The Journey To and From Home

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“Sometimes it takes a journey to come home.” -Stephen Levine

Life can pull us away from the ‘home’ inside ourselves. The daily grind tends to keep us on one static level – roughly chest-high and above. The increasing speed of deadlines and demands, news, technology, advertising, traffic all seem to conspire to keep us hurtling faster through a cluttered life.

Journeys and vacations give us a way to cut through the increased complexity and speed, to slow down, enjoy simpler pleasures and reconnect with our internal home and source of energy and delight, what Yeats calls, “my deep heart’s core.”

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau 

The next time you travel, either for vacation or work, you may wish to take the opportunity to travel lightly. Time away from a complex and often messy life is a wonderful opportunity to live more simply for a few days. This simplicity, this little oasis of emptiness, holds within it the promise of being ‘found’ again. Here is an opportunity to return to yourself, your truest desires, your playfulness, your quietness. This is definitely easier to begin when away from the office, the home, the clutter and clanging of everyday life. In fact, research has shown that you’re more effective at changing a bad habit if you change your external situation at the same time.

“You and me Sunday driving, not arriving, spending someone’s hard earned pay…we’re on our way home.” – from Two of Us by the Beatles

Simple, humble pleasures may be more likely to renew – quietly sitting and watching the waves as they break over the shoreline vs. paragliding then jet-skiing then going out to restaurant after restaurant then…you get the idea.

Stripping your day down to what’s most important to you both invigorates and eases the heart. You may find yourself focusing more on connecting with your spouse, your kids, your health (going for a walk or a swim or stretching on the beach), your mind (reading a book, writing in a journal), your heart (watching those waves and breathing with them).

On your journey to and from home you may find yourself revisiting both the bigger picture and the smaller. You may see with fresh eyes what few things are vital and enduring as well as what gifts are waiting to be opened right in this very moment.

You may notice more connection with the others around you, more time to notice sweetness and a clearer focus on you (and not in the self-loathing way).  This giving yourself the best, allowing yourself to be at your best gives you a touchstone to refer to when you’re back at home and allows you to give your best to everyone whose lives you touch.

And you may reintroduce a confidence that can come only when you are at the helm of your ship, when you are steering the course. And then you can say, just as Walt Whitman did, “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me…henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing…strong and content I travel the open road.”

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