What Makes A Home
Well, here I am- in Switzerland, surfing couches for weeks now.
It seems like the best opportunity to think about what makes a home. Most of you know that I have been on the lookout for a home since I started the new chapter of my life: Traveling. Admittedly then, this is not my first attempt to try and depict the in-depth, deeply personal definition of what makes a home.
Is it the four precious walls under a roof being safe from all weather and predators?
Or maybe the people living within these walls or within a certain range of proximity to where you are?
A city or area that you grew up in, have lived in, keep wonderful memories of?
Is it a specific dish made by your parent while you were sick? Or the Sunday meal your grandparents served when you came to eat with them? Maybe home consists of smells? Or other senses like the humidity you are accustomed to like the special salty breeze coming form the ocean?
Or all of these combined and mixed together?
Could it be something within yourself?
Now imagine this: You stand in the middle of your apartment or house, garden or balcony, or your most preferred space within what you call home. You close your eyes.
Exactly my point.
From the fulfilling process of being wholeheartedly welcomed to people's houses and hearts, I think I got a pretty good insight in what makes a home. It is the people that fill up the space. Fill it with their energy, their innate being and this then either becomes a home, or remains four walls just containing things. It is a fine thread. Easily underestimated, too.
Say you give a lot of space to clutter lying around- isn't this something that expresses who you are, where you stand right now in your life and how you feel inside as well? Having every flat surface, table or sofa, covered with things or even rubbish, reflects your innermost state of mind. That is why cleaning up and bringing harmony to chaos is such a challenge for some, and yet a freeing experience for all.
Because from that new, fresh, harmonious point after clearing everything up, you are able to re-imagine yourself. Your space is clear and so is your mind. Freed to ponder the question what kind of person you want to be, reflecting these choices with what you bring into your sacred space of home.
Now let us go a little further: You sit down in the middle of your preferred space to dig deeper into the question. What remains of your space when you close your eyes?
Challenging and long lasting events in our lives genuinely show us what we are made of. Has it been days, weeks or even months without an end to stress and constant pushing to the limits for you? Has it made you neglect to maintain your personal space? It may make you feel trapped inside your head and inside the four walls that should enable you to relax. It surely contributes to a building guilt, knowing that you neglected that space. Looking closely though, isn't it more like you neglected yourself?
I am not talking about cleaning, providing the means for a germophobe to eat off of your floor. Your home should reflect your innate creative chaos if this reflects who you are, how you want to vibe and be known for.
Rule of thumb: If it supports you in being the version of yourself you aim to be, kudos to you!
If you have flaws you want to change though, habits you want to tackle and reprogram, patterns you could easily be rid of, here is your chance to reflect and feel into it.
Recreate the Outer Reflection of What You Strive to Be and Feel
You want to read more and watch less TV?
Well, you have a lot possibilities with this one: Either you locate the TV into a less centred position in your living room, or even cover it up so that it is not the first and main thing drawing your attention when you walk in. You could go a little further and say you banish the TV into the basement for a trial period, see how that works out for you. Position the sofa in the middle with a side table big enough for whatever beverage you thirst for the most and a bundle of the books you always wanted to read, or started and never finished. Create a space that tempts you to comfortably sit down and evokes the craving to want to read, need to read- right then and there.
Maybe you want to take it a notch down and not change your whole living room arrangement. Well, try lying the book right onto the pillow and make a promise that no matter how tired you are, you will accomplish one side of it, each and every night. At times you will read one, at times you won't be able to stop reading and finish a whole chapter.
Consistency is key.
Eh voila, a new habit is born. The longer it is honed and maintained the easier it will evolve into a pattern. Weeks from now you'll find that you even crave that time of reading, it becomes part of who you are. With the support of the Outer Reflection technique leading you to wing it.
Less things and trying out a minimalistic lifestyle? That is a big one. But with every thing in life, start small and if you are into it, if you feel it resonating with you, go further, step by step. Therefore start in an area that is easy for you.
Meaning that if you a re a devoted baker, don't go ahead and try minimising your beloved baking tools! If you are a fashionista, don't go into your closet to throw out stuff left and right, getting overwhelmed and abandon good intentions because your heart is set upon never wanting to part from all your beautiful clothes.
