struggles and their stories absolutely charmed him:

Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate, and it’s the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It’s the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. It’s the sea’s blue skin-smell, no matter where you are in the island city, and the blood metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and the waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and love that produces courage. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches, and mosques, and of hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers.
That smell, above all things - is what welcomes me and tells me that I have come home.

What is it that welcomes you and tells you that you have arrived home? Is it the moment of crossing the doorstep of your house? Is it the act of sitting down in your favorite chair and having a cup of tea? Maybe it's your special mindful ritual…


Don’t be shy and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published