Seeking home

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Home. For some it’s the beach, the mountain or the smell of a clean sheet. For some it’s a meadow, a valley or the smell of the leaves after the rain. For some it’s traditions, the aroma of baking bread or the sound of family waking up underneath the same roof. For some it’s a place, while for others it’s a feeling. Home is an interesting concept. As a child – home was my nuclear family, the house in which I grew up, the only street on which I lived and the town to which I was associated. Home was a short walk from the high school, down the block from the youth group, twenty minutes from the beach and about an hour from sleep away camp. Home was the people, an address, an abode, a town and a state to which I referred when introducing myself. Damn, a lot has changed.

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I’m not sure the question of ‘what does home mean to you’ comes up in the everyday conversation while sipping hot chocolate at your local Starbucks. Sure, out on an adventure somewhere in the world, surrounded by other travelers seeking a similar question – it might pop up more often, but in those day to day situations of walking to yoga, going to work, heading out to dinner or saying hello to strangers at the market or on the trail – does it come up on a regular basis? Probably not. For me, it’s been a question to which I’ve been seeking the answer. I’m not sure the answer will ever be a full constant or one that’s stagnant, but I’m still seeking.

Slide1Surrounded by many with different views on how to live, how to work, how to raise a family, what to treasure and what dreams to have, I am certain that the ‘what does home mean to you’ answer varies. I’m also certain that there’s no one right answer to this challenging question and for some reason, I truly believe that throughout a lifetime, for each person, the answer changes  – mine has without question, shifted.

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In these last few months, many have given us advice and shared their stories. Throughout actively listening to them and to ourselves, I think I’m closer to the answer to ‘what does home mean to me’, right now. As my friend Jacqueline tells me, I have the right to change my mind at any time – so, I know that answer might be different in a few days, weeks, months or decades. But for now, I think I’m comfortable with saying that for me, ‘home’ might not mean one particular thing or one brick and mortar locale.

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The husband and I feel lucky to have many places around the world in which we are comfortable, feel loved and welcomed, have favourite spots to revisit, have family and friends we can’t wait to see and places we’re happy to plop ourselves for a moment or a timeframe. I’m sure part of ‘home’ will always be the towns, cities and spaces where we grew up and the ones in which our families still reside, but there might be another concept beyond the bricks and mortar and post codes – one we can find, cultivate and reach for in those moments of need. These past few months (even years) have taught me more lessons than I expected. Looking inward, seeking peace, channeling that authentic self, and choosing happy are many of them, and perhaps, to that, I can add the idea of ‘seeking home’.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to roam – I still do. The art of traveling, seeing new sights, seeking new paths, meeting new people, following a new journey – I love that. Perhaps that ‘seeking home’ idea is to find much of that wherever you are or seek out a location that gives you much of that on a more daily basis. I don’t think I ever thought home could be something more than a place – but at this point in life, to me, seeking home, might mean more of a feeling than an actual brick and mortar spot. Those natural elements that I so deeply crave are present, the sense of adventure at a moment’s notice is there, significant people who lift us up are available, the healthy atmosphere and warmth of the sun is ever present and the ease necessary to focus on ones authentic self is showcased in the every day – these are such big facets of the ‘home’ I seek.

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So, I continue to seek, yet, for the first time, I feel a bit more grounded, and a bit more sure that as long as I can hold the hand of the one I love in a space where we feel that ease, that grace, that peace, that warmth, that calm, that lift, that joy and that authenticity – the seeking outward can ebb for awhile and the seeking inward can continue. I’m secure in planting my feet for awhile knowing that that seeking is in me, and that the process of continuing to enjoy and focus on living authentically will continue (I think my Dad would be happy with that). My home will always be where there’s warmth of sunshine, love of family (related and chosen), laughter of friends, ease, access, sandy beaches, places of happy, yoga mats, adventure, a nearby airport for those needed escapes, frozen yoghurt, chocolate and avocados. Care to join me?

 

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Finding healing spaces along a bumpy road

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Since the early days of December – it’s seemed as if the world has been spinning on its axis and we definitely feel as if it’s about to fling us off to a bumpy stop or crash landing on direct impact. If I could raise my hand and ask the ride conductor to slow it down and let me off, I would – but I’m not sure that’s how this ride goes. So, we’re taking a chance, standing on the ledge and going to make the jump before we get spit out and have no idea how many bumps, bruises and broken everything we’ll have along the way. I’m trusting that in one way or another a net will appear – but with or without the security – we’re leaping. Read the rest of this entry

Horcruxes, hindsight and happiness

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Prior to diving into a relationship with the world of Harry Potter, horcruxes and dementors were never part of my vocabulary. The creative juices of JK Rowling changed that and so much more. She added terms like hippogryphs and alohamora, wands and wizardy, put a face and voice to those things that go bump in the night, lent a figure to those things that suck out our happiness and always showed that although there might be great struggle, somehow good will triumph. Her boggarts and dementors were fairly shapeless yet the idea of their makeup held steadfast – their design is to suck the happy – somehow we’ve all encountered one or two in our lives. Read the rest of this entry

Growth in a cup of coffee

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Travel has always been my vice. A friend of mine used to tell me that the reason she thought I loved travel was that it took me away from the reality of the everyday. She knew I loved the adventure but wasn’t certain that the day-today minutiae was for me (even though she knew that at the time I adored my profession). Needless to say, that from the beginning of my teaching career (and for many years prior to it and since) I booked a holiday for every break we had. Summers were spent working, but school breaks were meant for holiday relaxation. Read the rest of this entry

Shifts and lessons

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List after list exists dictating the ten most stressful life events; turns out we’ve got at least four going on simultaneously. The death of a loved one, starting a new job, relocating, searching for a spot to stay – choose your words, oy vey, oofdah, holy sh*t or whatever works for you; needless to say there’s a lot of ‘life’ going on at the moment. My friend Kris said, ‘at worst it’s a movie plot’ and my friend Stacey said, ‘your life is always an adventure’ – I imagine they’re both right. But damn, there are a lot of balls in the air at the moment and – I’m thinking at least one is bound to smack me in the head at any moment.

