Like an alien at home
The sun is shining in the blue sky. I watch the contours of the mountains and the light games of the sun on the surface of the lake. I’m visiting the region I grew up for a few days. While sitting on a docK, I watch the people walking on the lakeside.
Some wear shoes decorated with glitter. Hold shopping bags. Many stop by the waterfront for a minute and pose while taking pictures with a selfie-stick. The beauty of the landscape that surrounds us fascinates them as it does me.
We express our wonder in very different ways though and even if we have commonalities, I don’t feel connected to the people surrounding me. I observe them with curiosity but feel disconnected. Like an alien, landed in the place that used to be its hometown.
When do you feel home?
This situation reminded me how individual, volatile and precious it is to feel at home.
By the age of 16 I had already lived in 6 different houses, so I never really associated feeling at home with a house, with a building. Also being with my family did not mean feeling at home. Fighting was a habit. Feeling invisible and alone in my suffering, while everyone screamed at each other around me, was not unusual.
Nevertheless, I got to know what it means to feel at home. I enjoyed walking in the woods of the region I grew up: I felt in peace and welcomed by the big tree surrounding me. I felt free when I swam in the fresh lake in the summer. I loved jumping from rock to rock, curious to see what comes next, by the riverbed.
Nowadays many people frequently move from one place to another from an early age and grow up in families and communities with weak or broken social bonds. I experienced troubles, but also had the luck of growing up in a region with a beautiful, abundant nature in which I felt at home.
Feeling home is a precious inner place
My heart knows that there is a place, in which I am safe, can rest and just be as I am, surrounded by acceptance, peace and love. The outer situation I felt at home woke up this inner place, which is very precious.
As I travelled and lived in different countries I experienced how I could feel at home everywhere and anywhere. Whether I felt home or not depended on how alive, awake, that inner place of feeling at home was.
Whenever I feel alienated, separated or threatened by my surrounding I can choose to stay in those feelings or to recall this inner place of feeling at home. My perception, thoughts, feelings and actions are than different.
We have the choice to feel home
When I moved to Berlin I did not feel at home. It was a big city and I just had spent several months kitesurfing and hiking surrounded by wonderful nature – my home. Thinking of those trips made me shine with excitement, while the noise and smelly streets of Berlin made me feel sad and nostalgic. “I missed home.”
The challenge was that I move to Berlin because I was in a beautiful relationship with my partner that I wanted to continue and deepen. With him, I kind of felt home, but not fully home because of the sadness and alienation from nature and between people I witnessed.
I started recalling my inner feeling of being at home while meditating in the morning. I imagined the beauty and love for the places I felt at home, let those feelings grow and invited them to be awake inside me during the day. It felt kind of “fake it until you make it” in the beginning. I was quite doubtful.
Nevertheless, I stuck to it. I woke up every morning my feeling of joy, peace and love for the planet, for life, for my life. My perspective started to become brighter. Suddenly I noticed the kindness of people helping each other when taking a train. I started being involved in small talk conversations in the supermarket.
Feeling home comes from practising and caring
It was as if I gave permission to myself, to also experience the beautiful sides of the city. As I was more friendly to people they became more friendly too. To some extent, I started creating ripples of kindness around me. I started creating a space in which other people can feel a bit more at home too.
I am aware that feeling home inside myself will not endure without nurturing that feeling. Spending time in nature, with people I feel on the same wavelength, awakening my “being at home” when meditating are all practices nurturing me and enabling me to open up.
We need to feel home inside to feel home on earth and care for the earth.
By feeling at home inside we can create space for others to feel at home on earth again.