Ask Parvati 19: What Is Home? – Part 1, The Home Body

BY Parvati

Dear Parvati, I have traveled a lot and found many places to be beautiful, inspiring, even places I thought I could call home. But I feel I have not found home yet. Or maybe, I don’t really know what home means. I was curious, what does home mean to you?
Home means many things to me. As far as I can remember, I have felt like the world was my home. I speak several languages and feel comfortable in many cultures, with varied people. Perhaps it is no coincidence that my name is Parvati, daughter of the earth. I feel very connected to this planet in a cellular, soulful and spiritual way.
I am not much of a homebody, in that I have traveled a lot and lived out of a backpack for much of my adult life. But I could say that one way I find home is in my body, my body being a temporary place of inhabitation while I am in this world. I feel that this body is part of it all, connected to everything. It is made of the very stuff that makes up all matter. So for me, literally, my home is the world.
We have all heard the saying, “home is where the heart is”. Home is where we feel belonging. Where we feel accepted, whole, understood, received, grounded and alive. While I had friends over at my home last month, I was arrested by a momentary “a-ha!” when everything felt absolutely perfect. I felt completely supported, loved and accepted as though everything was in its perfect place. I felt profoundly at home.
Our birthplace may be home, where we have memories from our childhood, where our foundations were built. Montreal is my birthplace and is definitely my hometown. When I travel there with those that know me now, not then, I am told that I express a freedom and expansion in Montreal that is evident. My body language changes. I feel more relaxed. There is something in the air, in the light on the streets and buildings, in people’s attitudes, in the way we interact that just says, “home” to me – deeply.
I feel similar feelings about speaking French. It is, I say, the language of my heart and home has a lot to do with the heart. When I get tired, I have been known to just start speaking French, without even noticing I am doing so. People have also noticed how my personality changes when I speak French. I feel like an inner part of me comes alive. English for me is a more cerebral language, more practical and touching a place of worldliness. French reaches in to touch my emotions and reveals another inner world with greater ease.
No matter how many times I leave Canada, nor how many amazing connections and adventures I have abroad, somehow coming back always feels like home. I am not just saying this because it is Canada Day weekend! There is something about the trees, the air and the land that just says home.
Surely this has to do with the familiar. I have spent most of my life in Canada. There is something about familiarity that breeds the feeling of home. Familiarity feels grounding and stabilizing. Upon what else would a home be built?
We may find home in the familiar. We may find home in our sense of place and accomplishments that we achieve at work. We may find home in family, landscape, territories and feelings of patriotism. These may add a sense of purpose, belonging and meaning to our life.
However much I find home in something physical, there is something deeper that brings a true feeling of home to me. One way I touch the feeling of home and find meaning in my life is through my meditation practice and my creative work. In those, I rest in a timeless home not bound by borders or bodies. There I am.
(Continues tomorrow with What Is Home? Part 2: Home In Meditation and Music)