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In search of santosha

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I think I’ve been on a constant journey with twists, turns, caverns, mountains, potholes, valleys, deserts and beaches. There’s no way my fifteen, twenty or even thirty year old self could conceptualize this winding path and I imagine each of those moments were significant steps along the way. It’s shifted gears, changed direction, sought guidance, considered progress, gotten stuck and reached for paths unknown, but where it’s going is anyone’s guess. Read the rest of this entry

Living in the in between

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Here we are in the in between. Those moments of everyday that we might not think will be the ones we talk about later – these are those. With the insanity of December madness behind us and the future of another blank slate in front of us – we’re in the in between. The days (like all others) that we do our best to make the most count, find the most joy, get stuck and get unstuck, giggle, cry, dream, build, manifest, create, jump, sing, play and make magic. These, like all others, are those bonus days…now we have to remember that!

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Sometimes life gets in the way. You find your happy, grab on tightly with both hands and sometimes it slips beneath the surface. In a miracle-like matter, perspective jumps up and smacks you in the face and you’re back. You build a tribe of magical people who show up in your life when you need it most, never falter when called upon and are always open to providing those mindful messages and moments of laughter that we all, without question, need. But often, we get swept up in everyday hooey of stuff and forget that smile, forget that magic and forget that we too can create and cultivate miracles of our very own. Living in the in between, those days where the year has begun yet you’re not sure the direction it’s headed, we need to grab on tight and get that happy.

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It’s funny, I used to think that finding your happy meant going out and changing spaces. That the search for that happy would take you around the globe, to cities and countrysides, from beaches to boardwalks and everywhere in between and someplace hidden amongst the geography you’d uncover a rock and there you’d find your happy. Although the journey is fun, enticing, mind-shifting, perspective changing and definitively inviting, I was wrong. Finding your happy isn’t only about geography, it’s not only about longitude and latitude, it’s not only about a specific spot – it’s more about you than we choose to believe. Trust me, I still FIRMLY believe that there are places filled with more ease than others, spaces that make me feel better in mind, heart, body, spirit and soul than others and spots I’d choose to rather be because my heart smiles far more when I’m there than when I am not. But somehow, deep down, that happy is in us. Whether we’re talking about chemical reactions, thought processes, mindfulness, attitudes, perspectives or everyday outlooks and beliefs – that search for happy is perhaps not as solely intertwined with geography as I first thought.

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It’s hard in the in between. Those seven days of the week where teachers aren’t counting days till break, where there’s no big commercial or religious holiday on the rise, where the sporting calendar is in between the start and those ones that ‘matter’, when that next holiday booking is far beyond your reach – when it’s a plain old Tuesday – that’s when it matters perhaps even more than we think. Find those moments in the middle to take a breath, count your blessings, laugh with friends, play outside, get your rest, eat something you enjoy, practice kindness, take a class, delve deeper, smile, hug, laugh and dream. These are the days that will make up the stories of the future. Whether you believe it or not, each of these are the bonus days – let’s make them all count.

It Begins

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Having difficulty containing her laughter at all of the insanity smushed into one day, my friend Kaity told me I should write it all down – she often has good advice and I count on her to be my Universe reading guru, weekly hot chocolate date and San Diego hotel guide, so I listened. If I’m honest, the last month has been a bit fuzzy and much of the fuzzy turned to calamity as Mother Nature smashed clouds and condensation together in a sea of cold, white madness above our heads at the start of the year.

USA Road trip 2017-2018

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365 sunrises

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To say that the last month as been a whirlwind is an understatement. There have been changes every which way we look – some of those are choices of our own making and others are ones of which we have had zero control. Some provide that level of utter fear mixed with excitement coupled with a dash of ‘what the hell are we doing’ while others feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us and we don’t know which end is up. Amidst a cross-country road trip, thoughts of life, balance, chaos, mindfulness and so many other things have been swirling through my mind. As with many, the end of the year is a time to take stock – this year is filled with a lot of that. Read the rest of this entry

What San Diego taught me

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It’s been three years since we landed here in search of an outdoor lifestyle and endless vitamin D. Sure, we knew we’d have access to that west coast easy vibe, but what we found in San Diego goes far beyond beaches, trails and fabulous fish tacos. The last few weeks have been hard, really hard. Feeling like the rug was pulled out from under us with the sudden and unexpected death of my Dad, even more perspective has begun to set in. There are waves of emotion coming at me from all angles and at times there are smiles through tears. With a lot going on and many changes happening simultaneously, finding some clarity and stability feels like a miracle. Much of this, I’ve learned in San Diego.

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It’s hard to put into words, but after almost exactly three years in this relaxed west coast city, I am certain that something about San Diego has officially changed us for the better. For a girl who rarely struggles with enough verbiage to describe a situation; the words escape me, but I know that this southern Californian city is forever a place we’ll call home. Read the rest of this entry