Instead, dive into an area that has not yet led to any thought at all. For example the kitchen. Pack up every item of cooking that you have in a quantity more than two! No cheating. And pack up every item of cutlery, plates and bowls and glasses that expands the number of people living in your space. Or the number of guests that you frequently host. Everything more than absolutely needed, pack it up. Bring it into another room, the garage, the basement or a storage unit. Afterwards hang up a piece of paper and post it where you can see it frequently (or use your phone, whatever is easier for you).
Every time you think about one thing inside of that box, write the thing down and beside it mark how many times you thought of it.
After the period you set for yourself is up (this can be a week up to three months or more, go for the challenge!), only take those things back that you wrote down and missed more than three times. You might be surprised what you actually chose to let back into your living space.
Of course, freely apply this challenge to any area you want to work on, be it the creative office space or the bathroom closet flooded by beauty products.
Happy clarifying your personal space and becoming clear on what it is you truly want to welcome in your life.
What is allowed to be an expression on the outside that eventually reflects your inside.
A recipe for everything and all that you want to achieve. If your are serious about this goal- make it the center of your life, visually and mentally.
You want to be more communicative and able to understand others better: Practice active listening in every and all situations that present themselves in your life, sit down and actively listen to a podcast that discusses a topic of interest to you, make notes, be aware and totally focused on this one and only exercise to take in what another person shares with you.
Filling your head with negative self talk? Feeling the drag that lives as a nagging voice in your head, keeping you from trying anything? Leading to self hate and erupting in negative comments about the situations or people that you encounter in your life? Have a little piece of paper in your purse to write down whenever you consciously witness how you talk negatively to yourself. Write it down when it happens in the train, while shopping, while being with a group of friends. The sentence or word that resurfaces the most is the one that you will have to re-program, re-think, re-phrase. Every time it emerges, remind yourself of a way you could think (or even say) it differently. For example: I am so dumb, I will never get this right. Turns into: I am doing the best I can, I will be able to eventually get there. Or : This is so unfair, I am constantly at a disadvantage and ignored. Turning it into: I guess this was not meant for me, maybe I can improve my outlook by honing my skillset or trying something new to expand my knowledge and better my future expectations. This: No, I cannot do that. Into: Yes, I will try.
Neglecting some sort of practice you aimed to incorporate on a daily or weekly basis? Put the object you need to practice in the middle of your kitchen table, bed or living space. A yoga mat in the middle of the carpet reminds you of your intentions every single time you stumble over it or cross it before you go to the refrigerator to get a snack. Inevitably you either put it away (and with it the promise you made to yourself, making you feel even less fondly of yourself) or you consciously decide to stick to your word and start. Just start. It does not matter if it is two minutes, eventually it will be longer and more enjoyable. Every beginning is hard.
Children are a source of pure joy, aren't they? Also, time consuming and they turn your life inside out. Maintaining something for your own benefit, that was easy to exercise before this new bundle of joy entered your life, is harder once you have to establish new routines. It might even be that you'll be able to find a new approach overall. Some habits you can do while the little one is charging up the batteries, in other words while it is sleeping. Other habits you might enjoy sharing with your little human? Activities like running, or simply walking once a day, pilates or yoga, could bring joy to the both of you. Sometimes they will try to imitate you, sometimes they will put you out of the zone. Both things are alright, as long as you are alright with it. As long as it brought you bliss. Maybe this time your body did not get the full, deep workout, but you and your little star had a lot to laugh and quality time? Maybe it taught you that you enjoy it more with the child, maybe this experience tells you that you definitely need to do it by yourself. Either way, you'll get something out of it.
Name anything you want: If you make it the center, it you commit, if you donor the promise to yourself, you'll be successful in your endeavour. You'll be proud of yourself. You'll be empowered. From that one experience you will see that you actually can achieve everything you set your mind to. As cringy as it sounds. It is the truth.
And the question presents itself: Who are you to tell me to do this?
I am not telling you to do anything. I am suggesting. Gladly, comment or mail me your experiences back. Maybe it wasn't for you at all? Maybe it was the first step for you to access the great, big, glowing potential that you embody!
Either way: From my heart to yours, all the best!
Love and light, beloved souls