Be at Home

Photo credit: Jennifer Blair, my family room

“Everyone is a house with four rooms: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”  —Rumer Godden

I have been thinking about home lately, specifically where I live, work, and play; and the real meaning of not only my physical spaces, but also the people who inhabit those places with me. I currently live alone in Kentucky, having moved here from Texas 28 years ago to marry and raise my family. Divorced many years ago, my children are almost launched—my son has his own home in Louisville; and my daughter stayed in Virginia for summer school and has one more year of college, with aspirations to live abroad or at least, independently.

I must confess, this summer has been difficult as it has been my new reality that my children are really not living here any longer. I love that I have kept their childhood home for them, and it is place for them to come home to. But truth be told, it no longer feels like me. I am in a traditional space but am a more contemporary gal. I would love to live near water but love my friends and community here. So, when it comes to thinking about “ home,” I have been pondering the many aspects that make up a home, the real meaning of a home, and what it has to offer not only me but others as well.

For many people, home is defined by the boundaries of their physical space, or, their actual house. Others consider home to be their birthplace, their hometown or the house they grew up in. Several people deem their dwelling to be their current place of residence and the community in which they participate.  Some people only feel at home when they are connected to a community; and they have created strong bonds with others by making new friends, getting involved as a citizen or volunteer, joining organizations, clubs and churches or synagogues, enjoying the natural landscapes, discovering the city’s cultural opportunities such as the arts, sporting events and great restaurants, and doing meaningful work. And, finally, there are a few who believe they are residents of the world, finding that they are at home wherever they are in any given moment.

So, where do you LIVE? Where do you feel most at home? And if you are lost, exploring or wondering, how do you find your way back to a home base for yourself? Here are some places to start looking….

The Physical Dwelling Your house is the place where you live, your residence. It is the financial investment that is perhaps a mirror of your success and a pay-off your hard work.  By caring for the actual home, keeping it clean and clutter free, making improvements and designing it to your tastes, you create the headquarters for your life.

A Reflection of Emotion & Beauty Create a space that is reflective of you and your personal style. The colors, the textures, the scents, the lighting, the art, and the furnishings all set the tone and mood, and can provoke feelings of comfort, inspiration and joy. How do you want to feel in your space? What do you want to express? And, don’t forget, the objects within bring meaning, and perhaps history, and allow for the further personalization of your space. William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

 A Container for Family Your home is the place to create fond memories and build a rich archive for you, your family and friends. The daily routines, the milestone celebrations, the inevitable yet solvable disagreements, the actual caring of the home and its members, the playful moments, the sharing with friends and neighbors, and the safety and security of the house are all important aspects of building a strong home life. And, your parents or other family member’s homes can be a place to visit or return to.

 A Community Playground Have you experienced the feeling of coming home to familiar people and places by re-uniting with childhood friends or distant family, revisiting your old home or school, or dining at your old favorite standbys that still exist? (Mine is Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth.) Can you find connections to a new community by engaging in its cultural offerings, getting involved in a local cause or joining a church? Being grounded in a community allows you to find meaningful experiences and surround yourself with people who have similar values or interests. Being an island can be lonely, but finding a home community can help you strengthen your home base and build a new, empowered sense of family and self.

 A Sanctuary for Self And finally, home is always a place you feel content within yourself. Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?“I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine, ” wrote Primo Levi. To help you find inner peace, create a special space of your own within your home…a place to be quiet, a place to feel nurtured, a place to reflect, a place to breath, a place to feel your heart beat, a place to be your best, a place to be at home.

 Coaching Questions to Be at Home

  1. Where is your home?
  2. What qualities are important to you about your home…peace, comfort, safety and security? Beauty, family bonding, celebrations, entertaining, and community outreach? Security, business, financial investment, and success?
  3. If lost, uneasy or misaligned, how do you find your way back home?
  4. Do you feel at home in your home, and does your space reflect you, your distinct flair and your family’s personal heritage?
  5. How can you create magic, joy and bliss in and out your home everyday?

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Be he a king or a peasant, he is happiest who finds peace at home.” And, Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote, “Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.” So, whether you are a transplant to your current town, a homegrown city dweller or you have more than one house, you get to create your home to best reflect who you are based on your personal style, as well as meet you and your family’s needs.  But most of all, don’t forget that no matter where you are, home is wherever you are. Lately for me, home has been my yoga mat. Whether you are coming, going, staying, visiting, moving, shifting- YOUR best home is wherever YOU are.