“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
~ Sarah Dessen,
Did you read my post about the energies of October? Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:
“October is a month for nestling and cocooning. For finding and nurturing that sense of belonging. For doing the things that fill your heart with gladness, peace and contentment. It’s a month for working away on projects that have meaning for you, for quiet time and family time. It’s the perfect month for anything to do with heart and home.”
After the post went up I was flooded with emails and messages from people who are not living at home right now, or who travel a lot, or for whatever other reason are feeling displaced. The message below pretty much sums up the sentiment of all that correspondence:
Your October post brought tears to my eyes because I just moved to xxxxxx last week and feel anything but a sense of home and belonging. Physically I have a lovely house to live in but am struggling to feel settled and at peace with so much to adjust to. Am reaching out to try and make relationships and connections, I guess these things all take time! And I know that once I do start to feel like I belong here my PhD work will naturally flow out of that. If you have any special tips I would love love love to hear them xx
Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. So, how do you create an energy so that you can feel at home wherever you are? I have a few tips for that.
- If you travel a lot make a small grab bag of a few significant items. I have an old medicine bag that a dear friend gave me back at university. No matter where I have gone within Australia or the wider world I take this bag. Inside it are my meditation shawl, my journal, a deck of oracle cards, my runes, and a crystal or two. This supports my daily spiritual habits. Each day I journal, pull a card, and meditate. I can wrap myself in the shawl for comfort, even if I am not meditating, and the things that are important to me are kept close. When I lay these things out I am at home, wherever I am.
- Have a ritual that feels like home, and keep that ritual as part of your daily routine. It might be a simple yoga or tai chi practice on the floor beside your bed. It might be going jogging. It could be checking facebook over a cappuccino at a local cafe. Rituals anchor us and centre us, no matter what is going on around us.
- Make sure you feel safe where you are. If you can’t feel safe you can’t relax. If where you are staying doesn’t feel safe to you, then maybe it’s time to find somewhere else to call home. Set personal boundaries too, and get time on your own. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to close the door on the world every now and then.
- Make some playlists, and use music to bring you back to that place of inner peace.
- Create new relationships. When we travelled to Italy a few years ago we bought a coffee at the delicatessen on the corner near our apartment every morning. Within a week we were being greeted like locals. Take a chance and say hi to people. Connect where you can. Community gives us a sense of home and belonging as much as a personal space does.
- Take a hobby with you. It might be knitting, or writing, or sketching. Keep a small bag of items that support your hobby, and then spend time each day nurturing that interest.
- Food can also be a great anchor, especially when travelling or living in unfamiliar places. Many Australians I know go abroad with a jar of vegemite for their morning toast. My lovely writer friend travels with her favourite teapot and tea leaves, as well as whatever story she is working on.
- Decorate your room in your own taste. Maybe it’s a quilt you love, or a poster of your favourite band. When I travel I often pick flowers for my room, or make a small altar with leaves and found objects. Do you have a favourite mug? Take it with you. It’s okay to have an item that acts like a personal talisman of home.
- Give yourself time to acclimatise to wherever you are. When something is unfamiliar of course it will feel strange or alienating. Go for a stroll. Take in the sights. Get your bearings.
- Scent can anchor you too. You might choose a brand of soap, or a body lotion, cologne or perfume that provokes feelings of nurture and comfort. Some people use essential oils or incense. A little lavender essential oil on my pillow at night helps me to get a good night’s sleep even if I am not in my own bed.