What does it mean to be home? What do we consider as a home? Where is home? Some will say that “Home is where the heart is”. But for most, that’s just a metaphorical saying. Being inside owns heart has many interpretations.
Our search for a home begins from the moment that we can sense danger, but not necessarily the kind that can physically hurt us. The sense for hunger, physical discomfort, and emotional discomfort, alert about the need to be safe, seek for shelter. It is in our nature to be cautious about the things that we don’t understand yet and flag them as dangerous for the sake of our survival.
To the young ones, home usually means a parent or an adult they can trust, a guardian that can protect them, provide food and shelter. However, there are times that even when you’re inside your own home, you still feel unsafe, looking for protection.
Children might express aggression when feeling unsafe due to misinterpretation of their environment. For instance, the birth of a new member in the family might trigger this behavior, due to fear of not being taken care of, and loved. On the other hand, children that are shy are also looking to protect themselves by isolating themselves from their environment. However, this behavior is not only apparent in children, but in adults as well. We all seek an emotional shelter.
As we grow up, it seems that the need for an emotional shelter is getting stronger. Our sense of home becomes more and more vulnerable as time goes by. If once we were satisfied with having a guardian, food, and a place to feel safe, now we need much more than that.
Surrounded by thoughts that make us worry and fear, we invest our effort and energy to control circumstance beyond our control, looking for ways to make ourselves feel safer.
Our definition of safety expands beyond protecting only our bodies. We now associate being safe with being in a relationship, having a steady income, being worthy in the eyes of others.
Unintentionally our home is invaded by our thoughts and beliefs that make us fear. However, if we chose to, we can remember that we were the ones that invited all of our guests, by choosing to believe in the things that scared us, by believing that fear is real and then acting on it looking for ways to protect ourselves.
Being safe does not only mean survival, but it also means being comfortable, knowing that you are loved and taken care of. If you ask an average adult when and where he or she feels safe. They are probably going to describe circumstances that involve other people, a lifestyle that they are accustomed to, some repetitive routine, hobby or an addiction. All of those things become an inseparable part of feeling at home, safe.
“Home is where the heart is” – Usually, this saying refers to the things that we consider we can’t live without, so we make them a part of our heart. Then we worry about those things breaking or disappearing from our lives because we depend on them to provide us with love and safety.
We intentionally chose to depend on things that we believe are going to make us safe and happy. The problem is that everything external to us including our body is beyond our control. If you buy a vase and put it in your home, you can’t expect it not to break when it falls. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a vase, appreciate and enjoy its beauty. If it breaks, gets stolen or disappears for a reason unknown to you, it doesn’t mean that you are less safe now, or not loved. A vase in this example can be anything that you are afraid of loosing in your life, that includes your body getting old, and eventually dying.
If you have expectations from someone or something in your life to keep you safe, validate your worthiness, or love you, understand that none of those things can guarantee your wellbeing forever.
The unbreakable, eternal, guaranteed being has nothing to do with our circumstance. It is the heart stripped away from all illusions about the things it seeks protection from. Ready to experience life to its fullest. It doesn’t depend on anything or anyone, so it is free to move anywhere it pleases. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get scared, but when it does, it embraces the fear inside and sees right through the illusion of fear, freeing itself every time.
So to answer the question, what is home to me? I would say – It is not a place nor a specific time, not a thing nor a person, not even a memory. It is the heart that is with me everywhere I go at any time, that makes me feel safe and loved.