Home – a definition
As a noun, home is described as being a structural dwelling where one’s domestic affections are centered or an institution for the sick, homeless, etc.: nursing home, homeless shelter, or a retreat for an animal. It is also described in broader terms like “place”, such as a region where something is native or most common, a refuge, a person’s native place or own country.
My Take on “Home”
Whenever I travel or have moved to someplace new, the question of, “where are you from?”, would and still does come up partly as a conversation starter and because of my distinct midwestern dialect. In addition, folks are simply curious and often find commomalities when discussing “home” or “place of birth”.
When thinking about this question more internally and philosophically, I realized that my home is not any one place or dwelling, at least not in the traditional sense.
Not Belonging to Any One Place
I was born and raised in the Midwest, and always felt a weird sense of not belonging. These feelings were initiated early in my shy and awkward youth. As somewhat of a loner, prolific daydreamer and cloud gazer, I would often visualize traveling, living and being in other places.
Recently I was listening to a TedTalk while driving to the Oregon coast and there was a woman discussing how to answer the question of “where’s home?” often posed to her as a current American citizen born in an African country. She has spent most of her life in the United States, but returns to visit Africa and where she grew up. She eloquently stated, after attempting to answer the question truthfully all these years, that she simply believes no one place is her home.
I realized at an early age, that my place of birth was not going to be the place I would be attached to or call home. Yes, it was a dwelling during my younger years, a place where I grew up, but not a place of refuge or a place that would foster my eventual sense of self.
Fostering Sense of Self
Just as the woman in the TedTalk, I prefer to think of myself as citizen of the universe. Absorbing whatever I can wherever I am. Learning to foster my sense of self by moving beyond the boundaries of the traditonal view of what home means. Allowing myself to find refuge and comfort in numeorus dwellings, places, regions, people, relationships.
Where is Home?
Here is a blurb from a writing prompt I did a couple years ago answering the question: Where is my home?
My head is home, what is inside my head, what goes on in my head while I’m doing other things. My head is my home because that is where I think, where I mull around decisions I need to make that are mine and mine alone. Inside my head is where I begin to create, where I turn what I see and experience each moment of the day into something tangible or not. Sometimes those ideas never make it to the canvas or the paper. But they continue to swirl around in my head, my home.
No one can enter my head literally, but they can enter in the side doors, if I allow it. Lately I have been slowly and deliberately letting others participate in what goes on in my head. Opening up my home to others, sharing, collaborating, accepting, rather than keeping those thoughts, ideas, feelings closed off without allowing others to experience them.
Home is Within
There is an Indian belief that everyone is a house of four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual room. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room everyday, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete.
Home is within. It is my physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual dwelling. Within these dwellings is where I can choose to take refuge, create, express, learn, love, seek, and discover.
Home is within and each time I release myself to others there is a sense of comfort, freedom, connection, and compassion. That is what home means to me now. Writing and art are my vehicles of sharing and connecting.
“Nomad in Nature“, 24″ x 18” mixed media monotype. I selected this piece to go with this blog because we are all nomads wandering around our environments searching for, experiencing, discovering our true selves. Our homes are no particular place or dwelling. We are nomads and our home is within us.