Home. What does HOME mean to you?
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
Notes from the pillow hug.
‘Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it's not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you've been to’ ― Hugo Hamilton, The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood
Yes, this year has been a long journey so far! Starting it with my amazingly beautiful wedding in Chile, a divorce after a month, a transformational immersion – yoga teacher training in the Sacred Valley of Peru, highly energetic and exciting experiences in a warm and happy community in Cusco, Peru, rediscovery of my home country and my city of origin Sofia, staying there a whole month after the last six years of living in the Netherlands, sun and beach in a private island in Croatia, exercising my new profession of a yoga teacher, and who knows what is coming up…
A year of reflection, decision-making, lot of love & yoga, reconsideration of ideas of the self, reconstruction of concepts of love and relationships…
And after all that, it is time to go home.
But where is home?
Or what is home?
Home. What does ‘home’ mean?
Very often home is associated with a sense of safety and security: a familiar physical place into which we can withdraw to escape from the fragmentation of the dynamic world around us. It is believed by many people to be the place where they were born and grew up, or a place they spent most of their lifetime, which frames their sense of home within national boundaries, and therefore within a national identification, or simply within a physical place.
Home can also be understood as a state of mind, where we can retreat from an eventual decentralization of our subjectivity and from troubling political and social realities. If home is to be considered not a physical place but a subjective experience, we can think of the constructions of our identities as built upon a sense of what it means to be at home in human life.
If we accept the above-mentioned layers of meaning invested in the sense of home and observe our lives, the changes we experience, passing from one life stage to another, growing and transforming ourselves, the following questions will arise:
- Is home a source of sameness, safety and security? Why not think of home as a structure of change and transformation?
Considering home a physical place lying within national boundaries, we can ask ourselves – what happens when one is flowing in this world, motivated by the conditions that globalization and new technologies provide him/her/it? The wave of digital nomad culture is a great testimony of new (maybe not so new anymore) ways of living. Are people living nomadically in need of having a physical place to call home or are they bringing their home with on the road?
“If feelings of warmth and security set the context for building a home in the space between determinacy and innovation, the ultimate challenge may be to feel at home in change while making a home of our fate.” (James A. Tuedio, Thinking about home: an opening for discovery in philosophical practice.)
This brings us to the second meaning invested in the sense of home – home as a subjective experience, which forms our personal identity: a subjective experience that does not rely upon any political or geographical constellations, as it is one that can be brought with us everywhere in the world – or it can occur in the same physical place one spends their life at.
Let us ask ourselves: why not consider this locus of identification, this sense of belonging, this space called home a base for transformation itself, why not think of home as a subjective construction that lies upon change?
As change features fluidity and relative boundaries, can we think of this transformational essence of our identity, of our subjective construction, of our sense of home – as conflictual? J. Tuedio suggests that it is located at the nexus between ‘immanence’ and ‘transcendence’, between ‘familiarity’ and ‘difference’, between ‘nostalgic security’ and ‘transformative growth’.
And what if the inner interplay between ‘safety’ and ‘discovery’ is immanent to our self? What if the construction of our self is based upon the oppositional relationship between our wish to have a place called home/a ground, and a desire to go beyond our comfort zone? Moreover, is this exposure to openness a danger for our grounding, for our orientation and centered subjectivity? Stepping outside of our comfort zone is usually a scary enterprise, which, on the other hand, brings the best life experiences and expands our horizon…but what happens if we lose, forget or become unable to recreate our comfort zone again due to our expanded visions as a result of this jump beyond?
If we associated the sense of home with the formation of personal identity, then we can question what happens with our subjectivity? Does it become fragmented and decentered, and how does it not? Of course, accepting changes and enjoying them is an essential part of challenging ourselves, stepping away from the known and growing – personally and spiritually. But how do we find home again?
Embracing sameness/difference as part of our identity, and, further, letting this internal dichotomy encounter the external space, where our ego negotiates and renegotiates its being with others, would allow ourselves to rest in acceptance. Through acceptance we could honor our dichotomy of security/discovery and acknowledge our inner wisdom. Reconnecting with our inner self, we can find the sense of safety within, we can find the safety space that is our home within ourselves.
As a yoga practitioner, as well as a yoga teacher now, I could share that yoga practice has been my way of finding home. Allowing our body to be in a pose, we create space that allows it to feel safe, finding the sense of safety within.
And yes, home is where our heart is, within ourselves.
Belonging to ourselves.