There’s nothing better than arriving home after a long day, time abroad, illness and the like. But what if you don’t have a home?
I am officially homeless and jet lagged and have, again, underestimated the destabilising qualities of both. Humans need a nest, a home, a place to escape from the stressors of the outside world. They also need sleep for mental health.
For the last two years this home body had the best sanctuary for my heart by the sea, a place I inhaled when walking through the front door. It provided solace and comfort and felt like a womb away from the world. I would open it up to those I loved and share the joy, giving each a slice of energetic rejuvenation to take back to their life and home.
Then I gave it up. By choice.
Now I’m half way across the world in a foreign land that speaks the same language as I but with different meaning. My body clock has been thrown into a blender and I have yet to find what humans crave, routine.
Routine in a daily coffee shop with the same smiling faces that know your name, a favourite trail run or walk each morning, a weekly yoga or fitness group, even a supermarket that stocks my favourite vegetables and a home to return to each day with a bed that knows my body. Of course it’s early days, only three to be precise.
When I rid myself of everything I had the only thing left was me. Well, me, and seventeen pairs of shoes. But you get my drift.
External sanctuary is easy, though easier when you know yourself well. Your favourite book placed on a bedside table. Scattered cushions on a lounge moulded to your shape, a hammock in the wind of your garden with pots of basil you have planted yourself. Air BnB know this and have tapped into the travellers need for a ‘living’ home that shows humans have been here over the soulless facade of cookie cutter hotel rooms.
But it’s the internal sanctuary that takes some doing and when you travel that needs to be honed or you may find yourself with life vertigo – acting out in fear, from the voices inside your head with age old story patterns that simply don’t match reality and no good friends that have known you for life to talk you down out of the tree. When times are tough, and they are in life and travel, you need to have a ‘home’ to go to and that home on the road must be a home within.
I have learnt recently, again, that trust and control cannot co-exist. If you trust you are where you are supposed to be in your life, right now, then control becomes redundant. If you control and try to push against the flow and focus on an outcome rather than the moments then trust does not exist.
But with trust comes fear. We learn early on in life that trust is not to be trusted and risk can be terrifying if you fear the unknown. What if it doesn’t work out? Well, what if it does. What if he/she doesn’t love me? Well what if he/she does and it’s amazing. What if I can’t do it? What if you can. What if I look like a fool? Well what if you’re applauded for your vulnerability and courage.
I have also learnt that trust requires an internal acceptance of self and self acceptance takes practice, especially if shame is involved. Self acceptance may not be there all the time. It may come in waves of self gratitude for hours at a time, for days, for weeks, for months but it is human nature to be triggered by external experiences that test that acceptance and the acceptance of others.
That’s when you need to return home. Stop. Breathe. Calm the inner child down with love, only with love, not with berating or anger or more shame. Meditate, hold your inner child, sleep, walk, rest, play, whatever it uniquely takes for you.
The key to the internal sanctuary is to have something there for all elements of who you are, adult and child. To have tools to deal with the inevitable triggers that send us into fear and then control to try to suppress the vulnerability we feel as though vulnerability is shameful.
It’s not. It’s human. You may feel it shameful because you were shamed when you expressed it as a kid.
But creativity and living simply do not exist without it and neither does true connection with those who create a safe environment in your life to explore and share it. Don’t be fooled, it doesn’t always have to be painful or hard it can actually be driven by fun and laughter and joy.
Home is where the heart is may be a cliche but really it’s all you’ve got inside, your heart, so why not visit it for all the comforts you do at home. Especially at 2.00am with jet lag in a hotel room.