Is it? Just because I am here, does it mean I am home? And what is this location referring to--is it my mental or physical position? By definition, home is a noun--a place you can pin-point on a map, get directions to, and describe in length/width/height. Yet, I undoubtedly feel home is something more. It cannot be measured the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, windows, doors, or square footage. It's not simply identifiable via coordinates of longitude and latitude. To me, the word "home" is much more of an adjective; a way to describe how we feel. The word "home" elicits feelings of comfort, support, and love. I can feel the word radiating from my heart.
home (noun) \ hōm \
the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
- synonyms: residence, place of residence, house, apartment, flat, bungalow, cottage
Our body's prism is our actual home. We are spiritual beings dwelling in a physical body, which we often mistakenly identify as ourselves, forgetting we are deeply something more (a soul; a spirit). Our physical body is surrounded by our immediate environment (our house/apartment, office, car, etc.), which is a mere speck in the universe. This immediate environment, in the grand scheme of things, plays no true role in our mental state. Rather, our biased, past experiences with these places establish its meaning and elicit our emotional connection with our environment. When in a new place, all of our senses are heightened to bring awareness to our bodily reactions. We are not simply THERE as a bystander, but we are experiencing the place. We are smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling. In our daily environments, we connect past experiences, emotions, and our current state of mind to create associated reactions. We create a repertoire of memories associated with these places, and some memories produce heartfelt sensations of a deep, true quality. I can feel what it's like to walk into my Nana and Nonno's house because of my past associations with family gatherings and holidays. It makes me feel like home. I can picture every detail so clearly and feel its meaning without being present. This is what it's like to feel at home. This is what it's like to establish connections with a place.
I don't believe a location has permanent association with this elated feeling. It can change given various circumstances. For some time, living in my own apartment in South Florida has been refreshing. I've been able to walk into my own apartment after a day of work and decompress without interruption. I've created my own home where I feel free and completely myself. My walls are a mirror of my life, my passions, and my limited reality. Somehow, despite the significance of this place I've created, I have felt disconnected for some. It does not feel like home. It does not FEEL like it does to walk into my house in New York, greeted by my family (be it my parents or brothers). It does not FEEL like family dinner where we talk about our days, maybe have a few arguments, and clean the table together. It does not FEEL like a goodnight kiss. It does not FEEL like the security of knowing I am with people who love me unconditionally. I recognize this is a fleeting lack in my apartment. It has not eternally lost all associations with the feeling of "home," but nothing has been able to fill the void of my true home--the place where my life began, and where a piece of my heart will forever remain.
"Home is wherever I'm with you."
Maybe, then, the people that create our "home" are more significant than the physical place. Don't we feel at home when we're held close by a loved one? Don't we feel at home when passing turkey and hot apple cider to our family at Thanksgiving dinner? Don't we feel at home when snuggled by the fireplace on a cold winter's day, cooking a meal together, sharing a bottle of wine while watching the sunset, holding hands while walking, or just being with those we love? This feeling of togetherness is more synonymous with home than any infrastructure could possibly contain. The people we surround ourselves with give our physical location meaning. They give us our home.
Isn't it only appropriate that the word OM is encompassed within hOMe? The connection of HOME with our SPIRIT is deeper than we think...
I can't wait to be... no wait, FEEL at... HOME.