I write these words while sitting by the window in my new home in the tiny village of Alt Karin. Since January I moved part-time to this beautiful shared-house in the countryside and it already feels like home. This feeling of warmth I have in my chest and sense of being welcome here, however I am, is precious, it’s not something granted.
I came to realize that feeling truly at home is much more than what it may seem at first. As a kid, as we kept moving apartments, I quickly realized that my home was not related to one physical place. At that point being home was about being with my mom – the adult most present in my life loving and caring for me.
However when she got sick, I could not rely on her constantly, so the idea of home expanded. I learned that there were many places in nature where I felt at home. For instance in these moments when I ventured out with a friend to the river side. We would play with stones, observe the reflection of the trees in the water, and find secret passages between boulders. When I was out there, in nature, I could just be as I was and felt cared for by the environment surrounding me. I had this sense that I belonged there, I felt home.
Realizing that I felt at home on Earth, in nature, gave me a lot of strength as I grew up. Somewhere deep in myself I knew that whatever may happen around me, I could always go out to the forest, hike on a mountain, or sit by the lake, and I would feel at home again. I knew that whatever was going on I would be fine. Calmness and joy would find their way back to me over time.
As I grew up, during my day to day life, I mostly did not feel “at home” though. I believed that I have to adapt, conform, function, “fit in”. I learned to act in accordance with what society defined as “good” and “bad”. I did what was socially accepted and expected of me in order to “gain the right ” to be in a place and with a group of people.
The habit of judging everything around me as good or bad penetrated my way of looking at the world so deeply, that I started judging myself and my body harshly. For years I hated myself and my body for not being as “it should be”.
The cost I paid to fit in, is that I started losing the connection to a deeper knowing, my inner voice, my intuition. As I didn’t hear her I was able to push myself to work harder and longer, while running behind ideals. It seemed a great skill to have as a passionate social entrepreneur until I overstepped my boundaries and crashed.
I had to harm myself, get physical injuries, in order to stop running. As I was forced to take a break from “doing”, I felt pain, was lost, clueless. Until I started to question many things I took for granted. Over time through the questions came also the answers.
I started coming back to my “inner knowing”, as well as to inhabit my body, as a physical, organic home, which allows me to experience the World. I stopped seeing my body as a machine that had to function and perform, which was beautiful or ugly. As I came back home to it I could hear my inner guidance again. I did intuitively know what was good or not good for me, independently from society’s expectations.
As I felt at ease with myself and my body, I had my own inner compass to make decisions and society’s expectations became secondary. I did not believe anymore that I needed to “prove myself” in order to “have the right” to belong to a group of people. Something drastically switched in my ability to connect with people.
I did not have to put a lot of energy in trying to please what I thought people expected of me, but had a lot of free “mind space” I could use to listen to the other person and tune in to “their world”. When it felt right I shared what was happening in my own “inner world”, what I cared about, and what moved me. I started connecting in a different way. One that felt authentic, one in which I could be fully myself and did not have to hide some parts of me.
Through this way of interacting, I started meeting more and more people, deeply caring about similar things as I did. During such conversations, my heart would get excited and start jumping in my chest. I would feel like a dog meeting an old friend. And I would have the sense that we belong to the same “tribe”.
The feeling I had for many years of not fitting in the consumerist mainstream and being lonely with my idealistic ideas about how to transform society into one that sustains life started becoming less present. My longing for being part of a community understanding me faded.
As my way to relate with people changed, I did not have to get out and search for “the right people” I could “belong to” anymore. Relationships developed organically with their own timing everywhere I went. A net of heartfelt connections started growing naturally. Until I realized that I felt part of many different groups of people and places. It was as if through my ability to connect in a new way to myself, I was able to build heart to heart connections with the people around me. I had found the way home to my people.
In my experience coming home to ourselves, to each other and to the earth implies a new way of being and belonging to the World, which I find quite revolutionary. When do you feel home? In which phase of your revolutionary journey are you?