This month's exploration centers around "Home" in the physical and spiritual sense. What does it mean to ‘come home’ to oneself?
Our physical homes are reflections of our inner worlds, at times tidy and complete, and sometimes disorganized. How do we create conditions or containers for physical and emotional wellbeing that bolster our spiritual paths? After several months of traveling, defining and redefining ‘home’, I want to share insights into what it feels like to truly come home.
Houses require a lot of care and attention to keep them attractive and functional. But each home is different, it has heart and character created by those who live within it.
How do you define home? Is it a physical space; indoors or outdoors, is it a feeling?
What does it look like, smell like, feel like?
Does it have a texture or a taste?
Often, our homes are places where we take refuge from the outside world; a space to draw into, a safe haven. Having a firm foundation at home allows us to expand further into our communities or work environments because we know where we will rest our heads at night; we know that our basic needs will be met.
How is this true for those who are nomadic or homeLESS?
There are side effects to living without a place of respite and safety. The issue of homelessness exists throughout the world and there are planners creating housing solutions and programs all the time. We may never see a universal solution but we do know that humans need shelter for safety and stability throughout their lives.
Nomadic people live with freedom to go and live where they choose. They also have the burden of carrying their necessities on their back, or animal back, similar to how I carried a 30 pound backpack on my travels. Looking to eliminate not only pounds of weight but ounces, I began to evaluate every item I carried. Did I need each pair of underwear or could I wash them each night? How often would I use my headlamp, compass or hammock? All of the books can be bought again, should I get rid of a few? The tricky part was, I didn’t know where I would go next and what I would need.
In this nomadic moment in life, home changed. Sometimes home looked like a night bus corralling up the Himalayas, bumpy, loud and restless. Other times, home was an airplane. Some of the best homes included the villas at Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre where we were surrounded with jungle and vibrant colors. For a few days I found respite at an ashram in Rishikesh where the daily pooja fed my spiritual soul and the meals were most nourishing.
In Bali I relaxed at a heart-centered yoga retreat with posh accommodations for a week. Then spent a night in a cliff side tent on the top of a volcano mountain, where I chanted the Ganesha mantra for protection from high winds all night; ‘Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha’. Waking up with the sunrise and rolling fog brought understanding and gratefulness to each moment of worry the night before.
In Australia I was invited into the home of a new friend, my Aussie Mom Maree, where she and her family took me in and kept me warm, fed and full of laughter! In Kauai home was with the familiarity of my own family who reminded me of my roots and my infinite potential. Being nomadic makes you feel alive, connected to nature and humanity. Lessons of gratitude, privilege and inner strength are abundant. I remained present, trusted in the unknown and took one day at a time. I dug deep for safety within, vulnerability and love.
So the question is: How do we find home where ever we are, at any stage in life?
On a spiritual journey through yoga we turn inward, using ancient teachings as a compass to discover the divine within ourselves. We begin to notice our belonging and connection with one another through universal consciousness. We see ourselves in others and move beyond judgement and attachment. We realize that we are not our bodies or our minds, but we exist beyond time and space. In this way, we never die. Our sadhana keeps us focused and grounded with a daily practice and reminder that all we have is this moment, one at a time. Paradise is now.
I found what I was looking for; I came Home.
I define home as a space where we can plant seeds and grow roots, where we remember our intrinsic belonging first to ourselves, then to one another. Home is within and everywhere at the same time.
I am happy to be home with our Heart Revival community (that’s you!)
Where There is Light, There is Love,
“Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” Bhagavad Gita
Stay tuned to more posts this month featuring stories from Maddie's adventures across India, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii (transcribed by Brenna Kempf).