I am procrastinating. I should really be packing. The movers come on Sunday to officially move us into our new home and there is still a lot of work to do. We have also had the keys to the new house for a couple of weeks now, so we have started moving stuff over on our own -one carload at a time.
It is a strange place to be with half of our stuff in one house and half of our stuff in another, and most of our things in boxes, neither house really feels like home at this point. This feeling was accentuated earlier this week when we received mail at our current home addressed to the soon to be new owners.
This process has been stressful. The decluttering, cleaning, packing, storing, staging, fixing, moving; it’s taken a lot out of me. And it feels unsettling to be in this in between space. I wasn’t prepared for that. The longer it’s gone on, the more I feel like I am losing my center, my sense of ground.
So I’ve been thinking about the importance of ‘home,’ and the feeling of security that it brings to really have a sense of home. It goes beyond the physical comforts of having a place to live. There is a mental stability in knowing that there is a place that is yours; a place where you are physically and emotionally safe; somewhere you can let down your guard and just be comfortable in your own skin. To lose that, even temporarily, is jarring and has stirred stronger emotions than I expected when entering this process.
In my Warrior for the Human Spirit training we learned a Buddhist practice called, ‘Tonglen.’ Tonglen is a practice in which when you are feeling a very strong emotion, you close your eyes and identify what that emotion or feeling is. Then, you take into your collective consciousness all of the people in the world that you can imagine are also feeling that emotion. Then, offer a prayer of recognition and peace to all of those people. The idea is to remember that you are never alone in those strong feelings, to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all sentient beings, and to go from a place of “I am suffering” to a place of “There is suffering,” which takes the ego out of it a little bit.
Yesterday, I was feeling especially emotional and exhausted by this whole moving process to the point that it was keeping me from being productive. So this morning, during my meditation time, I decided to include Tonglen in my practice. I decided to call into my consciousness all of the people in the world that I could imagine were missing home or searching for home and all of the people for whom home is not a safe space. I thought about the refugees around the world, many who are in a permanent state of impermanence; I thought about the children separated from their parents at our Southern border; I thought about the members of our military stationed overseas and their families feeling incomplete at home. I called into conciousness all who are homeless or in transitional housing or who are at risk for losing their homes; and those whose homes are not physically or emotionally safe spaces. I tried to hold all of these people to the light and offer them a prayer of recognition and peace. I prayed that each of them, in some way, are able to someday find their way home. Finally, I said a prayer of gratitude that my situation is temporary and that our move to our new home is ultimately going to bring my family to a place of greater serenity and togetherness.
There really is no place like home.