Once upon a time, I knew exactly how it felt to be home, sweet, home. My vision of that place in time and space was very clear. It was defined by the shape of a backyard, the dimensions of a house, and the placement of surrounding trees and shrubbery. What mattered most, however, were the loved ones who were waiting there to share together, live together, and love together.
I was home. And home was sweet.
The faculty of memory added important details; such as the familiar sound of the back door being opened, the feel of warm air rising from the airtight stove in the basement, the view of a pink setting sun from the back windows. In the summer, the smell of freshly-cut grass, and in the winter, the look of the neatly shoveled driveway, gave rise to a sense of orderly structure; that all was right with the world. Home was as it was supposed to be. It was where I belonged; the place in which I could relax, let out a sigh of relief, cry or laugh, vent or play. I was home. And home was sweet.
However, the wheel of life is always turning; even if the individual spokes of its movements are imperceptible. One day has a way of appearing identical to the next in the seamless flow of a week. Be aware. In my case, that home, which represented a safe place still stands, but our family has fallen. It has taken time and a great deal of introspection to heal the wound. On the positive side, the experience has provided the fertile ground out of which new and healthier definitions of home and self have grown.
Looking back, I am now keenly aware that my definition of home was sorely naive and extremely narrow.
To me, home represented that special place in my heart that kept the bad of the world on the outside, and the good inside. My naivety also trickled into who I actually believed myself to be. Then, I was the man who was this tall, that weight; the guy with a name and various roles to play, all in varying degrees at various stages. That person was almost completely rooted in the physical plane and constricted by words, roles, and concepts.
The dissolution of my home life dramatically changed how I defined myself. As though on its own, a new “I” organically emerged with a sense of self that is more expansive. Now, I realize that I am part of eternal consciousness. The previous I who resided in that place with walls that provided the illusion of security has almost vanished. He shows his face far less frequently these days; perhaps on holidays and birthdays, when I catch a glimpse of his shadow as he searches for solace in brick and mortar, a yard, and family.
Roles are often reluctant to die, but die they must; for as the wheel of life turns, it reveals more of our essential nature. Change is always in the air; fragrant with the richness of our eternal nature. All we have to do is stop, be present, and breathe it in. Our strength is in our flexibility; not in our rigidity. We must learn to bend. Now, I am more comfortable with accepting life on its terms; I realize that home, sweet, home is wherever I am; it includes this entire world—cosmos, galaxy, and distant suns—wrapped as Oneness. In I Am-ness, there is neither desire to keep anyone out; nor need to keep anyone in. As inclusivity increases, boundaries dissolve and everyone is welcomed as family.
Please come and visit one day. We can sit on the veranda, sip iced tea, and listen to crickets on a summer eve. We can talk or remain quiet. We can arch high on the backyard swing, or lie back in the hammock. We can celebrate our imaginary victories, or mourn our illusory losses. Perhaps a pacing dog will bark at a stray cat that’s meowing at the moon, and we’ll feel a glorious and peaceful connection to all three. Maybe we’ll even spot a falling star and muse about our lessons learned…thus far.