My father died in 1977, and with him went all sense of security and safety I had in this world. I was only twelve years old, and couldn’t rationally process that safety and security were not completely external.
After his death, I was removed from the property where we lived. I tried living with his sister, then with my step-sister, but I was ultimately returned to my mother and step-father. My life was relatively constant turmoil, and the pattern continued well into my 30’s. Neither of my marriages were screaming successes, though there was plenty of screaming.
I visited Southern California sixteen years after my father’s death. By memory, I drove Ventura Highway north from L.A. to the white cross on the hill that marked the opening to Ojai Valley. I hadn’t thought to bring a map. All the familiar landmarks were still in place. Part luck, part memory, part Divine Guidance, I drove all the way home without missing a turn. When I opened the door of the car to step out, I burst into tears. The familiar smell of ‘home’ greeted me from a tree at the front of the property.
It was the first time I’d felt at home in many years. Little did I know it was the single time I would feel at home for many more.
My next ‘home’ moment occurred in 2005. As I was giving a massage in my spa, I had the sensation of a peg falling into a hole. It was me, falling home. It only lasted for about twenty minutes, but they were intense minutes, as I hadn’t been ‘home’ in such a long time. The feeling passed, but left me wondering what it meant, and longing more intensely for ‘home.’
I went back to Southern California in 2008, only to find that ‘home’ didn’t live there anymore. I was adrift. I hadn’t really had ‘home’ anywhere else I’d lived, and it was no longer there for me, either.
A year later, I found myself on a strange sort of involuntary retreat, living alone in a remote area. As I spent a great deal of time in accidental silent meditation, I found myself feeling for home. One morning, as I watched the mists rise on the fields across from my porch, I realized I was home.
That time it lasted for about a week.
When it left, it was not so acutely missed. I knew it would return some fine day.
Today I am unpacking in yet another new abode. Counting on my fingers, and I’ve run out, this is the eleventh place I have lived in five years.
Yet, somehow, this one is home.
Pondering what makes this different, I realize there are many things.
I’m not decorating for anyone except me. I don’t have anyone in my life right now, and I’m not trying to make it nice for someone I haven’t even met yet. This is all about me.
I bought a very special bedroom set for my new abode. It is strong, sturdy, stable, “massive” as one friend described. In doing so, I made a clear declaration to the Universe (and myself) that I will have stability in my life. Not only that, but I will only have what really “does it for me” here. Nothing else is welcome. Of course, the Universe has responded wonderfully by clearing away anything that wasn’t for my highest and best.
As I was putting things in the pantry this evening, I realized that I don’t have to get it all right the first time. I can rearrange to my heart’s content. Somewhere in all the packing and unpacking, I lost the paralyzing need for perfection. I’m happy about that, too.
I finally feel like I can really unpack, to sort through the last bits of the life I used to live, and decide what belongs in my future. They are all my decisions, and I know that I can’t do it wrong. Just like the pantry, I can rearrange my life to my heart’s content.
Most of all, it was my heart that led me here.
As I began looking for a place to live, my highest priority was to have water close by, preferably within sight of my windows. One of my idiosyncrasies, I write best when I am near water, especially moving water.
Water was the one thing that was missing when I originally looked at this place, yet my heart said it felt completely like home. I fell in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows, bountiful natural light, views of trees and greenery from every window, hardwood floors, fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and the spaciousness of three bedrooms and two baths all to myself. I told a friend that I could see myself living here for the next ten years, even though I know it is my goal to move to the beach in a year or two.
I signed the lease, even without the water element.
And a week after I moved in, I found the water. There is a stream that loops along two sides of my abode. No one mentioned it, because most people don’t even know it is there. It’s a small stream, well hidden by ferns and other lush growth, but it’s there.
The heart always knows the way home. The path may be long and winding, but the heart always knows the way.