April is here and, at least for us Floridians, spring is in the air! Already I am feeling the need to clean out closets and clutter, to put away the signs of winter and to welcome new growth and opportunity. I love having the windows open and the fresh air moving through our house.
Recently, my husband and I helped a friend, who had lived in the same small apartment for 40 years, move. In the process of doing this, I became witness to the ways in which we become attached and accustomed to things—the items we find valuable, the habitual way we move through life, the way we always thought things would turn out. In the course of a few days, I saw this person become fearful, angry, grateful and acceptant. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) an easy move for him. Many of us know that, even when our situations aren’t “ideal,” still we find comfort in the routine of things—knowing what is in which aisle at the grocery store, where items are located in our homes, who is likely to wait on us at our favorite restaurant. And when those things are uprooted, it can be unsettling and scary, even when it may be better than before.
For me, looking in from the outside, I couldn’t understand why he had transported so much “useless” stuff—things he didn’t use, didn’t need, didn’t really even want. Yet as I watched him slowly work his way around his new home and place items just so, I realized that he was trying to find home again.
He was trying to find comfort and security and a sense of identity in this new place.
I have never been much of a “holder-on” of things. As a child, we moved so often that no place was home for very long. I learned early on that the stuff we had didn’t make a home. Home was my mom, my brothers and sisters, spaghetti and meatballs, Italian music (or rock-n-roll). Those were the signs of home, and, as long as my family was around, I knew that everything else would fall into place sooner or later. Now, as an adult, I think of what home means to me. It still means family, and it means my husband, John. Last month, we celebrated 27 years of marriage and the creation of “home” for each other. I am so grateful for that.
Margaret Fuller said, “A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.”
Author James Baldwin said, “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
And of course, there is also the old standby, “Home is where the heart is.” Often, I feel very much at home on my yoga mat—centered, calm, happy, and safe. How can it be that home has so little to do with a physical building?
Have you ever wondered what “home” means to you? What (or who) inescapably makes you feel centered, calm, happy and safe? Is it a person, a pet, a location, a treasured keepsake or something else?
Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
In finding home, perhaps we can let our guard down and open ourselves to what is possible. Perhaps we can listen to the quiet voice of wisdom and realize that searching the world over to find ourselves will eventually bring us back to where we started.
Perhaps we can see our stuff as just stuff, and our relationships as the jewels they are—worth more than any item you could buy. As we explore what it means to be human, as we focus on where compassion resides and discover what is important in this lifetime, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are already home.
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.