So where is home, really?
Your home might be all that matters to you in the universe. Secretly, you see the outside world as nothing more than negative space, a place between places. You walk an inhospitable planet and all that sustains you is your spaceship oasis; homeostasis.
Or home to you may be simply the lack of all other things. Noise silenced, people absent, light dim, obligations distant. A temple of nonexistence.
Home might be a place you avoid because it signifies defeat, loneliness, boredom. You might be afraid to sit with yourself quietly, afraid of what may arise. Of what might be left undone, of who is not by your side, of where you are not.
The sense of home might be a person, or people who you love—you think it’s the place, but when the person leaves, home isn’t home anymore. You can feel at home anywhere, when you are with this person. To know people this way is an amazing gift.
A sense of home can come from a non-human presence, or simply an environment that we create for ourselves; the experiences we cultivate. Rachel Carson said, “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
There are some for whom to be at home is to be in a million places at once. While traveling alone on the other side of the world, I found myself reading the guest book at the home of hosts, a place they were devoting their lives to building and cultivating. A fellow traveler wrote:
“I travel because I can’t stay still, because there are places I feel at home in that are thousands of miles apart. So if I don’t travel, I’ll miss home.
I’ll miss this place.”
On a basic level, home is the spring of nostalgia. Metaphorically or physically, it’s the nest we fly home to and from whence we set forth. Home is where we put down our loads. Where we recharge. A cure for what ails us. A judgement-free zone. Home is warmth, softness, quiet, acceptance, forgiveness, nudity, truth.
So what does it mean to live with ourselves, in any of the above senses? Does it mean loving ourselves extra? Yes, but we also have to let in love from anyone we may meet. If you wake up alone with yourself, make time in your day and space in your heart to accept the love that you will encounter, if you are receptive to it, at every turn. If you can do this while being present with and making time for self-love, you are undoubtedly very happy. May we all learn to love and be loved.
To me, right now, home is where the tea is. I guess that this must be the place.
No. 1 Chai Masala
This large batch makes about 15 infusions.
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 3 tsp black peppercorns
- 15 cinnamon sticks, splintered
- 4 tbsp cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 tbsp dried shredded ginger
- 3 tsp coriander seeds
- 15 star anise pods
- grated nutmeg to taste
- almond or dairy milk
- CTC Assam tea (or any cheap black tea will do)
Simmer 1 heaping tablespoon chai masala in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Then add 1/3 cup of milk (dairy or almond milk). Bring back to heat, add 1 tsp tea leaves and simmer for 3 more minutes, adding grated nutmeg at the very end. Strain and serve with honey.
Breathe. You are home.
More thoughts on home, love, and lack thereof: