You know that feeling you get when you exhale deeply and your body relaxes, and you didn't even realize that you had been so tense up until that moment? Wherever you are when you exhale like that, whoever you are with - that is home.
Although we traditionally think of home as a single structure where all your things reside, it can actually be more than that. It can be your entire neighborhood, your grandma's kitchen, or your own comfy bed. Or for you, home may be your child, your spouse, or any person who makes you feel like you truly and deeply belong here - every single part of you, not just the pleasant ones.
Sadly, sometimes the house one lives in doesn't feel like a safe and secure place to call home. We recently learned that a close relative lived in such a place. He shared with us that he had lived in constant fear whenever he stepped outside of his old apartment. It is heartbreaking to know this, because one of our basic human needs is safety. To feel safe, that is to feel a sense of security, order, law, stability, protection from the elements, and freedom from fear is one of the pillars of happiness. Persistent fear and anxiety changes who you are. They can particularly affect a child's learning and development. It is such a relief to know that our loved one is now in a new home and is safe. He is smiling once again, that same beautiful smile we remember from when he was a toddler.
The affection and relaxation we feel in our homes, and the passage of time there, strengthen our attachment to the places that we live. Because our physical surroundings play such an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organization in our lives, it is not surprising that our sense of the place we live is closely tied to our sense of who we are. A strong attachment to your home results in greater satisfaction and expectations of future stability in that place.
I am eternally thankful for the safe, welcoming and loving community and home that we have built here. It is our home that provides us safety and warmth. I'm reminded of that every single time I enter my home, put down my bag, feel my shoulders relax, and feel my body release any stress I've carried that day. That is, until my husband and all four of our children demand and/or complain about something at the exact same time. ;)
Home is where the Heart is.
Happy Valentine's Day.