My friend made this crochet heart for me as a farewell gift when we set off on our travels earlier this year. Little could she possibly know how much it has played an intrinsic part in my journey across oceans, through forests, round and around and back, always, to myself. (Or maybe she did. She’s quite clever.)
Home is where the heart is.
This, I know. I really do.
…as I start my long and winding journey back to my motherland after a not insignificant period of time away, I find myself asking where ‘home’ is for me now.
I’ve come to recognise many things about both myself and the nature of existence these past few months. Some bright days, much of this can feel quite positive! Other mornings, I can wake up and struggle to find much good about myself and I long for sleep to return me to the land of dreams where my living, breathing ego holds no power. Sadly, sleep evades me far more often than I’d like, and so, on these days, I remind myself that nothing is permanent; that this feeling, too, will pass. And it does, always. Eventually.
One thing I have realised is this: having lived in someone else’s house for the majority of our time away, and then stayed in numerous other homes since we left Cape Breton, I realise how important living in a space that not only speaks to me, but speaks of me, is to my general sense of wellbeing. I see that so much of my heart takes comfort in the living space around it – being surrounded by colours, shapes and materials that I can connect with becomes quite crucial to my state of mental health.
I love making home. I love creating beautiful space. And, me being me, I also often question whether this is a good use of my time – should I put so much effort into what things look like? I remember school reports that said “100% for presentation, content could be better.” Both a compliment and critique, then. And, most likely, knowing how uninspiring I found the majority of my educational years, fair enough. I recognise that perhaps I do try to put a lot of effort into how things look – I guess a question I’ve recently found myself asking is: “Do I do this at the expense of developing a depth of understanding behind the presentation?” Am I thinking too much about the ‘home’ and not enough about the ‘heart’? Perhaps.
I have friends who make truly heart-warmingly, soul-nourishingly beautiful homes. Homes that make me feel immediately welcome, loved, happy and inspired. What I now realise, no, what I now know, is that wherever I may go from here, whatever land or place I may seek to call ‘home’ next, I, too, want to create a space where other people enter and feel welcome, loved, happy and inspired. Of course I know that all this has more to do with the heart behind it than the home itself, and believe me, I’m working on that.
What I would MOST love to do in the world is to make our own home from scratch. To create something with our very own hands that is truly unique to us, that speaks of us and who we are in every board that is laid, every beam that is raised. In many ways, it feels an essential part of being human to me – to raise our own dwelling. To find our own place on the land and build our home. On our journey these past months we have met so many people who have done or are doing this very thing, and there is something about it that feels just so right. To mould ourselves into the very place in which we reside, to create somewhere that allows parts of ourselves that are not always easy to find words for to come into being. Surely, this is what we, as human beings, have always done? Just because we have now created a world around us where it is both easier and cheaper not to do so, does not nor should not diminish that instinctual desire.
I know my heart sings when I am in spaces that inspire me. And, I know how affected I am by being in environments that do not speak to me. Yes, yes, there’s that voice inside me that says “It shouldn’t matter where you are, your heart is always the same”, but actually, I disagree. And I know I am not alone in this. We each seek out people and places that call to our souls, whether we are aware of it or not. Some of us can not silence the condemning, critical, negative voices in our heads unless we stand, sit, sleep in places of (wild) beauty. Our own very small island gets more full by the day, it seems. And yet, still I believe we can carve out our own tiny pieces of beauty and serenity in the places where we choose to call home.
So, my main realisation is this: a home is nothing without a heart. And a happy, loving, inspired and open heart can created a happy, loving, inspired and open home.
This, I know.