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Home Is Where The Heart Is...

I recall once consoling a friend that was upset that her parents were selling the family home, the home she had grown up in since birth and lived in until her late 20's. She had taken her first steps in that home, left that home for her first day at school, brought her first boyfriend into that home. It held many memories and provided a secure place in which she could 'be'. That place where she could just, 'aaahhh'.

What struck me at the time was how little I was able to fully identify with that sense of loss. As far back as I could remember I have never had a 'home' in the same sense of the word. I have lived in many different places throughout my life. Various 'family' homes up until 8 years old, then I lived between both my divorced parents houses, back and forth, back and forth. Into my older years I moved around a great deal and continued this learned nomadic lifestyle, I lived in other countries for a short time, lived with various people, slept in spare rooms, on sofas, on floors - never really having a place that I could positively identify as 'home'.

This would bug me for a number of years. I felt resentment, frustration and envy toward those that were settled, that had a place they could positively call home.

Then something changed, a few years ago I spent a prolonged time sofa surfing and staying with various friends. It was around the time I began to meditate regularly. When my friends would head off to bed I would set up my cushion and just sit and use what little time I had to just sit. During the height of my roaming you might think this desperate sense of homelessness might take it's toll, and it nearly did. Yet, one evening whilst sitting I was struck with a realiziation that changed the way I viewed or defined 'home'. What I suddenly understood, clear as day was that I was always at home. No matter where I was, no matter the circumstances, no matter the appearance, I was always at home.
You could say what changed was my definition of home. We are often associating home with a geographic location, a particular building, memories of the past, people, or circumstances and conditions that allow us that brief moment of relief from all of life's troubles. That moment when we just sink into being. Just sink into 'aaaahhhh'.

My definition was free from all these conditions and instead meant that for the first time, I felt fully comfortable and content right where I was. Home became less specific than any external factors and became a state of mind or being. Home was here. Wherever here might happen to be. I had never left home I just had so many ideas that I felt needed to be fulfilled in order to feel at home that I missed what truly feeling at home was.

~ Michael McCaffrey


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